Ah, September. The end of summer, back to school . . . and Menopause Awareness Month.

This year, WVFC is taking a page from the presidential playbook and offering our version of the State of the Union message: a look at The Year in Menopause.

We polled several WVFC board members and contributors, and came up with the following review, with its hits, misses, and wipeouts. For every sweet moment, like the confirmation of two Supreme Court justices or Kim Cattrall playing a menopausal woman on screen, there were a few we could have done without (including Kim Cattrall playing a menopausal woman on screen). Feel free to add your own comments to the mix, along with milestone events we might have missed.

August 2009: Sonia Sotomayor is confirmed as a Justice of U.S. Supreme Court, despite the concern of some legislators about her overuse of empathy and talk generated by talk radio about her menstrual cycle.

September 2009: ABC premieres “Cougar Town,” featuring Courtney Cox as a recently divorced 40-something entering the dating scene. Women grimace with annoyance and some recognition.

December 2009: A Christmas gift: Meryl Streep as a sexy, zestily lustful woman of a certain age in It’s Complicated.

February 2010: MORE magazine, in its newest revamp, changes its tagline from “The Magazine for Women Over 40”  to “Women of Style and Substance.” Thanks for the clarification, we guess.

April 2010: Writer Cynthia Gorney, above  right, comes clean about her own struggles with, and questions about, hormone therapy in a cover story for the New York Times Magazine. Reviews are mixed.

May 2010: The ‘M’ word hits prime time. While promoting her new concert tour, “”More Today Than Yesterday,” on Entertainment Tonight, Diana Ross mentions the challenges of menopause. So does Kim Cattrall, promoting Sex in the City 2. We cheer at seeing menopause in the movies, until the film actually comes out. To quote one incensed gynecologist we know: “The worst stereotypes about menopause, the worst advice about bioidentical hormones–as if menopause were a near-fatal illness.”

June 2010: As a rejoinder of sorts to “Cougar  Town,” the new cable series “Hot in Cleveland” features three hot women over 40, ruled by trash-talking octogenarian Betty White.

Leave it to Helen Mirren to top that by posing nude in a bathtub for a feature in New York magazine. 60 is sexy!

A ugust 2010: Woman’s Day launches the weekly blog/water cooler “The Big M,” on dailywd.womansday.com. First post: “The Big M: An Enigma.”

The House-Senate Joint Economic Committee, chaired by veteran Congressmember Carolyn Maloney,right,  releases “Women and the Economy 2010: 25 Years of Progress But Challenges Remain.”  Women are now officially over half of those working. Now tell us why we don’t have half the power.

Elena Kagan is confirmed as Supreme Court justice. No mention of menstural cycles.

Tilda Swinton swoons over a plate of prawns, falls for her son’s sexy friend, and refuses to be undone by it all in I Am Love.

And Kyra Sedgwick finally nabs a Best Actress Emmy for  “The Closer.” Fifth try.

September 2010: The new issue of Vogue arrives, featuring Halle Berry. At 44, Berry is  one of the magazine’s oldest cover girls (who isn’t married to a head of state). Inside, she’s candid about not just workout and makeup tips, but her diabetes, and the strict diet regimen she follows to ensure her health.

On many levels, August 2009-September 2010 was not a brilliant year–we need only look back at WVFC’s coverage of unemployment among women over 50, the BP oil spill, and looming threats to Social Security, among other topics, for proof of that fact. But as far as menopause was concerned, it wasn’t a terrible year, all things considered. Of course, we at WVFC want a better report for Menopause Awareness Month 2011. After all, that’s what we’re here for.

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  • Holly September 25, 2010 at 6:48 pm

    I don’t understand the point of shows like Cougar Town. They make women in their forties look creepy.

    My favorite had to be Helen Mirren posing in the bathtub. All I can say is good for her.