Virago is publishing a book called Hormonal by journalist Eleanor Morgan, exploring the relationship between the female body, the female mind and the ways in which women’s bodies are being medicalised.
With coverage extending to PMS, birth control pills, hormone replacement therapy (HRT) and SSRI antidepressants, its aim is to inform and empower women and bring the discussion about women’s minds and bodies out in the open.
The book will take a look at "the ways in which women’s bodies are under surveillance from the day we start our periods" and how we talk about and treat PMS, "that monster within the machine of femininity, positioned as chemical dysfunction, outside of her control", scrutinising how problems involving the female reproductive system are currently treated in the healthcare system.
Senior commissioning editor Ailah Ahmed secured UK and Commonwealth rights in Hormonal: A Journey into How Our Bodies Affect Our Minds and Why it’s Difficult to Talk About It from Jon Elek at United Agents to publish in 2019. Seal Press, an imprint of Hachette US, has acquired North American rights.
"With greater knowledge of what’s going on, along with better language to talk about these stigma-laden biological processes that have a massive impact on women’s mental health the world over, I really think we can be empowered to feel less scared and frustrated," commented Morgan, a journalist who is currently retraining as a psychologist.
"In acknowledging how our biological stuff does not exist in a sociocultural vacuum - how the outside world can affect our inner worlds - I hope this book will encourage any woman who has experienced some drama related to their reproductive system (all of us, surely?) to own and accept her messy, animal self in a society that still has some funny ideas about what it means to be female."
Ahmed said: "Eleanor wants to bring the discussion about women’s minds and bodies out in the open. I hugely admire the fact that she wants to make the conversation about hormones, mental health and wellbeing a public conversation –ain workplaces, among friends and family. Too often young women are put on a path concerning their hormones, without much knowledge or choice, and with a lot of shame and guilt, and this lasts pretty much all of their lives – Eleanor wants to inform and empower women about their choices and I think Virago readers will love this book."
News of the book follows Orion Spring's announcement last week it has pre-empted a book about the pill to publish in 2019.