Planned Parenthood Still Matters to This ‘Menopause Mama’

This is the third post in Care2′s new interview series, “What Planned Parenthood Means to Me

Most women go through menopause. But we rarely talk about it.

That is, unless you’re Rose Weaver, who’s been performing the one-woman show “Menopause Mama“ for nearly two decades.

I spoke with the 68-year-old award-winning actress, singer and playwright about redefining aging and supporting Planned Parenthood.

Why is Planned Parenthood valuable to you?

I just know from my own experience the importance of Planned Parenthood. Being a woman, I got pregnant twice out of wedlock because I had little knowledge, very little, about how to protect myself.

And had I had Planned Parenthood in my life back then, I would not have had those two kids out of wedlock. I would’ve planned better.

I don’t know if I would’ve gotten an abortion myself, but I’m definitely pro-choice. I support Planned Parenthood to this day and will always.

Why is it so important to discuss issues of aging and menopause? 

The day that we’re born, we’re starting to age. And I feel in order to have a healthy, productive life, we need to look at it in a positive way — pro-aging instead of anti-aging.

It’s a simple word, but that word can have really detrimental effects on a person. We all try to look as youthful as possible for as long as possible because we have been taught that aging is ugly.

I don’t want women to be ashamed of their full bellies and their softer butts and, you know, sagging breasts. I call that sexy sagging breasts, pal.

Your performance has an education component, as well as an entertainment side to it.

Exactly. Education could be art. That’s what I’m about.

Using the art to shine light on everyday things that have been blown out proportion and made us feel like we’re nothing. And I just can’t deal with it anymore.

You’ve dealt with discrimination for so long. 

I’ve dealt with it all, being a black woman and being born down South and being dark-skinned with nappy hair, you know, the whole nine yards.

I’m going to use the pen at this stage to say, “No, this is wrong. We’re equal here. We women and girls need to grow up having a lot of confidence.”

I’ve been an actor my whole life. And you know, when I was 25 and 30, I could get parts like that.

As soon as I hit 45, I was still beautiful, I think, but the industry treats us like we don’t matter anymore.

I’m not going to be afraid to speak up. Because I’m somebody. And I want people to see me.

Rose Weaver Dance

Photo Credit: Rose Weaver

How does your performance fit in with what Planned Parenthood’s efforts?

I performed for their national convention one year, right here in Providence [Rhode Island].

It seemed like a fit for them, and it certainly was a fit for me. Because I always go to Planned Parenthood.

And [it supports] women’s rights, the right to be seen, to be heard, and to have the freedom to make decisions about your own body, but to understand your body.

Menopause Mama teaches women about our bodies, teaching other people about us women. I think that’s one of the reasons {Planned Parenthood was] attracted to it.

How does talking about aging fit into the larger goal of empowering women?

The more experience we have, the wiser we become. So, empowerment comes from knowing the history of women.

I think girls, even now, think that getting older is a negative thing.

The ones who think that way will go into old age feeling less than. Our body reacts to that health-wise, energy-wise, spiritually.

I have a feeling that, because I believe the way I do, I do look younger. Because I’m agile. I go to the gym, I work out, I take care of myself.

Rose poster

Photo Credit: Rose Weaver

What’s something that’s surprised you over the years you’ve worked this project?

How much people hate getting older. It just seems like people stop dreaming when they get a certain age.

And I feel like all the wisdom we’ve gained from all those years, it’s now the time to put it to work.

I heard a friend of mine sayshe’s a writerthat what we’re doing is trying to “write ourselves back together.” And [Menopause Mama] is something that helps me to do that.

That means, in a lot of ways, having to rebuild or build from nothing a sense of self-esteem.

Because when I was growing up, no one told me I was beautiful. Nobody told me I could go on to be president of the United States someday.

This interview has been edited for length and clarity. Know someone with a good story about Planned Parenthood? Let me know at emilyerinzak@gmail.com.

Disclosure: Emily Zak is a patient at Planned Parenthood.

Photo Credit: Rose Weaver

51 comments

Sue H
Sue Habout a month ago

Thank you Rose Weaver!

SEND
Marie W
Marie W1 years ago

Thanks for posting

SEND
Telica R
Telica R1 years ago

Thanks for sharing

SEND
Leanne K
Leanne K1 years ago

Wow what a terrific attitude!

SEND
Jim Ven
Jim Ven1 years ago

thanks

SEND
Janis K
Janis K1 years ago

Thanks for sharing.

SEND
Carl R
Carl R1 years ago

Thanks!!!!

SEND
Rosslyn O
Rosslyn O1 years ago

Way to go young lady! Rose you give so much hope in a fun way for health and life!
Planned parenthood is a great choice.

SEND
Joan E
Joan E1 years ago

Women may need Planned Parenthood's services all through their adult lives.

SEND
Jerome S
Jerome S1 years ago

thanks

SEND