19 OCTOBER 1991, Page 31


Fertile brains

Sir: As a professional woman nearing menopause I was bemused by Julie Burchill's tirade on Germaine Greer's The Change (Diary, 5 October). Having found Miss Greer's message about menopause encouraging and enlightening — for exam- ple, her suggestion that apprehension can be alleviated by comprehension — I was startled to hear someone suggest that any- one old enough to experience it is too old to write about it.

Miss Burchill makes the error of equat- ing the uterus and the brain. Although she doesn't suggest that to have one is to pre- clude the other, she does imply that once the former is no longer fertile the latter atrophies at an alarming rate. While she refers to herself as a 'kid' at 32, Miss Greer at 53 is 'sponging Farley's off her twinset'. That's a pretty short, steep slide into senili- ty. If Miss Burchill's productive maturity (assuming she is soon no longer a kid) is from 33-50 (or 40 plus or minus since menopause comes early for many), she will need to stay on a very fast track indeed or she will run out of time. Too soon she too Will be 50. Maybe, as she sits around the old folks home with others in their 50s, she will re-read The Change and be encouraged to write a Nobel prize-winning novel, dance Giselle, win an Oscar, or govern a country — all accomplishments of women no longer Pamela Riley 11A St George's Road, St Margarets, Twickenham