"Period. End of Sentence:" Menstruation Awareness

Photo: Harper's Bazaar

In the Oscar-winning short, Period. End of Sentence., the audience is transported to India where the hardships of the female anatomy are just surfacing as normal. Throughout the film, several girls and women are asked questions in relation to their monthly cycles and most are embarrassed or ashamed to answer, let alone even know information about it, as they giggle their way through conversations.

The revolution being reported on is the access of pads; pads that are well made so as to be more absorbent and less expensive. The name of the product is quite empowering and symbolic so when women see the name "Fly" on the boxes, they feel supported and encouraged to grow wings of their own and soar to success. The reality for a lot of these girls is that once their periods begin, it becomes too much to attend school due to lack of sanitary resources and their education suffers, along with potential career opportunities. 

Photo: padproject.org

It was saddening to watch the apparent lack of health/sex education because most females grew up on the lies of menstruation being "dirty" or that it's "bad blood." It even goes to the extreme of not being allowed to enter temples while bleeding. India is an immensely populous country where many of the old traditions are very much alive, such as teaching girls that marriage and children are their only pathway and giving up independence is tightly woven within that life. To speak openly on natural issues is considered taboo and therefore is a hindrance in the progression for this rich culture to incorporate equality for women. 

Although a rather bleak circumstance, the documentary was saturated with hope and optimism for change through an organization called The Pad Project. A man by the name of Muruganantham created a low-cost machine that makes biodegradable pads made up of locally sourced materials. Their mission is to continuously set up machines across the country while providing women with employment and an income.

Photo: padproject.org

Hopefully, the next step in this reformation is to focus on providing accurate information relating to sex and reproductive health for both women and men. Being disconnected from the reality of your body only provokes shame and humiliation. Openly addressing the truths of womanhood is a start towards acceptance and understanding to the point of it becoming normalized. To learn more, give this award winning short a view on Netflix and check out thepadproject.org