Period. End of Sentence: Laura Frantz
Do you get your period?”
Such a simple question, yet it can yield different responses depending on where you are. In the United States it would be answered with a simple yes, however the period isn’t as accepted in other countries. Period. End of Sentence, directed by Rayka Zehtabchi and produced by Melissa Berton, tackles the stigma of the period in a village in central India’s Hapur district.
This documentary begins with interviews of Indian women and that one simple question. Most of the women laughed and said that they were too shy to answer. This is common in India, because there is a lack of knowledge and acceptance of this natural occurrence.
It’s odd to think that a woman wouldn’t accept her own bodily functions. However, in the documentary, a man explained that their periods cause women to isolate themselves from the world. Women feel that they have to shut themselves in their room, because of the embarrassment. This is due to cultural stigmas, but also to the lack of affordable period products.
Women stay in bed for the duration of their period, because they don’t have the products to go to school or work. Period products are available in these countries, however, they are very overpriced. Women are also embarrassed to buy them at the store.
To combat this issue, a group of women in the village use a machine to produce low-cost sanitary pads, designed by a man who wanted to keep his wife from feeling ashamed. These women went door to door selling their new products to promote feminine hygiene. These empowering women started a female revolution in their village, and are hoping to spread it around the country.
This amazing story was documented by a group of women who recently won an Oscar for best short documentary. After winning, Berton said, “A period should end a sentence, not a girl’s education,” which stuck with many female viewers. They were shocked and ecstatic that a film about menstruation was actually recognized and won an Oscar.