Menstruation in Media - yes, its time to talk about it
We all know that women go through this menstruation cycle every month, that we are visited by ‘aunt flow’ and *insert every possible euphemism for getting your period* - yet a clear representation of this very natural phenomenon is difficult to find in the media. The empowerment, the essence of womanhood is barely explored.
One prime example that comes to mind is the movie Pad-Man, starring Akshay Kumar as the lead and based on a true story of an Indian man who made a machine to make safe and disposable sanitary napkins for women. It was truly an amazing movie and most definitely was a step in the right direction for raising awareness. Even though it had other problems like emphasising how the true protector of a woman will always be a man, the basic idea behind the creation of the movie surely tackles the lack of awareness in the audience.
However, its not always as simple as this. Another prime example of this topic is the movie Carrie. It shows (in a rather graphic way) that Carrie gets her period for the first time, while she is in school and is completely clueless about it (the case for a lot of young girls). However, what happens here is that she gets bullied about not knowing and overreacting, she is recorded, and it becomes public information and she’s ridiculed for it. In reality, if this happened she would have found herself surrounded by girls who are actually willing to help her out. I feel like the scene just puts additional stigma on a topic thats already so sheltered. That if you get your period in school, you will be ridiculed and bullied for a completely natural process. Its something to be proud of, to be happy about, because it gives you a sense of empowerment. But all of that is just thrown out and shown as a process to be ashamed of.
The most recent example, which actually gave rise to this highly unstructured post was the scene in The Queen’s Gambit. Its seen that Beth is up against a boy and she suddenly feels a cramp, goes to the bathroom and finds another girl there who helps her out (yaaassssss!). But there is a problem here too. For a show that is all about Beth and her growth, her journey as a woman, her period was still shown as something that was a hinderance in her game, something that clouded her judgement and she had to fix in order to compete with the males. I feel like it could have been portrayed better; that she was proud of her womanhood rather than considering it a nuisance, an obstacle.
What do you guys think? Can you think of more examples? Is there really a representation problem around menstrual cycles?