A documentary about menstruation won an Oscar and people are so excited that conversations are finally changing and the taboo is being broken away
Hollywood, the United States – “A period should end a sentence – not a girl’s education”, the title of the Oscar-winning documentary short that has everyone rejoicing.
The topic is a popular one and something that affects impoverished women across the globe. Menstruation and the cost of managing it prevent girls from going to school on a daily basis. There are thousands of organisations fighting to change the taboo surrounding menstruation and how people talk about it.
They also work to provide the needed sanitaryware so that girls don’t miss school. Late last year sanitary pads were zero-rated and excluded from VAT list in South Africa, a win for women and girls in our country. Sanitary pads were also handed out freely in KwaZulu-Natal.
The conversations are slowly changing for the better. That is why it was such a surprise that a documentary about periods won an Oscar. It reaffirms all the hard work people are putting into making a difference for impoverished and uneducated women.
“I can’t believe a movie about menstruation just won an Oscar!” Rayka Zehtabchi, director of “Period. End Of Sentence,” cried while accepting the Oscar for Best Documentary (Short Subject).
“Period. End Of Sentence.” is a documentary short that focuses on menstrual taboos for girls and women living in a rural village outside of Delhi, India. It shows what happens when a sanitary pad machine is installed in the rural village. They focus on the stigma girls and women face, forcing them to drop out of school and preventing them from being able to worship in their temples.
After the award ceremony, Rayka Zehtabchi spoke about what they faced during the filming of the documentary.
“We surveyed hundreds of women and men [in India] and some of the responses that we would hear about what menstruation is that really took us aback were women who had been menstruating their entire lives and literally couldn’t tell us what a period was,”
“They didn’t know or understand why they would menstruate each month. In fact, they had gone their entire lives believing that they had an illness.”
The women hope to use the Oscar as a way to advance their cause and place the sanitary pad machines in villages all over the world.
The documentary is available on Netflix South Africa and is only 26 minutes. Take a look at the trailer below.