At the 2019 Oscars last Sunday, Netflix’s film, Period. End of Sentence, took home the Oscar win for Best Short Documentary. Directed by Rayka Zehtabchi, Period. End of Sentence examines the stigma and ignorance that surrounds menstruation in a small Indian village. In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Zehtabchi mentions that one of the reasons she chose to work on this film was to help remove the taboo that surrounds periods. Period. End of Sentence is also part of the nonprofit organization, The Pad Project, which is striving to provide access to sanitary pads to the girls and women who need them.
However, it appears that one of the Oscar voters managed to miss the entire point of this film. Cosmopolitan reported that when voting, an anonymous male director , on his ballot, wrote, “Period. End of Sentence — it’s well done, but it’s about women getting their period, and I don’t think any man is voting for this film because it’s just icky for men”. His full quote can also be found here.
Despite the fact that no actual period blood or anything graphic is ever shown at any point in the documentary, this anonymous voter still found the movie too “icky” to vote for just because it is about women getting their periods. Ironically, his dismissal of the film proves how necessary a movie like Period. End of Sentence is. Menstruation is a natural, inevitable part of every cis woman’s life, but around the world, this important women’s health issue continues to be stigmatized as disgusting. This stigma prevents both women and men from having open discussions about women’s health and as a result, many people remain ignorant about menstruation and women’s bodies— preventing women from reaching their full potential.
Fortunately, Period. End of Sentence earned its Oscar, regardless of that director, whose generalized reasoning was plain wrong. Hopefully, this means that the taboo surrounding periods will lift sooner rather than later, and girls and women will stop being ashamed of their normal bodily functions.