Period. End of Sentence. won the award for best documentary short subject and it’s a pretty big deal. There, on “Hollywood’s biggest night,” you had a room full of fancy, famous people listen to two women talk about periods and pads.
Those women were the film’s director, Rayka Zehtabchi and producer Melissa Berton, who took to the stage to accept the award and thank Netflix for giving them the platform to share the story.
“I can’t believe a film about menstruation just won an Oscar,” Berton said.
Honestly, neither can we, but it’s a wonderful step towards destigmatizing the completely normal bodily function that literally half the population experiences.
The 26-minute documentary tells the story of a group of women in rural India who create menstrual pads in an attempt to not only help normalize the conversation around periods, but also make sure that girls have the products they need to allow them to attend school.
“A period should end a sentence, not a girl’s education,” Zehtabchi said when accepting the award.
Of course, not everyone is on board the period train. One unnamed male Academy voter shared his ballot and reasoning behind his voting with The Hollywood Reporter, noting that he would not be voting for a gross movie about girls bleeding from their vaginas (we’re paraphrasing).
“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,” he wrote.
If he would have taken the 26 minutes out of his probably very busy and important man schedule to actually watch the film, maybe he would have learned that he’s part of the problem.
The good news is that in addition to this Academy Award-winning documentary, there have been more and more instances of periods being included in movies and television. The more we talk about menstruation and menstrual equity, the closer we’ll get to living in a world where half of us are not held back from something our bodies do that’s beyond our control.