“I’m not crying because I’m on my period or anything. I can’t believe a film on menstruation won an Oscar,” said Rayka Zehtabchi in her acceptance speech.
Period. End of Sentence is a short documentary based on menstruation directed by Rayka Zehtabachi. A 26-minute prestigious award-winning documentary which highlights the need for focusing on education and healthcare of women and talks about fighting the stigma of menstruation persists in rural villages in India. However, an Oscar victory of this film is an obvious answer to all the people who think that period is still a stain to our society.
The documentary was shot in Hapur village outside Delhi, the film starts inside a room with two girls in their adolescent years, shyly talking about menstruation. When the schoolgirls were asked to share their views on periods, they were hesitant to share the narratives on camera. They said that they don’t talk about periods openly in public, because when they do talk about it openly, people feel disgusted and treat them as if they are ‘shameless’. Some of the women have also talked about issues they have faced in the past and still continue to face. For example, how they need to walk inside the village or have to travel far in the late evenings to dispose of used clothes. They even said that they felt embarrassed when those clothes were sometimes brought back by stray dogs.
Apart from the above, there are many other scenes in the film that show that periods are still a hindrance for girls and young women in things like education, worshipping in temples, religious events etc. The lack of knowledge about periods/menstruation was also a point to be noted. When a group of schoolboys were asked about periods, they thought it referred to the bell ringing at school i.e the end of a class period. Once explained what it actually was, they said that it was a lethal disease that all the women are diagnosed with.
Talking About The Film
The story revolves around a group of women named Sneha, Rekha, Shabana as well as many other unnamed women who installed a sanitary pad vending machine in Hapur Village. They learned to produce low-cost biodegradable sanitary pads for themselves, and naming their brand ‘FLY’, went from house to house to sell their product at a low price. They went to homes because women felt hesitant to ask for a sanitary pad in public, especially when they have to ask it from a man (as only men run the stores in the village), When asked why they decided to name their brand FLY, she replied by saying ‘because now our girls have learnt how to fly’.
Everybody Knows About ‘Periods’ But No One Wants To Talk About ‘Period’:
I believe that everybody knows about periods, but very few acknowledge that the menstrual cycle is a natural process and not a disease. The film depicts the reality of how menstruation is perceived in India. Arunachalam Muruganantham, the inventor of the low-cost sanitary pad-making machine and the inspiration behind the movie Padman, has stated that menstruation is the biggest taboo in India.
Currently, this film is creating a great impact not only in India but all over the world. Not just by entering the Oscars, but also by winning it! I hope this will change the mindset of Indian people regarding the stigma around periods, though it might cater to the white people’s stereotypes towards India.
“Every woman needs to be worshipped in real not just only at some religious places or so because the period is natural, common and not ‘unclean’ and it should end a sentence, not a girl’s education”.
Watch the trailer of ‘Period. End of Sentence’ here.