On Monday, March 8th, I attended a movie night with several of my International Affairs peers. The movie night was designed as a way of engaging our scholars group by building a sense of community while also learning about other cultures. The movie of choice for this month was titled “Period. End of Sentence.” This flick was of particular interest for me because it had won an Oscar for a topic rarely talked about it the media: periods.
The movie itself took place in a community in rural India, where the menstruation stigma persists day to day. Many women seek employment in the industry of making feminine care products – pads, in particular. As one would guess, the market for these products is relatively small while the stigma remains strong. Many of these women had never had a job before, as that is not the commonality in rural areas of India. These inspirational women learn how to produce low-cost pads while they aim to become more more independent, both employment wise and financially. The group travels to local markets and begin to grow their business to break the stigma.
The documentary was truly a piece of art. I knew that stigma about menstruation existed, however, I never thought to consider how this many differ in cultures other than my own. The film definitely brought to my attention how much of an issue this is, but it also inspired me to be less embarrassed of the stigma in my own culture. I would definitely recommend others watch the short film in order to open their eyes to diverse cultures. It truly changed how I view situations regarding women’s health. In addition, I think it is wonderful that these women are becoming entrepreneurs in a market with a very split ratio of men to women.
The event coincides nicely with both the goals of International Affairs and Honors and Scholars G.O.A.L.S. It was definitely an interesting event to attend with my peers due to our own countries’ stigma about periods, so I think everyone was blushing a bit, but that really made us open our eyes and ears for the discussion. The event itself brought awareness to diversity and different cultures while also supplementing some community work and course work that we have participated in throughout our first year. In accordance with Honors and Scholars, it raised global awareness by encouraging us to learn about topics sensitive to the media in other cultures.
I gained a lot from this event, but I think I gained the most personally. The documentary taught me a lot about how diverse cultures experience everyday tasks as challenges. It also brought gender inequality to my attention as well. I had never truly been an advocate for gender equality because I have never been exposed to the inequality, which is a true blessing.
Overall, the educational documentary was very moving, and I would recommend anyone to watch it for an eye-opening experience on multiple levels.