Why I don't think you should watch Period. End of Sentence.
This is a very controversial opinion for someone who works with so many menstrual brands but I have good reasons.
As you can imagine, we were absolutely buzzing that a film about periods won an Oscar. This would have been unthinkable even just five years ago. It’s all thanks to the campaigning organisations, pressure groups, brands and charities that have been striving in all corners of the world to make women’s experiences heard and respected more.
The #EndPeriodPoverty campaign has highlighted just how many women in the industrialised east and southern hemisphere, and in western countries are missing out on education as a result of finding it difficult to access effective and affordable menstrual products. Without campaigns like this in the US and #FreePeriods in the UK, a film about periods would never have even made it onto the Oscars nomination list, let alone winning an award for best short documentary.
If you haven’t seen the film it follows a group of women in India who are making their own, affordable, sanitary pads to sell to other women in their community. Many of the women featured in the film left school early because they found it so difficult to manage having a period during the school day. They couldn’t afford traditional sanitary pads so would use old rags and bits of cloth they found in the house until they get too soaked and would throw them into landfill.
During the film they set up a workshop where they press and fold sanitary pads, package them up and take them around their local community shops to get them stocked. They hold educational meet-ups with women to teach them about their pads and also to help them understand periods better. So far, all incredibly noble and heartwarming stories.
However, the film fails to recognise the founder of this brilliant initiative. Arunachalam Muruganantham, an unskilled labourer from Tamil Nadu, spent years testing and developing an affordable and effective sanitary pad that could be distributed through a social enterprise business model. At the beginning of his journey, he tested so many versions and got impatient waiting for his wife to have her period he would go about his day with a bag of animal blood and wear a pad to test absorbency. He spent his entire savings, risked ridicule and exile from his community and even lost his wife as a result of his obsession with this mission.
I have been following his progress closely for many years and it’s wonderful to see how his invention and his social enterprise is helping women, but to me, he is the true hero of the story and he deserves an Oscar winning documentary all about him as well.
Instead watch his Ted Talk here
What do you think of the film? Let me know in the comments below if you think I’m being to precious here about his legacy or if you agree with any or all of what I’ve talked about. I am very interested to hear what you think!