According to Autostraddle and Dr. Lauren Rosewarne, Hollywood Thinks Your Period is Scary. In her new study, Rosewarne argues that the media’s portrayal of menstruation is traumatizing teenage girls. She analyses a broad selection of media including movies and sitcoms to get a sense of how popular culture is talking about periods.
Summing up Rosewarne’s findings, Autostraddle writes:
Hollywood sucks at representing Aunt Flo. “The regularity, normalcy and uneventfulness of real life menstruation is rarely portrayed on screen. Instead, it’s treated as traumatic, embarrassing, distressing, offensive, comedic or thoroughly catastrophic,” argues Rosewarne.
And as a result, “girls in real life are viewing menstruation as a hassle, women are happily filling prescriptions to make it go away, men are mocking it, loathing it and rarely understanding it,” according to Rosewarne. And we need a whole study, analysis, and book about it because it’s so entirely normal for us to do so. How many women do you hear berate their period, dread it, complain about it, tell horror stories?
At kindajudgy, we’ve been menstruating and talking feminism for over fifteen years, so I asked team members what they thought of the article and of Dr. Rosewarne’s findings.
I think that writer sounds like she’s never had to have a fucking bunch of doctors up in her crotch for her shitty fucking nonstop period. Or started at 8 years old. Or has actual cramps.
If it happened to dudes, there’d be a cure for it. Fuck this “natural, womanly cycle bullshit”, fuck dismissing that most women don’t like regular, leaky pain. I believe women’s pain is real. If I had a daughter, and she got her first period, hell yeah, I’d let her come home early. I’d make her a cake if she wanted to. And if it made her feel better, I’d let her have a half-glass of red wine.
Menstruation gets a lot of air-time at kindajudgy, because to many of our members, they are traumatic, distressing, and extremely painful. To some women, menstruating may be empowering, but we would happily “fill prescriptions to make it go away.” We would like to see more research put into figuring out how to lessen the impact of menstruation on women’s lives, and more effort put in to teaching medical professionals to treat women’s pain seriously and sensitively. Most importantly, we would like both researchers and journalists to report on menstruation in a way that avoids making sweeping generalizations about women’s experiences and providing justification for the professional disregard for and dismissal of many women’s actual real-life suffering.