Periods in the Media

Originally published on TheeKatsMeoww Youtube Channel

Welcome back to the Kats Meoww. Today, were gonna talk about the way that the media represents our periods. And it seems like, we’re shown exaggerated caricatures of women who were really angry, really emotional. They’re making fun of them and making them the punch of the joke for the sake of comedy and laughter.

Well some females yes, they get really emotional, yes, they have cravings. And then there are other females that don’t, that have lesser symptoms. If we really want an accurate representation, you should show all the spectrum.

And what I find super ironic is that a lot of the media is made by men, right? And we’re not really teaching men anything about our periods.

So, these men who have never been informed about the experience of being on your period nor the actual scientific facts of being on your period, or writing stories and depicting our stories. Right?

So who are they to tell something that we live through every month? And that’s why they’re so inaccurate.

Sixteen Candles has a kinda humorous take on periods were Molly Reynold’s sister. She’s about to be married. She has her a period. So she took muscle relaxers. Actually she took 4 muscle relaxers. So she’s kinda loopy. She’s all over the place, and she’s really emotional. And yet again, no surprise here, it’s a male writer who wrote Sixteen Candles – a film that so many of us ladies love.

Man enters the room: “Holy shit..”
Lady: “She just had a cramp..”

Other movies that have used periods to sort of shame us or humiliate us would be the Movie 43. And also Superbad. And both of those cases, there is a female and she starts bleeding through her pants.

[Video clip from Superbad]
Man 1: “Saw her period on my fucking leg..”
Man 2: “Oh shit!”
Man 1: “So what the fuck do I do?”
Man 2: (laughing).. “I have never before seen that in my life..”
Man 1: “This is so disgusting”

[Video clip ends]

So in the Movie 43, we see the same exact formula, right? Where there’s a female, she’s much younger and she’s over this guys house. And she gets up from the couch and goes to the bathroom.

[Video clip from Movie 43]
The guy’s touching the couch and he has no idea what a period is. He thinks she’s spill it fruit punch or something. She comes out like she’s so embarrassed.

“Hello 911, yeah my friend is like bleeding out of her vagina!”

[Video clip ends]

Yet again another example of using something that’s ours to sort of be the pun of the joke.

I just wanted to tell these all male writers KEEP YOUR DAMN HAND OUT OF MY VAGINA. This belongs to me, you know.

There’s some misinformation in the media that represents periods, for example in the movie Blue Lagoon.

[Video clip of Blue Lagoon]
The female is in water, and she must’ve just gotten her period, and then she’d started screaming because there’s blood everywhere.

The water is not even blue anymore.

[Video clip ends]

Yes. If you go into the water, there is a possibility that yes, you can leak into the water.

But for the most part, there’s so much pressure in the water that actually retain your period. That is why, some of you ladies may know, when you go to the beach and come out of the beach, it’s just like your period is just like, poof! It comes out.

That’s because when you’re on the water, all that pressure of the water is holding your period in. So the likelihood of that actually happening and the likelihood of that happening when she first got her period isn’t very true.

So, if periods aren’t humiliating and if they’re not giving out misinformation, then you know what they’re doing?

They’re terrorizing us. They’re making us so scared and also making us out to be monsters, like we’re evil or something.

The best example would be Carrie. If you haven’t seen Carrie, please do.

[Video clip of Carrie]
Carrie gets her period while on the shower. Her mom finds out that she’s got her period. Her mom thinks she’s the devil and that she’s crazy, and that she’s a whore.

Mother: “Show her, and if she had remained sinless, the curse of blood would never have come on her.

Carrie: “momma, no momma..”

[Video clip ends]

This whole like movie is kind of like characterizing us to be these crazy insane women, like when we’re on our period, we’re freakin’ evil, and we just wanna kill you. Yeah, we may be emotional but I don’t think any woman is gonna blame murder on her period. Or else, a lot of females would have probably done that already.

There are 2 examples that I wanna talk about that I actually felt we’re really good representations.

[Video clip of Runaways]
In the movie Runaways, with Dakota Fanning, she gets her period and like you see the blood dripping down her leg. And so her sister runs into the bathroom with her and gives her her underwear so that she’s not walking around with dirty underwear.

[Video clip ends]

I thought that was pretty neat because they were both like calm cool and collected about it. And they kinda show the camaraderie between one female and another female and trying to help one another out. So I thought that was pretty nice.

[Video clip of Curb Your Enthusiasm]
There was this episode on Curb Your Enthusiasm where a Girl Scout comes to Larry David’s house and tries to sell him cookies. And while they’re there they’re talking how much cookies are they gonna buy or whatever, she kinda stops.

Girl: “I think I just got my first period.”

I don’t think it’s really authentic because it’s making it out to seem like, you know, you can stand in one place, “Holy crap, there’s like Niagara Falls on my panties.” That’s not like really happens.

But besides that, in the episode, Larry David actually reads instructions to how to put on a tampon from outside the bathroom. And yeah, he’s being Larry David’s he’s like screaming and all these stuff. But as he’s reading it he’s like becoming really enthusiastic.

David: “It comes out of the plastic!”
Girl inside the bathroom: “That seems wrong”
David: “Look! It came out of the plastic, I’m holding it.”
Girl: “Okay”
David: “You got it?”
Girl: “I think so.. I think I got it.”
David: “Alright!”

[Video clips ends]

And I don’t feel like, he made it seem something dirty or something that should be hidden. Like he’s actually helpful and I thought like that’s a pretty good representation for men to see as well.

So when you only show one side of the story, and especially you know the side that I’ve been describing? It traumatizes a lot of girls who have yet to get their period and instead of embracing it, they’re really scared. Right? And they shouldn’t be because your period is something that shows that you’re alive and you’re well and you’re healthy.

And when you also show a misrepresentation of periods, they have a skewed mentality of what to expect. And if you’re traumatizing them already before they even have their period, perhaps they won’t want to reach out to other people and talk to them about the real facts of how to take care of your period, what to do what not to do.

And, God when you have little to no facts or the wrong facts, it can lead to really bad situations, right? It can lead to unwanted pregnancy, maybe diseases or STDs or uncleanliness or just bad body image, bad self-esteem.

And media just keeps doing this. Keeps perpetuating that we should be really ashamed, and really humiliated of this.

So I think it’s also up to us females to inform all these male counterparts like if you have a son, or your boyfriend, or nephew or cousin, whatever.

They should all learn about our period and we shouldn’t feel ashamed about it at all or whatsoever because it’s a part of life.

Want to discuss this further? Login to our online forum and start a post! If you’re not already registered as a forum user, please register first here.

Kat Lazo is a Contributing Writer for Everyday Feminism. She’s a self-proclaimed social commentator, media critic, and overall, a woman who questions everything. Having studied Advertising and Marketing Communications at the Fashion Institute of Technology, she’s ready to add some feminism to the ad world. Check out more of her writing at TheeKatsMeoww, watch her videos on YouTube, and follow on Twitter @TheeKatsMeoww, Facebook and Tumblr. Read her articles here.