That Is All… Period!
“No men on the panel will vote for the documentary about periods because the subject is too icky…”
One of male judges in the Oscar Committee commented during the recent voting on the Indian documentary film, ‘Period. End of Sentence‘! However, it did not happen, as the film won an Oscar for the best documentary under short subject category this year. Therefore, the success should not be considered as a victory only for filmmakers, but also for the actors, for women, for the womenfolk, for the struggle against gender discrimination and also for the movement on public health!
One should thank the anonymous male member of the Oscar Committee for proving (once again) that the taboo over menstruation or periods, even chums as often termed exists not only in the developing world, but also in the Developed World! The Western World should not praise itself for honouring an Indian film about women leading a quiet sexual revolution…
India as a country, too, should not be satisfied for winning the Oscar, as about 43% of women do not have access to sanitary essentials at the beginning of periods in the South Asian nation (WHO survey conducted in October 2017). Needless to say, the country will have to go a long way. Films can sensitise people to a particular problem or situation, but it is the Administration that can resolve the issue! Unfortunately, the administration in India concentrates mainly on self-propaganda, and not on duty. The harsh reality is that the government of India did not allot sufficient money for health and education sectors in the General Budget. It is a fact that Prime Minister Narendra Modi has prompted action on projects, like ‘Making India Clean’, ‘Save the Girl Child’, ‘Digital India’ and ‘Toilet Construction’, in recent years… However, there are many newly constructed toilets in India that do not have a steady supply of water!
The wings of pads, made by Indian women, are manually shaped
We can only hope that the Oscar-winning film will change the scenario… It is because civilisation walks at its own pace… As a result, civilisation, itself, finds out the path of change! Some school students and their teachers in the US launched a project – called ‘The Pad Project‘. This project has encouraged Rayka Zehtabchi, an Iranian-American film director based in Los Angeles to make the Indian film! The film was shot in Kathikhera, a small village near Hapur District of the northern Indian province of Uttar Pradesh, where women started manufacturing sanitary napkins a couple of years ago! Initially, they told the male members of their village that they would produce diapers. Their initiative has triggered the ‘Pad Against Sexism‘ movement. These Indian ladies’ sincere efforts and dedication have helped the film win an Oscar, defeating the male ego! Still, they are yet to reach their destination…
After winning the Oscar, Zehtabchi said: “We learned that (menstruation is) very complex, and it is a multi-layered issue – something that has been deeply rooted, a stigma deeply rooted in Indian culture and society forever.” The director of 2016 Iranian film ‘Madaran’ (about an Iranian mother who pardon’s her son’s killer) also said: “There seemed to be a lot of misinformation and shame associated with it. ‘It’s an illness’. ‘It is dirty blood’. ‘We’re impure’… We have to talk about menstruation if we want to normalise it. We hope our film leaves a lasting effect on our audience, compelling them to take action.”
Let us hope that the Iranian lady will trigger a social revolution in India (and other parts of the globe)!
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