Period. End of Sentence.

91st Annual Academy Awards - Show

I was pleasantly surprised when Period. End of Sentence won best documentary short at the Oscars on Sunday. I hadn’t actually seen the documentary but I voted for it on my home ballot because I thought it seemed like an important subject. For a while, I’ve been mulling over an essay idea about how periods are rarely represented in fiction and in film, even though it is a monthly occurrence in the lives of girls and women. The silence around it contributes both to a feeling of shame and a sense that it’s not really that important. But so many of my friends have gone through times in their lives when they were in a lot of pain because of their periods, and there’s very little in the way of treatment. Which is really kind of crazy, from a capitalist perspective, because how much money could you make if you offered women some pain relief during their periods?

I kept thinking of how flawed capitalism is as I watched Period. End of Sentence. on Netflix last night. (It’s streaming there, and it’s only about a half hour, so it’s an easy watch.) The documentary takes place in a rural part of India, and observes what happens to a group of women after a pad machine is installed in their village. There is a lot of shame and misinformation around menstruation, but soon the women are working at the pad machine and going door-to-door to sell them. It is a product that the local women desperately need, especially young women, who often skip school when they are on their periods. They eagerly buy pads, but admit that they are hesitant to purchase them at the store because it is too embarrassing to do so. Continue reading “Period. End of Sentence.”

In Defense of Reserved Seating

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I recently read critic A.S. Hamrah’s latest dispatch on n+1. I’ve always liked that he writes about the experience of going to the movies as well as the movies themselves. Last month, he wrote about the trend of reserved seating, which he finds undemocratic:

Reserved seats are antithetical to moviegoing, which traditionally and democratically has been first come, first served. You could move to a different seat if a weirdo (or anybody) was sitting too close. This new nonegalitarian system is fancy and inappropriate. It takes too long and it huddles people together. 

I had a weirdly personal and defensive reaction to this statement, because I am a parent of two young children, and reserved seating has made it a lot easier for me to see movies. I rely on it to get seats (two seats together) to popular movies or special screenings. It would be my pleasure to arrive early for one of these movies and wait in line with a book or a podcast, but I can’t, because I have to give my kids dinner and get them ready for bed before I can go out. Without reserved seating, my husband and I have to plan for an extra 45 minutes of waiting, which is basically an hour of babysitting time, or $15-20. (Also, a lot of weeknight sitters have day jobs or nannying gigs and they can’t get to our place until 6:30 at the earliest.) So, a theater that allows us to reserve two seats together is a major convenience. We go to more movies than we used to because of reserved seating.

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As Usual, Oscar Nominations Include Few Women

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I was struggling to find a photo for this post, so I decided to find a happy one, of a woman directing a movie–Patty Jenkins, with Gal Gadot, on the set of Wonder Woman. 

This was the other image I was considering:

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As usual the Oscar Nominations had only a handful of female nominees. There were only four categories (out of twenty) in which women achieved parity or had the majority of nominations. Many categories did not include any women.

Continue reading “As Usual, Oscar Nominations Include Few Women”