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What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Period. End of Sentence is about fighting outmoded attitudes toward menstruation in rural India. Millions of women worldwide are prevented from carrying on normal lives during their periods because of the combination of social taboos and lack of convenient, discreet, and affordable pads. With nothing but inadequate cloths to wear, girls and women are relegated to outsider status once a month. Some drop out of school, making education, earning power, and independence difficult to achieve. The film, which won the 2018 Best Documentary Short Film Academy Award, follows the arrival of a simple machine that allows village women to manufacture their own inexpensive sanitary pads and sell them, thereby empowering them to enrich their own lives, and freeing them and others from the imprisonment of biology and social disdain. The "End of Sentence" refers to liberation from the jail of cultural prejudices. The words "period," "menstruation," and "ass" are used.
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What's the story?
PERIOD. END OF SENTENCE exposes the plight of rural Indian women who are shunned from their temples and prevented from carrying on normal lives during their monthly periods. Menstruation is an enduring unmentionable there, and even conversation about it a taboo of Indian society. When it's discussed only ignorance is promoted. When a man is asked what is menstruation he replies, "It's a kind of illness, right?" A girl asks the "reason behind the bleeding," and an elder replies, "This is something only God knows." The real problem is that the absence of affordable ways to help women stay clean and comfortable holds them back from economic autonomy. A simple and inexpensive machine invented by a man interested in liberating the power of girls and women allows them to make their own pads and also generate income. The freedom they achieve through pad use and the economic boon sales provide encourage women to get educated, to raise their standard of living, and to train for careers. This short film was funded in part through bake sales and a Kickstarter campaign by a group of California students who sent machines to India and supported the Los Angeles documentary-maker who made the movie.
Is it any good?
This is a beautiful film for so many reasons, most obviously that it shines a light on outdated views of menstruation and how those views hold women back. But the example Period. End of Sentence sets is in its genesis. The project came out of community support for women, funded in part by The Pad Project, devoted to upending social and economic structures that devalue girls. It was also funded through bake sales and a Kickstarter campaign created by high school students at Los Angeles' Oakwood School, and their teacher Melissa Berton, demonstrating that empowerment inspires empowerment. High school students learned they could make a difference. And women and girls in India are making a difference as they spread their empowerment through the sale of a product that can help all women.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about why a culture might make life difficult for women when they have their periods. What are some reasons that come to mind?
Although the women and girls in Period. End of Sentence are working hard at making pads, they look happy and excited. How does purposeful work inspire people to excel in their lives?
In what ways do you think a better understanding of the biology of menstruation could help societies become more open to women?
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