Netflix's 'Period. End Of Sentence.' Highlights India's Period Shaming

Netflix's 'Period. End Of Sentence.' Captures The Reality Of India's Period Shaming

My blood is a sign of my ability to give life... my gift to the world.

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The beautiful, 25-minute documentary "Period. End of Sentence" follows the lives of women in the Harpur District of India after being introduced to the pad machine developed by Arunachalam Muruganantham. The pad machine was designed to empower women by giving them not only an affordable sanitary napkin but also the equipment to make it.

However, the documentary focuses far more on the lack of discussion and knowledge surrounding periods in India. The film begins with ordinary school girls who are extremely shy to talk about what a period is, and how they deal with it. One girl in class is asked to explain the concept and finds herself unable to speak from embarrassment. This embarrassment stems from a greater problem: being ashamed of one's body.

Women shy away from talking about their periods because they are told it is a bad, dirty occurrence. The men shown in the documentary further prove society's abandonment of women's issues. A group of young men is asked what menstruation is and one refers to it as an "illness" which women suffer from. Older men in the community respond to the pad machine with ambivalence or play ignorant to its true function. Men act as if periods do not exist, and women are taught they must hide their periods so as to not offend the men. Muruganantham cements this fact when he says, "menstruation is the biggest taboo in my country."

As an Indian-American, this tale of period shame is all too familiar. An inspiring, strong woman named Sneha in the District participates at the factory where the pads are made and challenges what Indian society tells her to think about periods, even her religion. Hindu women are expected to refrain from going to the temple and praying during their periods because they are unclean and impure. I remember my mother telling me this rule, and not thinking twice about it. But Sneha says, "Because the goddess we pray to, she's also a woman, just like us. So, I don't agree with this rule."

Women, in being told to see their bodies as an "illness" and "impure" are disempowered, left to spend the rest of their lives paying penance for this so-called crime of menstruation. My blood is a sign of my ability to give life... my gift to the world.

The pad not only gives the women an easier, more hygienic life, but the pad machine gives the women in the film a sense of purpose. They work together to help other women and even earn money. This financial independence makes their husbands and brothers respect them, the women say. While shop owners, almost always men, refuse to stock these low-cost sanitary napkins, the women go on foot to make the sales themselves, proving that real change depends on women.

As much as this is an Indian issue, developed nations are not exempt. The United States still maintains a luxury tax on pads and tampons. No matter where one goes in the world, there is a prevailing mentality of ignoring the fact that periods do in fact exist. A luxury tax implies that periods are a choice, rather than a natural occurrence and all women know this is not true.

Women's health has been put on the back burner for centuries because our bodies are viewed as replaceable and machine-like. However, women's bodies are "creators of the universe." The creators are demanding respect, in every corner of the world. Where there is knowledge, expect action.

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Wake Up People – Pornography Is Ruining Your Life

And you're probably already addicted.
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When people talk about addiction, it’s usually drugs. Tobacco, heroin, cocaine, meth, sometimes alcohol, and even caffeine. Although it may not be discussed in this context as often, pornography is also a drug. A virtual drug that can be accessed any time of day, anywhere, for free.

The result? Pornography addiction is one of the most widespread addictions on this planet. Many would argue that they’re not addicted, that viewing pornography is harmless —even empowering and healthy— but today, I’d like to add my voice to those clamoring for change.

1. It reduces your self-esteem

When you’re watching videos of steroidal men and impossibly busty women go at it on a regular basis, it’s going to take a toll on the way you view yourself. It hurts the way you feel about your sexual performance. It gives you unrealistic expectations for the way you should look in the mirror. Nothing about porn is designed to make you feel good about yourself; rather, it convinces you that you’ll never be or get anything that good in real life, so you might as well keep watching. It’s a vicious, endless cycle. Did you know that porn binges are a thing?

2. Porn kills your relationships

Pornography addiction damages relationships. Time spent feeding an addiction is time not spend strengthening relationships with friends, family, and your significant other. As a result, those relationships become damaged, making addicts feel isolated, and then making the addiction worse as they hurl themselves into the drug to make up for that loneliness.

Pornography addiction is particularly damaging to an addict’s relationship with their significant other. The nature of pornography is such that it distracts an addict from real intimacy with fantasy that stimulates the brain until that’s all it wants. Male and female partners of pornography addicts report feelings of anxiety, inadequacy, and worthlessness. In fact, spouses and partners of sex addicts can experience PTSD at their hands.

3. Say goodbye to your sex life

Chances are, if you like pornography, you like sex. Heads up: watching (or reading) pornography can be a big turn-off for you in the bedroom. Because pornography allows you to watch just about anything you want at a moment’s notice, it can make real sex seem less fun or exciting. It reduces the addict’s desire for the real deal, alienating their significant other.

Many pornography addicts build up a sort of tolerance and need to view more explicit content for the same level of satisfaction. We are seeing an all-time high in cases of erectile dysfunction in young men, and pornography is a likely culprit.

4. Porn is a waste of time

There’s only so much time in the day, and you don’t benefit in any way when you spend that time watching pornography. Like other addictions, it’s not productive, and wasting your time in this manner can hold you back from progressing in your personal and professional life. You’ll have trouble building or even maintaining relationships with people, and you’ll have less time to focus on advancing in your career or handling schoolwork.

Pornography and other addictions aren’t the only time-wasters dragging us down. HBO, Netflix, Pinterest, YouTube, Halo, Candy Crush — pick your poison. This isn’t to say that you should be productive 24/7, but when you’re addicted to something, it tends to keep you from moving forward at all.

Get Help

If any of this sounds familiar, get help. Sex can feel good again. You can like what you see in the mirror again. You can take your life back. There are lots of groups and services out there that are designed to help you achieve that and more — from Fight the New Drug’s Fortify program to private addiction treatment centers. Whatever you do, take it seriously and fight back.

Cover Image Credit: Unsplash

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I Agree With Brian Kemp's Heartbeat Bill, But I'm Still Pro-Choice Because It Isn't Only About Me

By being pro-choice, we leave room for everyone to make their own decisions, which is their right.

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I remember years ago, I visited the Bodies Exhibit in Atlanta with my AP Biology class and Human Anatomy classes. In the exhibit, they have one room dedicated to how a fetus grows in the womb. I remember seeing that a fetus does not have a heartbeat until five or six weeks and I vividly remember saying to my friend that I would be able to understand getting an abortion if there wasn't a heartbeat yet. If we declare someone dead when their heart stops, then isn't it fair to declare that someone isn't alive until their heartbeats?

To some, I sound extremely cynical, but when approaching the argument of abortion laws, I try to think about every woman, not just myself. I know that many people are against abortion due to religious reasons, and I support that. It is a valid reason. However, not everyone is religious. I know what the Bible says, but we cannot call out one sin when we are drowning in so many other sins. We cannot force non-believers to conform to a law set in place because we are afraid that God would not want it or that we are allowing the world to be a broken place.

We are all living in our own sin and just as Jesus said, "You who is without sin may cast the first stone". We cannot fight against abortion and say, "this is what the Lord would want" when we are ignoring so many other things that He would want for us. I understand the religious argument and I agree, there is nothing wrong with the idea of the argument, my problem is that we are a bunch of sinners calling out other sinners as if we are holier than thou. It is not an easy solution, but I pray that pro-lifers could see that being pro-choice doesn't mean you are pro-death, but that you want to allow women to make their own decisions while we, as believers, pray for them. That is what God would want.

In one semester of Women's Health, I have learned more about both the male and female anatomy, menstruation, ovulation, and pregnancy, than any white male in office will ever learn in their lives. They don't care enough to learn about how the female body works because they hyper-sexualize women and do not see them as human beings. If these men do not understand how the female body works, how can they be in the position to make decisions about the female body?

So, here's where it gets tricky. I agree with Brian Kemp's heartbeat bill personally.

I would support that if it was only a law for me.

But this is not how our government works.

When we put a law into place, everyone has to abide by it. So, when we make these laws out of our own egotistical or religious beliefs, we are showing everyone that we do not care what anyone else believes. By being pro-choice, we leave room for everyone to make their own decisions, which is their right. We do not have to agree, but we have to agree to disagree.

Voters, I encourage you to do your research. Do not simply be pro-life or pro-choice because of what your friends believe or what you see on social media. Make an educated choice. But, do not think only about yourself and your beliefs. Think about all the women of Georgia now and for generations to come. Think about how this bill would affect demographics, public education, orphanages, and finances. Make the educated vote not just for yourself, but for everyone.

Women, we are fortunate to have the right to vote and it is critical that we stand up and exercise that right. These elected officials have declared war, they are threatening to take our rights away, this is our time to fight and our votes are our weapon. They want unborn children to live, but they are not willing to fight for those children once they are born. We are at risk of receiving life in prison meanwhile rapists are receiving six months to fix years maximum. Even if you are pro-life and support anti-abortion laws, I hope you vote against this bill because the punishment is no solution. If you see the punishment as fair, I hope we can stand up against rape so that rapists receive punishments that fit their crime. If we can put the same energy we use to fight about abortion in to fighting against other inequalities in our justice system, imagine where we could be.

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