The Mainstream Media Is Out to Convince You That Periods Are Terrifying

Article by Katie J.M. Baker /
Jezebel /
July 12, 2012 /
Click here to view original /

Remember that episode of [insert your favorite TV show here] when little Sally got her period and felt awesome about it? If not, that’s probably because a new study found that the way movies and TV shows depict menstruation could be traumatizing teenage girls.

Nothing if not thorough, researcher Lauren Rosewarne looked at 200 examples of menstruation in film, television, advertising and music before concluding that the media represents the monthly curse like it is literally, well, a curse.

“The regularity, normalcy and uneventfulness of real life menstruation is rarely portrayed on screen. Instead, it’s treated as traumatic, embarrassing, distressing, offensive, comedic or thoroughly catastrophic,” Dr Rosewarne told the Sydney Morning Herald. “It’s far more prevalent than I think people would assume but it’s done in very typical ways, whereby it’s showing women in bad moods or hostile, girls embarrassed, ruining sex lives – the standard negative portrayals we’ve grown to see.” 

Some examples of TV shows Dr. Rosewarne analyzed include The Golden Girls, The Big Bang Theory, Mad Men, Friends and Grey’s Anatomy; movies included Annie Hall, Anchorman, and Monty Python’s The Meaning of Life — and, obviously, Carrie, because no period-themed movie marathon is complete without the Stephen King classic.

Dr Rosewarne, whose awesome-sounding book called Periods in Pop Culture is being published soon, said her findings show that girls could feel unnecessarily afraid of getting their period. “There is this issue of girls feeling anxious about it or even over-estimating things like how much they will bleed,” she said. “And when men are actually asked about menstruation they assume it’s a Niagara Falls of blood, because it’s not something men necessarily know much about and our culture doesn’t encourage them to.” Preach it, sister.