Red Moon: Menstruation, Culture & the Politics of Gender
Media Education Foundation
When filmmaker Diana Fabianova reached puberty, she found herself irremediably trapped in menstrual etiquette. She carefully hid the evidence from her father and brother first, and later on, from most of the other men in her life. And no matter how bad she felt, she pretended she was fine. The taboo far exceeded the scope of her family: it was all around her. Periods were a "girl thing." Periods were shameful. Periods were inappropriate for public discussion. End of the story? Not quite. Something in her was reluctant to accept and suffer in silence. Why did the sign of what all societies consider a blessing -- women's ability to give birth -- happen to be described with names and expressions like "the curse" (in England), the "English war debarquement" (in France), and "to be on the rags" (in the U.S.)?
With humor and refreshing candor, Fabianova's Red Moon provides a fascinating, often ironic, take on the absurd and frequently dangerous cultural stigmas and superstitions surrounding women's menstruation. As educational as it is liberating, the film functions as both a myth-busting overview of the realities of menstruation, and a piercing cultural analysis of the ways in which struggles over meaning and power have played out through history on the terrain of women's bodies. Ideal for use in women's studies and health courses, as well as classes in anthropology, sociology, and cultural studies.
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