Segments in this Video

Publicizing Menstruation (02:05)


Judy Chicago's 1970 "Red Flag" was one of the first menstruation images in Western art. 20 years later, she installs "Menstruation Bathroom" at a Los Angeles museum. Viewer discretion is advised for this film. (Credits)

"Menstruation Bathroom" (02:50)

In the ‘70s, Chicago aired the taboo subject that has since been transformed in popular culture. Museum visitors react to her work.

Menstrual Politics (02:22)

"Issues of Blood" author Sophie Laws interviewed men to see how their attitudes influence social behavior. She urges women to be open about how periods affect them.

PMS in the Media (00:60)

View cartoons depicting women suffering from hormonal fluctuations and ads for painkillers.

Improving Menstrual Education (01:28)

Women take a workshop to prepare for their daughters first period.

Rewriting Menstruation Rules (02:02)

Judy Blume's novel "Are You There, God? It's Me, Margaret" is still popular among adolescent girls. Women want their daughters to have an easier coming-of-age experience than their own.

Menstruation Censorship (03:24)

Blume's novel is banned in some elementary schools—despite many girls having reached puberty. One woman believes her mother's inability to discuss sex led to an early pregnancy.

Puberty Education (01:51)

Women and their adolescent daughters participate in a menstruation celebration. View a school video explaining monthly cycles.

Biological Menstruation Theory (03:09)

Evolutionary biologist Margie Profet contends that menstruation occurs to protect the uterus from pathogens that can be carried by sperm.

Museum of Menstruation (03:56)

Graphic artist Harry Finley studied how secretive marketing campaigns influenced cultural attitudes toward menstruation. On display is a "short history" of advertising menstruation products.

Toxic Shock Syndrome (05:01)

As tampon production became competitive in the '70s, women began suffering TSS. An expert shows how synthetic tampons—developed for high absorbency—provided breeding grounds for dangerous bacteria.

Ongoing TSS (03:11)

A Toxic Shock Syndrome survivor describes her experience. By 1980, the CDC had established a link between tampons and the disease; the FDA recalled some brands and established standards—but the danger remains.

Tampon Danger (03:55)

Two lawyers fight sanitary product manufacturers on behalf of TSS victims. A scientist explains why tampons are inherently dangerous to women's health in medical terms.

Raising the Tampon Issue (01:34)

Journalist Karen Hupert questions sanitary product safety standards, and calls for more alternatives for women.

Tampon Safety Campaign (03:03)

"Whitewash" authors Liz Armstrong and Adrienne Scott lobbied to remove chemicals from sanitary products, but met manufacturer resistance where a similar U.K. effort was successful.

Environmental Tampon Issues (01:57)

Armstrong and Scott visit a Toronto sewage plant to raise awareness of disposable sanitary product pollution.

Fighting Disposable Feminine Products (02:42)

An activist is trying to introduce legislation banning plastic in sanitary products; he wears a dress of tampon applicators at the Statue of Liberty for publicity.

Reusable Sanitary Products (02:03)

A Canadian entrepreneur discusses the cultural implications of disposable feminine products; she's developing a cloth pad.

Recycling Tampon Applicators (02:11)

Barbara Meyer and Lori Katz have written a book of creative ideas for reusing tampon applicators. They believe disposable feminine products are here to stay for hygienic reasons.

"Oedipus Rebound: the Enigma of Blood" (03:33)

Artist Wenda Gu incorporates used tampons and pads into his work—pushing audiences to reconsider menstruation taboos.

Breaking the Menstruation Silence (00:34)

As artists continue pushing cultural boundaries around female reproduction, educators, scientists, environmentalists and lawyers deal with the repercussions of its taboo.

Credits: Menstruation: Breaking the Silence (01:54)

Credits: Menstruation: Breaking the Silence

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Menstruation: Breaking the Silence

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In this program, we meet artists and activists who are challenging taboos surrounding menstruation, often in outrageous ways that may shock some viewers. The program also explores menstruation’s impact on society and its role as a rite of passage. Artist Judy Chicago discusses how outraged audiences reacted to a graphic painting in her Menstruation Bathroom exhibit. Author Judy Blume reads from her popular book, Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret. Biologist Margie Profet discusses her contention that women menstruate to rid their uteruses of sperm residues. And the curator of a Museum of Menstruation displays a bizarre collection of advertisements for sanitary protection. Medical issues such as toxic shock syndrome are candidly discussed, as well as the environmental controversy surrounding the disposal of tampon casings. (57 minutes)

Length: 56 minutes

Item#: BVL8282

ISBN: 978-1-4213-8313-2

Copyright date: ©1996

Closed Captioned

Performance Rights

Prices include public performance rights.

Only available in USA.