Friday on "The View," director Rayka Zehtabchi, producer Melissa Berton and co-executive producer Claire Sliney of "Period" open up about the film and the impact shaming menstruation has on women.
The Netflix film–focused on how menstruation limits women's education and prosperity in India–received a lot of buzz after being awarded best documentary short subject at the Oscars this year.
"I'm not crying because I'm on my period or anything," Zehtabchi said at the Academy Awards. "I can't believe a film about menstruation just won an Oscar!"
On "The View," Zehtabchi told the co-hosts about the limited access women have to sanitary products, and how they're often "treated like contraband."
Furthermore, for these women to believe there is something inherently wrong with them during their cycle "really holds women back in other aspects of their lives," Zehtabchi continued.
The idea for the film was sparked when producer Berton, who was a high school English teacher in Los Angeles, was approached to be the faculty sponsor for the school's Girls Learn International organization. At the same time the group learned about women abroad dropping out of school after they began menstruating, they also discovered a new machine that was created to make low cost sanitary pads.
Co-host Abby Huntsman pointed out how she, like many women in America, take the accessibility of sanitary products for granted.
"There's still stigma here," Berton responded. "In movies, usually when someone goes to buy tampons or pads, it's the father who's embarrassed."
Remembering an embarrassing story from her past, co-host Joy Behar reminded everyone that women in the U.S. feel that shame as well.
"I remember when I went to the drugstore in my neighborhood," Behar recalled. "And I said, 'can I have a Kotex?' And the pharmacist said to me, 'how profuse is your flow?'"
"I thought I was going to die!"
Claire Sliney, 20, is an executive producer of "Period" and co-founder of "The Pad Project."
She believes the film is not only about "providing pads in a place where they're stigmatized and there's not a huge amount of access," but "also allowing women to engage in the economy and making wages for themselves".
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