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Academy Awards 2019: How Netflix smashed period taboos at the Oscars

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Kayleigh Dray
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HOLLYWOOD, CALIFORNIA - FEBRUARY 24: Melissa Berton (center L) and Rayka Zehtabchi (center R) accept the Short Film (Live Action) award for 'Period. End of Sentence.' onstage during the 91st Annual Academy Awards at Dolby Theatre on February 24, 2019 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images)

Menstruation is making headlines at the Oscars this year, and for good reason… 

An anonymous Oscars judge said it could not be done. That Period. End of Sentence is “well done, but it’s about women getting their period, and, as such, men would not vote for it because it’s just icky.

Thankfully, this misogynist idiot has been proven to be 100% wrong: Netflix’s Period. End of Sentence has been named the Best Documentary Short at the 91st Academy Awards, and we here at Stylist HQ couldn’t be happier about it.

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The insightful 25-minute film, which is currently available for streaming on Netflix, makes a vital point: a period should end a sentence and not the aspirations of young girls. That it should not mean the end of school. That it should not be the end of the story. And yet, for millions of girls in rural India, it is: some 23% of girls drop out school when they hit puberty due to period taboos.

Award-winning filmmaker Rayka Zehtabchi directed the short film, after being approached to helm the project by The Pad Project. 

“I’m not crying because I’m on my period or anything. I can’t believe a film on menstruation won an Oscar,” Zehtabchi said in her acceptance speech.

Paying homage to producer Guneet Monga, Zehtabchi continued: “Guneet Monga - know that you have been empowering women all over the world fight for menstrual equality.”

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Melissa Berton, the teacher who founded The Pad Project alongside the students of Oakwood School in Los Angeles, said the project was born because her students in LA and people in India wanted to make a “human rights difference”.

“I share this award with the Feminist Majority Foundation, the entire team and cast. I share this with the teachers and students around the worlds - a period should end a sentence, not a girl’s education,” she said.

Image: Getty

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Kayleigh Dray

Kayleigh Dray is editor of Stylist.co.uk, where she chases after rogue apostrophes and specialises in films, comic books, feminism and television. On a weekend, you can usually find her drinking copious amounts of tea and playing boardgames with her friends. 

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