Wednesday, May 09, 2007

"All Women Have Periods" Redux

Update from last week's post: Reader email and the comment from Carrie have forced me to reexamine the obvious and perplexing fact that the protagonist of last week's menstruation training film appears to have Down Syndrome.
In bringing the video to my attention, reader Jennifer G. commented that "why the viewer-stand-in character is a MUCH-too-young girl with Down Syndrome is just one of the many questions this film inspires."

So I did a little digging and it turns out that there is a reason Jill looks the way she does, and that everyone in the film speaks in simple repetition. It turns out that this film, entitled All Women Have Periods, was created for the express purpose of teaching menstrual hygene to developmentally-disabled girls. And now I feel kind of like a jerk for making fun of it.

But... Jennifer G. is right, the film does still raise numerous questions. For example, why does the family have a trapezoidal bathroom? Is their universe missing the tampon particle? Why does Jill's 30ish sister Susie still live at home? Why does Susie regard the adhesive strip's peel-off backing with such contempt? According to Jill, she and her mother "were talking yesterday . . . about periods," yet today her mother explains--seemingly for the first time--what periods are, who gets them, and what to do about them. So what material did she cover yesterday? And why aren't girls with Down Syndrome allowed to know the word "vagina?"

Well, believe it or not, there exists an All Women Have Periods Study Guide. And while it does not necessarily provide guidance on the above questions, it does contain the complete screenplay, should you wish to stage a dramatic reading.


  1. Wow, so I totally thought the girl had Down's, but then I thought I was just being prejudicial or judgmental and didn't say anything. Huh. It does sort of explain the crazy repetition of the dialogue.

  2. I want more information on one of the other items suggested in the study called called 'Some Of Your Bits Ain't Nice.'

    Is this one aimed specifically at developmentally-disabled EastEnders cast members?

  3. From a medical standpoint, the absence of the word vagina and the 2 other holes between a woman's legs (extra points: identify them) still makes me worried. What if Jill starts bleeding from another hole? Will she wait 3-4 days before she recognizes there is something wrong?

    I'm tempted to start a campaign to teach everyone the words penis and vagina. My step-nieces knew it when they were 2 AND had a set of appropriate uses.


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