Period drama! Pop culture makes menstruation 'overly traumatic'.July 12, 2012
Researcher Dr Lauren Rosewarne, from the University's School of Social and Political Sciences, has analyzed hundreds of representations of menstruation in film and television.
"The presentation of menstruation on screen is an overwhelmingly negative one," she said.
The analysis included jokes, plotlines and references from popular TV shows such as The Big Bang Theory, Mad Men, Friends and Grey's Anatomy, and blockbuster films like Annie Hall, Anchorman and Monty Python's The Meaning of Life.
"The regularity, normalcy and uneventfulness of real life menstruation is rarely portrayed on screen. Instead, it's treated as traumatic, embarrassing, distressing, offensive, comedic or thoroughly catastrophic," she said.
"There are numerous portrayals where menstruation is considered as evil, disgusting and as the root of all female evil."
Dr Rosewarne said these negative representations affected how women approached their own experiences.
"Girls in real life are viewing menstruation as a hassle, women are happily filling prescriptions to make it go away, men are mocking it, loathing it and rarely understanding it," she said.
"On screen presentations likely have some complicity."'
The research identified the representation of menstruation in Carrie (1976) as perhaps the most traumatizing.
"The fusion of a naked girl, shower stream, screaming and blood harked back to cinema's most famous shower horror scene from Psycho. Even though the audience presumably recognized Carrie was only menstruating, the character's terror was contagious."
Dr Rosearne's full analysis will appear in her upcoming book, Periods in Pop Culture, to be published by Lexington Books.
The University of Melbourne
Related Menstruation Current Events and Menstruation News Articles
New theory on cause of endometriosis
Changes to two previously unstudied genes are the centerpiece of a new theory regarding the cause and development of endometriosis, a chronic and painful disease affecting 1 in 10 women.
New sugar-test to reduce false-positive cancer diagnoses
The world's most widespread test for ovarian cancer reports false-positives in 94 of 100 diagnosed cases.
Combination ARV vaginal ring to prevent HIV safe in trial but 1 ARV carries the weight
An early phase clinical trial of a vaginal ring containing the antiretroviral (ARV) drugs dapivirine and maraviroc found the ring was safe in women who wore it for 28 days and evidence of dapivirine in cervical tissue and blood.
Eating disorders often associated with reproductive health problems
According to a Finnish study, women with eating disorders are less likely to have children than others in their age group. The discrepancy is the most apparent in anorexia sufferers.
Pre-menstrual dysphoric disorder helps elucidate role of female sex hormones on mood
Improved understanding of the role of female sex hormones on the drivers and symptoms of premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD) may shed light on the complex interactions between sex hormones and mood, potentially helping to explain the increased prevalence of mood disorders in women.
Meal Timing Can Significantly Improve Fertility in Women with Polycystic Ovaries
Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS), a common disorder that impairs fertility by impacting menstruation, ovulation, hormones, and more, is closely related to insulin levels.
First estrogen receptor mutation found in a young woman
A receptor mutation that essentially blocks estrogen's action has been identified for the first time in a female, researchers report.
Chemical probe confirms that body makes its own rotten egg gas, H2S, to benefit health
A new study confirms directly what scientists previously knew only indirectly: The poisonous "rotten egg" gas hydrogen sulfide is generated by our body's growing cells.
Women's reproductive ability may be related to immune system status
New research indicates that women's reproductive function may be tied to their immune status. Previous studies have found this association in human males, but not females.
Women altering menstruation cycles in large numbers, UO study shows
A surprisingly large number of women 18 or older choose to delay or skip monthly menstruation by deviating from the instructions of birth-control pills and other hormonal contraceptives, a team of University of Oregon researchers and others found in a study of female students at the university.
More Menstruation Current Events and Menstruation News Articles