Why I Loved the Way Netflix’s “The End of the F***ing World” Talked About Periods
Periods and media — two topics that don’t often go hand-in-hand, especially when it comes to fictional TV shows and movies. YA books and movies often tell stories of teens on the run — and growing up, I would always think to myself: what happens when they get their period?
Think about major fictional cultural phenonmena such as Harry Potter or The Hunger Games, stories that follow young adults on the run. What happens when Hermione gets her period? What about Katniss? These are the questions I’ve always wondered.
A few months ago, I (binge) watched Netflix’s “The End of the F***ing World.” In the fifth episode of the show, one of the protagonists, Alyssa, gets her period while on the run. In the scene, she stops in the middle of walking, reaches down, comes up with blood on her hands, and responds with a groan and some explicits. That scene felt so incredibly real to me, and speaks to the experiences of many menstruators who get their periods in less-than-preferable situations.
Oddly enough, menstruators talking about their periods in television is not common. After watching that scene, I started to think back on all my favorite TV shows and movies — I couldn’t think of any that addressed periods the way that “The End of the F***ing World” did. Something natural, human, and sometimes inconvenient.
While I’ve always wondered what happens when fictional characters get their periods, I hadn’t realized how much I had been needing to see periods in popular television/movies/books. Periods are something that happens to half the population! It’s about time we started talking about them in all contexts, especially in television media. So, shout out to the creators of “The End of the F***ing World” — Alyssa is the well-rounded, badass menstruator we’ve been needing!