7 Important Menstruation Moments From Movies & TV

Photo: Courtesy of Comedy Central.
Ah, the period. This monthly biological occurrence has been a defining part of the female experience for as long as people have been around. Seeing as how periods are an integral part of the human experience for, you know, 50% of the population, it's only fitting that the bloodbath miracle of menstruation be immortalized in pop culture.

In 2016, menstruation has become par for the course in movies and TV. And like any versatile player, the period can perform many different roles, from the comic to the dramatic: A symbolic coming-of-age, a sitcom-scene setup, a mother-daughter bonding moment, a friendship challenge, or a good old-fashioned gore-fest.
We combed through movies and TV to find some of the most memorable representations of the period in pop culture. What we found was alternately sweet, funny, and downright terrifying. Here are seven important menstruation moments from movies and TV.
Advertisement
1 of 7
Image: Courtesy of United Artists.
Carrie White (Sissy Spacek)
Carrie (1976)

In this traumatizing sequence, Carrie is bewildered when she starts bleeding in the locker room showers. Instead of helping her out, her nasty classmates taunt and torture an already-terrified girl. The two important takeaways here: It's important to tell your daughters what to expect, so they don't think they're dying when they get their first period; and periods can quite literally be the stuff of horror films.
2 of 7
Image: Courtesy of Columbia Pictures.
Emmeline Lestrange (Brooke Shields)
Blue Lagoon (1980)

Bathing in a grotto is pretty idyllic, until all of a sudden you're swimming in a pool of your own blood and you're starring in your own personal Jaws. Emmeline screeches for her brother to come help, but once she realizes what's going on, she can't get him out of there fast enough. We're sure this situation was traumatizing for both parties.
3 of 7
Image: Courtesy of Entertainment One.
Emma Nelson (Miriam McDonald)
Degrassi: The Next Generation
(2002)

This is the stuff of middle school nightmares. When Emma gets her first period in the middle of the school day — while wearing a white skirt — she relies on the help of her friend, a sweatshirt around her waist, and a popular mean girl. When she finally makes it back to class, she gives a quick health lesson to her snickering peers: "Actually, I just got my period for the first time. Menstruation — it happens to about, oh, 50% of the population. Perfectly normal and nothing to be ashamed about." This scene should probably be mandatory viewing for adolescent girls.
4 of 7
Image: Courtesy of Apparition.
Cherie Currie (Dakota Fanning)
The Runaways (2010)

Menstruation takes the main stage in this drama about the formation of the legendary '70s rock group: Period blood hitting the pavement is actually the opening shot. Currie and her sister book it to a gas station bathroom, where the good ol' wad of toilet paper trick comes in handy. Lessons learned? Grimy public restrooms are the worst. Improvisation is key. Having your sister there to help is always a plus.
5 of 7
Image: Courtesy of AMC.
Sally Draper (Kiernan Shipka)
Mad Men (2012)

So, the Museum of Natural History is actually kind of a cool place to get your period for the first time — at the very least, it's got lovely restrooms. But Sally just so happens to be on her first outing with Glen when the moment hits. Sally peaces out and hops in a cab home to her mom — she knows that in this case, Don Draper is actually not the best man for the job. This leads to a rare and precious bonding moment between Sally and her mom, Betty (January Jones).
6 of 7
Image: Courtesy of HBO.
Sansa Stark (Sophie Turner)
Game of Thrones (2012)

Waking up to find blood on your sheets for the first time is scary. Realizing this means that you're now capable of conceiving an heir with the most evil young king, ever? That warrants a total freak-out. Sansa desperately tries to cut the blood stain out of her bed sheets before anyone can see it — and before she's forced to have sex with Joffrey. While GoT is total fantasy, it's a reminder that historically, girls' first periods were indeed taken as a sign that the girl was ready to bear a child — whether she wanted to or not.
7 of 7
Image: Courtesy of Comedy Central.
Ilana Wexler (Ilana Glazer)
Broad City (2016)

Have you ever gotten your period on an airplane? It's kind of the worst. No tampon, nowhere to hide, and no recourse. The hilarious episode, "Jews On A Plane," has Abbi and Ilana scouring the plane for feminine products. When a flight attendant overhears Ilana describing the massacre that is her menstruation, she thinks Ilana is talking about a terrorist attack. In a way, isn't your period like terrorism on your vagina?
Advertisement