The Bloody Truth: A look into period poverty

Maya Shtangrud, Zulema Villanueva & Nallely Meza | United States | 2022 | 11:29 min



Period poverty Synopsis

Periods can be hard, and being able to access the right products can be even harder. When financial situations get tough, menstruators often have to “put a sock in it”.

Many struggle with period poverty and it affects them in a way where it is detrimental to both their physical and mental health. Not only are period products charged as luxury items, despite being necessities, but schools and public restrooms don’t provide sanitary products, making it difficult for those experiencing period poverty to access safe and inexpensive products. This causes them to turn to using unsanitary or even dangerous products instead. In this film, we discuss the causes and effects of period poverty on menstruators´ lives as well as what you can do to help.

film keywords: shame, period poverty, generational trauma, stigma, tampon tax, menstrual health equity.



About the Filmmakers

Maya Shtangrud is a 14-year-old art education activist and aspiring filmmaker. She has been singing ever since she can remember and practically grew up in a choir. As a child of two refugees who fled antisemitism in the former USSR, the arts helped Maya find a community in which she felt she belonged, changing her life and making her truly passionate about the accessibility of a quality arts education in schools. Maya believes the arts should be available to all, which fuels her passion for diversity and representation in the arts and more specifically, in the media. Maya loves watching movies and comedy TV shows, her favorite being either 30 Rock or Arrested Development. She also loves gardening and growing her hefty collection of indoor plants.

Nalley Meza turned 16 in August 2022 and is going into her junior year of high school. She comes from a split family, with a mom from MĂ©xico and a dad from El Salvador and she is more in touch with her Mexican roots. Growing up, Nallely attended school in Glassell Park but then switched schools in Cypress Park and spent a lot of time Downtown where her dad, brothers, and sister used to live. Taking a photography course this year, Nallely learned how to use a camera and step out of her comfort zone, inspiring curiosity about films and the messages that can be portrayed in films and photography. Having had the chance to have creative freedom for her final project, she used this chance to talk about mental health.

Zulema Villanueva is a 15-year-old Mexican-American, going into her junior year of high school at Roosevelt. Her interests include reading, listening to music, and playing volleyball. Zulema grew up in South Central and attends school in Boyle Heights.



Film Screening Guide


1. What do you think Period Poverty is?
2. Who does Period Poverty affect and how does it affect them?
3. Why is period poverty so detrimental to people’s health and well-being?



  • What can you do to help alleviate this issue?
  • What did you learn from this film?
  • Why is period poverty so detrimental to people’s health and well-being?
  • What do you plan on doing with this information? Will you use it to educate others or/and advocate for menstrual equity?



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