That’s a No From Me: Menstrual Stigma in Carrie

Elizabeth Tripp

@MensesInPopCulture

Tweeting live from the intersection of pop culture and menstruation

____

About to watch the OG #Carrie. AKA the first major menstruation representation on the screen. *Sigh* I do not want to watch #Carrie. Horror films are a NO from me. #TheThingsWeDoForGradSchool  8:01 PM · Oct 12, 2020 · Twitter for iPhone

This opening scene in the girls’ locker room has very strong #MaleGaze energy. Yay for female intimacy! Boo for unnecessary close ups of female nudity!  8:04 PM · Oct 12, 2020 · Twitter for iPhone

Um, okay is Carrie using the SAME bar of soap for both her BODY and FACE? That is a NO from me. As she showers we suddenly see a RUSH of blood. Carrie Freaking Out. Screaming For Help.  8:06 PM · Oct 12, 2020 · Twitter for iPhone

The other girls are so mean :( Especially this girl with curly hair! Omg, they start THROWING TAMPONS at Carrie, who is still Freaking Out. Awful. 8:08 PM · Oct 12, 2020 · Twitter for iPhone

They are chanting “plug it up!” !?!?! And laughing !?!?! Poor Little Carrie. She clearly has no idea what menstruation is. Ugh. Young girls DESERVE menstrual health knowledge. Ignorance only FUELS the patriarchy. What a TRAUMATIC experience for Poor Little Carrie.  8:10 PM · Oct 12, 2020 · Twitter for iPhone

  Um okay FINALLY the teacher notices this commotion? I guess curly-hair-girl is named Sue. Shame on you, Sue. Teacher is trying to Calm Carrie Down. Good. Teacher slaps Carrie. Not good. Carrie Not Calmed Down at all. Carrie gets menstrual blood on Teacher’s shorts. 8:13 PM · Oct 12, 2020 · Twitter for iPhone 

Suddenly the LIGHT above them goes OUT. Woah. No one really understands how that happened. Dun dun dun…  8:16 PM · Oct 12, 2020 · Twitter for iPhone

Now Teacher is talking with Principal. Obviously Principal is an old white dude. But he does say the word PERIOD so I guess we can call him a Cool Principal. No, nevermind. He sees the menstrual blood on Teacher’s shorts and is grossed out. Not A Cool Principal After All. #MensesIsNormal #MensesIsAnIndicatorofHealth 8:19 PM · Oct 12, 2020 · Twitter for iPhone

Carrie is a little old to be getting her first period. She is 16. (She is no longer Freaking Out but rather Noticeably Upset.) Other menarche experiences on the screen are centered on young girls. Like 11, 12 young. She is very skinny. But there’s no discussion on why she started late.  8:22 PM · Oct 12, 2020 · Twitter for iPhone

Teacher is not surprised that Carrie doesn’t know what It is. Mama Carrie is apparently a religious fanatic? That is a NO from me. I do not like where this is headed. Um, wait Teacher is annoyed with Carrie? “It was just her period for God’s sake.” Um she clearly thought she was dying? Rude.  8:24 PM · Oct 12, 2020 · Twitter for iPhone

Okay now Principal wants to send Carrie home to rest. Uh huh. But first she should go to the infirmary and “lie down for a while.” Uh huh. Teacher dismisses her from gym for a week. Uh huh. A little menstrual leave. There are many #pros and #cons to this narrative. 8:26PM · Oct 12, 2020 · Twitter for iPhone

Wait Carrie hasn’t actually said anything in awhile? They don’t ask what SHE wants to do. Ope! Principal’s ashtray FALLS to the ground and breaks! The light break was no fluke. Girl is TELEKINETIC! #ThankYouMenses 8:27PM · Oct 12, 2020 · Twitter for iPhone

Ok now meet Religious Fanatic Mama. She discovers Carrie has started her period: “You’re a woman now.” Sigh. This is so #expected and #cliche. I’ve seen this in every other menarche storyline in pop culture. Not all women menstruate, and not all menstruators are women. #PagingJKRowling 8:31 PM · Oct 12, 2020 · Twitter for iPhone Wait this is getting really intense. Mama reads out of a book, Sins of Women, and equates menstruating with sin. That’s a NO from me. Carrie says she thought she was dying :( Mama is NOT helpful and actually very abusive. In other menarche storylines, there is a belief that Mothers Know Best. But clearly this one Does Not Know Best.  8:35 PM · Oct 12, 2020 · Twitter for iPhone

Mama Carrie actually BLAMES her daughter for her menstrual status. Believes that if Carrie “remained sinless” then “the curse of blood would have never come on.” Mama is full on SHAMING and ABUSING her daughter over a perfectly natural bodily function. 8:40 PM · Oct 12, 2020 · Twitter for iPhone

Back at school, Teacher stands up to Sue and Mean Girl #2, Chris. <3 Thank You, Teacher! But No More Slapping.  8:42 PM · Oct 12, 2020 · Twitter for iPhone

Umm not good, NOT good! Sue gets her boyfriend Tommy, the cutest, most popular boy in school, to ask Carrie to the prom? Carrie not-immediately-but-eventually says yes? NOT good. Definitely #notgood.  8:50 PM · Oct 12, 2020 · Twitter for iPhone

Yeah, of course Mama Carrie doesn’t want her going to the prom with Tommy! Mama needs to work through internalized misogyny. She continues to ride the Shame Train. But Carrie is OVER it. I Am Menarchael And Telekinetic, Hear Me Roar.  9:00 PM · Oct 12, 2020 · Twitter for iPhone

Mama Roars Back as Carrie gets ready for the prom. “I can see your dirty pillows.” “They’re called breasts, mama, and every woman has them.” Ah, Carrie considers herself a woman! All it took was a #TraumatizingMenarcheExperience. Breast development is also referenced in other menarche representations on the screen, apparently another marker of womanhood.  9:05 PM · Oct 12, 2020 · Twitter for iPhone

Carrie seems happy at prom :’) Which only means one thing. She is doomed. 9:10 PM · Oct 12, 2020 · Twitter for iPhone

Mean Girl #2 has been working on a so-called prank. Carrie doesn’t realize as she is busy having the Time of Her Life with Tommy. But Can Tommy Be Trusted? He is being kinda sweet? They are getting along? Carrie comes out of her shell. Aww.  9:15 PM · Oct 12, 2020 · Twitter for iPhone

They kiss! Her very first kiss! (Have to say that I #CalledIt because first kisses are common occurrences in other menarche storylines.) But Can Tommy Be Trusted??? #WeWillSoonFindOut  9:17 PM · Oct 12, 2020 · Twitter for iPhone

Carrie and Tommy are voted Prom King and Queen! The race was fixed, but this goes unnoticed. #HappyCarrie #HappyCarrieWearingaCrownOnstageInFrontofEveryone. She is TOO happy. Dun dun dun…  9:20 PM · Oct 12, 2020 · Twitter for iPhone

:( Carrie is doused with pig blood. The “prank” is on. THIS IS SO CRUEL. Poor little Carrie.  9:22 PM · Oct 12, 2020 · Twitter for iPhone

She is mortified. Then enraged. But wait it looks like Tommy Can Be Trusted? He didn’t know about the prank! 9:23 PM · Oct 12, 2020 · Twitter for iPhone

Ope. The bucket that dumped pig blood on Carrie hits Tommy on the head. Tommy is – dead? Poor little Carrie doesn’t seem to notice? She proceeds to set the school on FIRE!! She is killing… everyone! Even Teacher! And eventually, mama! #ThankYouMenses 9:28 PM · Oct 12, 2020 · Twitter for iPhone

The house is like destroying itself. It’s sinking? It’s going to hell. And Carrie goes with it. (This does not happen in other menarche representations.) #TellYourKidsAboutMenses 9:33 PM · Oct 12, 2020 · Twitter for iPhone

Elizabeth Tripp is a pop culture aficionado and a menstrual-activist-in-training. She is currently pursuing a master’s degree in Women’s History at Sarah Lawrence College.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.