Over at The Guardian, Chelsea Summers takes issue with the omission of the infamous "tampon scene" from the film adaptation of Fifty Shades of Grey.
[The scene] inflamed imaginations when the book came out, but Hollywood chose not to film the scene; the director, Sam Taylor-Thompson, said, "It was never even discussed".
But do a quick Google search for "50 Shades tampon scene", and you'll get almost 20,000 results – a number that suggests that even if the film's makers didn't want to discuss it, lots of other people do.
Hollywood doesn't like to mix its blood and its love – it likes to reserve blood for horror and, while horror movies will show sex, they inevitably end with someone bloody and dead (usually the woman). James' response to the scene's omission – that "first and foremost a romantic love story" – further elucidates the supposed incompatibility between love and blood: Hollywood decrees that you have your love over here, and your blood over there, and never the twain shall mix.
Summers makes a perfectly reasonable argument: women have periods, some women like to have sex while menstruating, so it showing it on screen shouldn't be taboo. And obviously Summers is right, thinking of menstruation as either taboo or a horror-show does little more than reaffirm old stereotypes surrounding menstruation (i.e. "the curse").
But the whole essay did leave me wondering if depicting "period sex" on screen would really provide "reassurance that...bodies in their natural states are as sexy to others as they feel to themselves." Hollywood sex scenes aren't exactly known for their verisimilitude, especially when it comes to the representation of female pleasure, particularly pleasure that's often messy and mundane.
Photo via Shutterstock/Lukas Majercik.