‘Another Period’ and the History of Women Who Were “Asking For It”

Originally published with Paste on August 11, 2016.

Ah, women’s bodies. It’s nobody’s fault but our own that they draw cat calls, criticism and condescension on a near daily basis. Why just yesterday I felt uncomfortable walking down the street because a man shouted what he’d like to do to me. But it was all my fault! I shouldn’t have been wearing that dress or I shouldn’t have left my apartment or I shouldn’t have existed in the first place.

The subject of women’s position in society—namely their dual purpose for male pleasure and reproduction—has come up time and again throughout Another Period’s second season. But increasingly the larger topic of women’s rights has given way to the specific topic of women’s bodies, and how patriarchal systems (especially at the turn of the 20th century, but, let’s face it, still today, to a large extent) seek to control what isn’t theirs to control.

Although I didn’t get a chance to focus on it in my piece on the episode “Harvard,” Lillian (Natasha Leggero) learns about a newfangled product available on the sexual black market: the condom. “I can have sex for pleasure without spawning a child, like I’m some kind of man?” she exclaims, and at the mere thought brings herself to orgasm. But it doesn’t turn out to be quite so easy. Regular stores won’t sell Lillian a condom because she’s not a man, and she ends up having to go to a back alley clinic called “Abortion Deb’s.” Two can play the game, but really only one bears the consequences, which is why Lillian has eight children.

[Full article available at Paste.]

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