TLDR: Cycles, periods, hormones, menopause, menstruation
This post contains major reboot spoilers. If you haven’t seen this episode yet, go watch it, and then come back to squeal in joy with me.
‘And Just Like That’, the Samantha-less SITC reboot did a fabulous job of featuring both menarche and menopause in its episode called: “No Strings Attached”. For me the entire episode was about, what the New York Times recap writer, calls “head-scratching menstrual drama”.
But why is it head scratching that a show entirely focused on the lives of Womxn would tackle the subjects of menstruation and menopause?
The episode title itself, is a nod to the hilarious “menstrual drama” that unfolds in the episode, which, was written by female writers, and mirrors their own experience with flash periods in menopause.
Let’s unpack it a little bit.
It starts with Lilly anticipating her period on her cycle tracker and that clashing with a very important pool party. That alone, is a great thing to portray: the functional use of a cycle tracker.
The issue is that Lilly doesn’t know how to use a tampon and hilarity ensues. Charlotte gets very positive and coach like in trying to teach Lilly how to insert. True to life, this goes on for quite a while. If you’re a period positive mother of a new menstruator, you know that the teaching on how to use the products available to them usually involves a lot of positive coaching, a couple videos, and some hopeful and frustrated communication from both sides of the bathroom door.
In a possibly cringe worthy moment, Charlotte finally reached her tampon coaching limit when Lily asked her mom to retrieve her tampon. I think most mothers would draw a line here but the realistic nature of this exchange is something that many mothers of first period aged children can relate to. Yeah for shame free dialogue and requests for help between mothers and daughters and yeah for boundaries!
All the while we have the mom-daughter period drama, we also have Charlotte experiencing her own menopause drama. The girls have a nick name for “smug Charlotte” referring to her gliding through the perimenopause years without apparent symptoms and suffering. Charlotte is now operating under the belief that she is in menopause because she hasn’t had a period in 4 months (listen to episode 5 of my podcast for a break down of those terms).
And yet, at the height of Lilly’s needs for her mom’s assistance, Charlotte experiences a flash period which the gals catch and do the old wrap a sweatshirt around it trick. I love SJP’s face below and how Miranda jumps in with a story of camaraderie.
I was so excited to see them tackle these subjects in this episode that I actually geeked out and listened to the episode podcast, during which the female writers explain how the story line of the flash period is a lived experience from one of the writers.
The beauty of this episode was that it normalized period talk and it showed us ourselves as mothers, as women, and as menstruators. And while the episode was in fact about menstruation, it did not include a nod to the oft forgotten cyclical nature of women. This is the very reason 28ish exists. I would be even more excited for the cyclical nature of women to also be highlighted in mainstream media. I would love to see Charlotte explaining to Lilly that her period is one part of her menstrual cycle and the other parts, the ovulation, the luteal phase, and the follicular phase, are equally as important and influential on her mind and body.
In summary, thank you to the ‘And Just Like That’ writers for tackling menstruation and menopause in such a humorous and informative way.
If you are still reading, it’s because you love me and/or you are obsessed with this subject. This post was originally published on Medium. Feel free to read over there and give me some readership support.