Freedom Within: The Spirit of Advocacies


Screen grab/True Colors Film Festival

WHEN it comes to the issue of poverty, the impact on the health of women is often overlooked. Women from underprivileged communities all over the world face a problem—accessing resources for proper sanitation during their monthly period. Since hygienic products are costly, some have no choice but to put their sanitary needs aside for the sake of other necessities. This problem poses a grave threat to their health and well-being in the long run. 

This year, the True Colors Film Festival centers its theme on “Perspectives,” where 31 films showcase several narratives that seek to change one’s perception of the world. Its features, short films, and dialogues are available to stream for free on Vimeo until December 12.

Directed by Krystal Foo, Freedom Within tackles the issue of underprivileged women’s lack of access to basic sanitation and hygiene. In just four minutes, the documentary talks about “freedom cups,” a brand of menstrual cup. The cups are created by the Paranjothy sisters from Singapore. Their advocacy of providing a solution for the sanitation problems faced by impoverished women takes them to the Philippines. There they meet Annabelle Lopez, a mother of six. 

Despite its short duration, the film managed to highlight the important points surrounding the issue of women’s health in impoverished communities. The audience is also given a chance to see the extent of this problem through Lopez’s story. However, the film could have presented more perspectives if it added more stories from other women, rather than only featuring one.

While the advocacy to help impoverished women is given emphasis, the film also subtly mentions the overlooked environmental impact of single-use sanitary products. This was through comparing how long menstrual cups would last, unlike sanitary napkins or tampons. Although they could have shown the visual aspects of this issue, it still managed to effectively impart its message—that menstrual cups serve as a sustainable and ecological alternative.

With the prevalence of social issues across the world, Freedom Within gives a sense of hope as it inspires advocacies that can create solutions for them. With the problems the world is facing, there will always be eager people ready to lend a hand to those in need. F

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