Moviemaker Alan Ball has defended his decision to show a bloody tampon in his new film TOWELHEAD, insisting it was important to detail his teenage lead character's first period on camera.
The American Beauty director has come under fire for the controversial scene but he insists he was right to show it.
He says, "I felt the bloody tampon was important because that's a moment that every young girl has and that's a moment that as a culture we want to keep hidden.
"We can make movies like There's Something About Mary, using semen as hair gel, and it's a huge hit - but to show a bloody tampon is considered shocking. I think that says a lot about our culture's attitude towards women and towards female sexuality.
"I felt like, 'What's the big deal?' I mean, we all have mothers and we're all are here because of the way that female sexuality works. The story is about a young girl's difficulties in navigating this terrain on her own.
"It's a horrible experience when you have your first period and your father, who doesn't even want to be reminded that you are a sexual person, takes you to the grocery store and tells you, 'You can't wear tampons because they're only for married ladies.'
"These are the horrible messages about being ashamed of her body and ashamed of being a woman so I felt it was important to have the bloody tampon scene."