Fu Yuanhui: Making 'Period Talk' as Casual as It Already Should Be
Women know that periods have no sympathy, even for some of the bigger events in life like performances, weddings, job interviews, and the ever-so timely Olympic games.
Women also know that this stuff just happens, and it doesn't have to be a big deal. Especially when it comes to talking about it.
So just as menstruation proved to the notably expressive Chinese swimmer, Fu Yuanhui, that it didn't care about it's untimely arrival at her competition, she showed that neither did she.
Amid the 4x100-meter medley relay post-interviews with the Chinese women's swim team, Yuanhui could be seen squatting beside them. She had won the bronze in the relay, commenting on her race by saying, "I got my period yesterday, so it's a bit tiring. But that's not an excuse either, I still didn't swim well today."
She spoke on the subject as freely as someone talking about a leg cramp would.
With that, came an uproar across social media — featuring a mainly positive response to her caviler way of bringing it up. But some, like Radhika Sanghani from Telegraph, said that this is too much of a response to an inevitable phenomenon that has been happening since the beginning of time.
"The more we react as a society to periods, the more they continue to be seen as newsworthy. When we look shocked that an athlete has discussed her 'monthlies', we're just perpetuating the idea that periods are still taboo and not suitable public discussion."
So, to Sanghani, periods should be talked about as freely as any other setback in Olympic sports. After all, it's nothing new. And it's not the first time that female athletes have been spotlit for their periods either.
Tennis player Heather Watson told reporters at the Australian Open last year that she experienced dizziness and nausea due to 'girl things." And then there is the much less shy activist and drummer, Kiran Gandhi, who ran the London Marathon without a tampon. Her statement was about the inconvenience of changing it or worrying about it in general. Therefore, she just let it flow.
"I wanted to run in a way that was most comfortable" said Gandhi, "As women, historically, we have always had to prioritize the comfort of others at the expense of ourselves."
"We do not have a comfortable vocabulary to speak about it — education is missing and myths fill the gap," Gandhi continued.
Co-Founder of Miki Agrawal of THINX, the period-proof underwear company, believes this too. She made a short documentary last year featuring interviews with celebrities like Sophia Bush on how talking about periods freely is what really changes things.
"We need to break the taboo together and change the conversation around the most natural, normal time of month," Agrawal said.
So Olympic swimmer, Fu Yuanhui, seems to feel similarly as she let hers flow through casual dialogue — humbly paving the path to make periods as natural and normal as they have always been.
Photo Credit: Getty Images