Period talk is always met with a mix of emotions. And this latest news has really divided opinion.
Kiran Gandhi, a Harvard Business School Graduate and professional drummer, decided to ditch her tampon and run the marathon, letting herself free-flow.
Sounds slightly extreme, but Kiran decided to document the experience on her personal blogging site, in the hope that it would raise some awareness and make a difference for women all around the world. The original post has since been revised, and appears here.
She opened with the statement: “It’s a radical notion realizing that on a marathon course you don’t have to worry about how you look for others.”
Of course, this is a very real worry that we imagine lots of women go through, whether it involves a marathon, or just a routine trip down to the gym. After all, who wants to have their eyebrows running down their faces, or to be constantly checking that your twins are perfectly in place inside that sports bra?
Kiran took it one step further. And decided to do something about it.
She came on her period the night before the marathon, and admitted that this extra stress made the nerves just that much worse: “I had never actually practiced running on my period… I thought through my options. Running 26.2 miles with a wad of cotton material wedged between my legs just seemed so absurd. Plus they say chaffing is a real thing. I honestly didn’t know what to do.”
This got her thinking about our sisters across the globe. “I knew that I was lucky to have access to tampons etc, to be part of a society that at least has a norm around periods. I could definitely choose to participate in this norm at the expense of my own comfort and just deal with it quietly.”
And we all know that norm too well. How often do you talk openly about them? Odd, seeing as us girls have to deal with them for a quarter of each month.
She went on to explain: “I decided to just take some midol, hope I wouldn’t cramp, bleed freely and just run.
“Why not use it as a means to draw light to my sisters who don’t have access to tampons and, despite cramping and pain, hide it away like it doesn’t exist?”
And the run itself inspired her even more along her journey, as she revealed: “As I ran, I thought to myself about how women and men have both been effectively socialized to pretend periods don’t exist.”
Brave. Very brave.
By Laura Jane Turner