Kiran Gandhi is known for her drumming skills, touring with artist M.I.A internationally in 2013. But recently she gained notoriety for what most people called a bold act: Running the marathon – bleeding freely.
It just so happened that the day before the London marathon, Kiran got her PERIOD. Like many other women she just had to deal with it.
The marathon was everything. I trained for a year…it was one of the most profound experiences of my life.
Clearly Kiran was ready for this marathon, she had trained so hard for… Deciding to run without a tampon was an act of pure personal comfort for her.
I RAN THE WHOLE MARATHON WITH MY PERIOD BLOOD RUNNING DOWN MY LEGS. I got my flow the night before and it was a total disaster but I didn’t want to clean it up. It would have been way too uncomfortable to worry about a tampon for 26.2 miles.
She didn’t want to have to think about her tampon during the race. And why should she? It is her right to experience her period the way she wants to. A tampon is pratical, but it still has to be changed every couple of hours, thrown out, etc… Sometimes it does get uncomfortable and it’s also been shown in recent studies that it’s not great for womens health (there are other options out there…) So, for who’s comfort should she wear a tampon? Her own or that of others who deem this blood flow: gross, dirty, scary..?
Women in most parts of the world are brought up to feel shame & disgust about bleeding; sometimes left to sit alone in a corner of the house, too unpure to sit with others. It’s not just the developping countries, even though the stigma is more VISIBLE. Many women throughout the world are repulsed by their own period and feel a certain shame in talking about it when they’re in an intimate situation. Millions of women throughout the world are bleeding discretly, in silence (& probably pain) as you read this.
I thought, if there’s one person society won’t fuck with, it’s a marathon runner…On the marathon course, sexism can be beaten. Where the stigma of a woman’s period is irrelevant, and we can re-write the rules as we choose. Where a woman’s comfort supersedes that of the observer. I ran with blood dripping down my legs for sisters who don’t have access to tampons and sisters who, despite cramping and pain, hide it away and pretend like it doesn’t exist. I ran to say, it does exist, and we overcome it every day. The marathon was radical and absurd and bloody in ways I couldn’t have imagined until the day of the race.
Women are expected to live up to high standards of beauty; a sense of perfection that clearly does not exist in the REAL world. NEWS FLASH: All the women in the world have their period! But it’s true, there is a real pressure put on women to be these perfect pleasing machines. Should they derail a little from that role and they’re immediately labelled, often not in nice terms.
Women’s bodies are supposed to be constantly ready for public consomption. When people walk down the street, women get hit on because we’ve decided in society that that’s ok, that’s an ok norm. The second that someone does something that is not necessarily about somebody else’s comfort or about their enjoyment of my body it makes everyone so deeply uncomfortable. It’s so important and radical to unpack that and to understand that.
We’re talking about period here, but it doesn’t start or stop here. Women must be perfectly waxed, perfectly dressed… And some women also believe that their role is to be perfect, beautiful, etc… Women are also responsible for this situation. We are all responsible on some level.
It’s important that whoever we are, whatever our gender or what we believe in, that we speak up for what is important to us as individuals and as a society.
Let it be said:
Female period is something that is completely natural. It’s not something we need to protect children from. It’s not something that hurts someone else’s feelings. It’s something women biologically go through as a species, as a human race. It is something we should honour, enable, allow. We should have language around it that makes people comfortable. (…) That’s oppression, when you can’t speak about something that is natural and pure and of the body and completely ok. You don’t have the tools to speak about it. You don’t have the community to speak about it
How women choose to bleed is their choice. PERIOD!
Find out more on Kiran Gandhi => Here