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Breaking the stigma, period.

NOTE: The opinions in this article are strictly that of the author, and are not reflective of the Tertangala or the University of Wollongong

Fu Yuanhui, Chinese Olympic swimmer, has been praised widely across social media for her comments after her team placed fourth in the 4x100m medley relay.

“I feel like I didn’t swim very well today and I want to apologize to my teammates for that.” Yuanhui told a reporter after the race.
“Actually my period started last night so I’m feeling pretty weak and really tired.”

Fu Yuanhui has already endeared herself to many for her amusing facial expressions and endearingly candid interviews, but what really spoke to many fans was her breaking the taboo surrounding periods.

Chinese fans have used social media to speak out in appreciation of her frank disclosure, the likes of which we rarely see in the media. Menstrual cycles are still somewhat of a dirty little secret that many feel uncomfortable talking about and hearing about, for no particular reason.

Despite the fact that half the Earth’s population experience periods, the fact a woman mentioning a natural bodily function in the public eye shouldn’t raise an eyelid. People who experience periods often censor themselves from discussing their periods or painful cramps for fear of seeming “gross” or “dirty”. Menstruating people are also often not allowed into schools or temples, condemned as “dirty”. In some areas, those without access to sanitary items often miss out on school which affects their education.

Poor menstrual health (caused by poor education and acceptance surrounding menstruation) also contributes to 70% of reproductive diseases in India.

People get periods. And we need more people in the public eye to help break the silence surrounding menstruation. Not only because it’s unfair, discriminatory and isolating, but for our health—physically, socially and mentally. Thank you, Fu Yuanhui.

Feature image via Instagram. Credit @cnnee.

UPDATE: 22/8/16 – Some language changes were made, opinion disclaimer added