Periods are normal. Sorry, is this not obvious? Because it would seem as though a phenomena literally 2 billion people experience on a monthly basis would be pretty normal by now. But apparently not, because when these five women dared to raise their voice and show some blood, the internet melted down.
1. Rupi Kaur
When Canadian poet Rupi Kaur posted this photo of her period stained PJs, it was removed—twice—because it violated Instagram’s Terms of Service. Its removal sent the message that images of women’s bodies, so long as they are sexy, are appropriate. But images of women’s bodies doing normal bodily things are not. Kaur in response: “Their misogyny is leaking.” Spot on. After an internet uprising, Instagram restored the photo and changed their policy to allow for images of menstrual blood. Periods: 1. Menstrual taboos: 0.
2. Madame Gandhi
Musician and activist Madame Gandhi ran the 2016 London Marathon while visibly free bleeding. And she did it with a purpose. Gandhi: “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.” Hooah.
3. Steph Góngora
When professional yogi and Instagram star Steph Góngora posted a video of herself doing a series of challenging poses while sporting a period stain, the internet flipped their sh*t. The video was viewed over 660k times and garnered over 9k comments—most supportive, some not. The post is over 2 years old, and comments are still rolling in. Godspeed.
4. Courteney Cox
Okay so technically Courteney Cox didn’t break the internet because the internet was hardly a thing in 1985. But that was the year she dared to utter the word “period” on national television (salacious, we know!), making her the first person to ever do so in the history of the world. While this was undoubtedly an important moment in menstrual history, we can’t help but wonder how advanced menstrual hygiene technology would be today if we started talking openly about periods, I don’t know, before 1985? Maybe tampons wouldn’t be swaddled in bleach, dioxin, and other harmful chemicals. Or maybe there wouldn’t still be cases of Toxic Shock Syndrome each year. (Seriously, why hasn’t someone taken care of that already…)
For elite runner Mary Cain, her lack of period was the disrupter—both in the media and her emotional and physical health. The 17 year old track prodigy was called “the fastest girl in America” until she joined the Nike-affiliated Oregon Project—a track team made up of the fastest athletes in the world. In a damning New York Times video, Cain revealed her coach Alberto Salazar, who told her she was one of the most talented athletes he’d ever seen, also told her that in order to be the best, she had to be thinner. And thinner and thinner. Cain stopped eating, obsessed over the number on the scale, and lost her period—for three years. In that time, her body didn’t produce enough estrogen to support bone health, and she suffered five broken bones. When her athletic performance plummeted and suicidal thoughts crept in, Cain quit the team and started speaking out on the systemic crisis of physical and emotional abuse in women’s sports.
5. Mary Cain
In 2011-2012, I witnessed many instances that confirm @runmarycain and @yoderbegley's accounts. It was the norm. It was part of the culture. It was abhorrent.— Steve Magness (@stevemagness) November 8, 2019
Change doesn't occur unless it comes to light, here are some of those instances (Thread)
Cover photo credit: Rupi Kaur, https://rupikaur.com/