The drummer for musician M.I.A. made a bold move to raise awareness about the stigma toward menstruation. Kiran Gandhi ran an entire marathon without a tampon, shamelessly allowing blood to visibly run down her legs, for the sake of women who don’t have access to feminine hygiene products like tampons.
According to People, Kiran Gandhi wants to encourage women to not be embarrassed about their periods. But running the marathon without a tampon was not part of the original plan. After training for an entire year for the event, Kiran Gandhi was frustrated to learn she had started menstruating the day before the race. She realized that running the entire marathon while using a tampon would be uncomfortable, and that leaving the tampon out would help to make a positive statement.
“I ran the whole marathon with my period blood running down my legs,” Kiran Gandhi wrote on her website. “I thought, if there’s one person society won’t f*** with, it’s a marathon runner. If there’s one way to transcend oppression, it’s to run a marathon in whatever way you want. On the marathon course, sexism can be beaten.”
In fact, Kiran Gandhi ran the marathon for a whole range of reasons, including supporting feminism and raising money to fight breast cancer. But the cause that’s putting Kiran in the headlines is her brave decision not to hide her menstruation because society expects women to feel shame about their periods.
“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.”
Running the marathon without a tampon has been a controversial stunt for Kiran Gandhi in some circles, but many women have taken to the internet to show their support.
In a crazy way this woman is my hero. No need to be ashamed!!! http://t.co/JzaIvq6VcJ
— Annie Oemichen (@TheAnnieO) August 7, 2015
— Chella Quint (@chellaquint) August 7, 2015
What do you think about the marathon without a tampon? Do you support Kiran Gandhi?
For an example of the stigma against tampons, read about the scene that was cut from the Fifty Shades of Grey movie because it would be too shocking for mainstream audiences.
[Images courtesy of Kiran Gandhi]