Musician and Harvard graduate, Kiran Gandi, who ran the London marathon without a sanitary pad – tampon – to raise awareness for women who don’t have access to sanitary products has sparked an online debate.
According to Daily Mail, the 26 year old woman let her period flow freely as she ran around the route in the UK capital in April this year – and whilst some Twitter users have spoken out in support of her, others have been quick to criticise her actions.
The night before she was set to run her very first marathon, Kiran got her period. After a year of training, she refused to miss the momentous moment because of biology. She had two choices: She could either run the 26.2 miles with a tampon, or she could bleed freely.
Guess what? She chose the latter.
Kiran, who ran with her two best friends to raise £3,800 ($6,000) for Breast Cancer Care, wrote: ‘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.
‘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.’
Photos-credit: Daily Mail
She told Cosmopolitan that she thinks the social constructs around periods are based on misogyny.
“I have this vision that if men had their period, because we are in a male-privileging society, that rules would be written into the workplace, rules would be written into the social fabric that enable men to take a moment when they need to or enable people to talk about their periods openly,” she said.
Two of the most important men in Gandhi’s life — her brother and father — were on the sidelines the day she ran the marathon. She was unsure how they would react to her statement, but when she reached them at the nine-mile mark, they only cared about hugging her and taking photos.
“When push comes to shove, all this cleaning that we do, all this shame that women feel, it doesn’t matter,” she told Cosmo. “They were my family, that’s their blood too. On a spiritual level, that’s amazing. That connects men and women in a very amazing way. Instead of men getting grossed out by it or women being grossed out by their own bodies, we should move away from that.”
Gandhi said she wanted to use the marathon to send a message to the world.
“If there’s one way to transcend oppression, it’s to run a marathon in whatever way you want,” she wrote on her personal website. “Where the stigma of a woman’s period is irrelevant, and we can re-write the rules as we choose.”