Now by this point I am well aware that periods have taken up a fair amount of Pretty Normal Me's chat recently but I don't even care because they're natural and normal and the way I see it, by having this conversation, I am making up for lost time.
So. Please imagine my delight when I saw the news from Rio that one of the Chinese Olympic Swimmers had talked about her period on the huge international world wide television phenomenon.
Fu Yuahnhui sadly missed out on a medal in the 4x100m relay on Sunday and, when the rest of her relay team were ready to be interviewed and she was found bending over a board in pain, she was asked if she was okay, to which se replied with the most fabulously honest answer:
"I didn't swim well enough this time... It's because my period came yesterday, so i felt particularly tired- but this isn't a reason, I still didn't swim well enough."
(Just FYI Fu, that sounds like a legitimate enough reason to me, you're an olympic swimmer/superstar, you don't need to give 'reasons' anyway, you are a fucking hero.)
People then took to social media (as they so often do) to congratulate and applaud Fu for breaking the mould and being so refreshingly honest. On sina Weibo, one user TAO said:
"I really admire Fu Yuanhui, for swimming while she was on her period - women can be affected during their periods, especially with period pain.... she felt guilty for coming fourth, but Fu Yuanhui, we're still very proud of you?"
On Twitter the sentiment was echoed:
"Fu Yuanhui is my spirit animal."
"Amazing to see such frank openness from a young athlete, Fu Yuanhui will continue to win fans..."
"Fu Yuanhui is too awesome."
"Olympian Fu Yuanhui's candid comment about her period is wonderfully relatable"
"Another taboo being confronted by a brave sister..."
And these were just the ones that I found in the last 4 minutes. They were streaming in.
Now apparently, according to one internet survey, only 2% of women in China use tampons which, if true, makes Fu even more remarkable, not only for competing so well in the swimming in the first place (a. who said 4th was bad? and b. swimming is literally a periods worst nightmare!) but actually just for opening up this conversation.
Perhaps because the sporting world is still fairly men-heavy, there hasn't been an awful lot into a connection between menstruation and the affect that it has on sport performance (I'd say it's fairly notable BTW, I'm hard pushed making it out the front door when I have my period) but in an interview with the BBC Sports Scientist Georgie Bruinvels says that more than half the women that she surveyed thought that their menstrual cycle affected their performance. Not least of all because it can cause an iron deficiency which could impact the time you can exercise and the maximum amount of oxygen that an athlete can use.
I don't know. I'm going to go ahead and say that it definitely affects it, from my medical high horse. But either way, how cool is it that Fu just came out with that? No drama, no awkward gestures towards her vaginal-regions, just the p-bomb, beautifully detonated.
I'm so sorry for you Fu that you don't feel that you did well enough, but I just wanted to take a quick minute to say that you did. I know it wasn't the Gold that you were hoping for, but you made it to the FUCKING OLYMPICS and almost more importantly, you woke society up to a really important issue, so thank you for that.
Thank you for your honesty and no bullshit. Now go and get yourself a hot water bottle and put your feet up like the rest of us do when we've got PMT.