Professional mathematician Kiran Gandhi is a fun-loving young woman from New York. When she sets her mind to something: she goes at it full keel. The young, able-bodied American trained a whole year for her next big endeavor: the London Marathon. A 26-mile undertaking demanding a hefty supply of preparation and hard training.
But, the evening before the marathon Kiran is upset. She is excited but nervous. When she lays down to sleep, she notices that she was on her period! The young woman is desperate. She can’t imagine running mile after mile with a tampon between her legs. So she resolves to do something courageous.
Kiran feels lucky and privileged to have access to female hygiene products. But, in this extreme situation, she refuses to put more emphasis on the squeamish feelings of others than her own wellbeing. She has invested an entire year of hard work and sweat to take part in this marathon. She refuses to jeopardy all this out of shame of her own bodily functions.
Despite heavy abdominal pains and cramps, Kiran is steadfast determined to run the race. She takes a OTC painkiller for the cramps and speeds off. Without tampon or other protection. She wants to accomplish more than just her own wellbeing. She wants to spread awareness that many women across the globe have no access to comforting and sanitary female products. The lack of which often keeping girls out of school from shame or infections.
But what Kiran also wants to do is make a stand against shame: women should not have to hide themselves because of a natural bodily process. Her idea is: what no one sees is quickly waved off as “not so bad” or repressed as “nonexistent.” She wants to end all the pussyfooting and smothering up by showing what 50% of the Earth’s population deals with every month, often painfully.
But, during the marathon doubts begin to surface. Is she exaggerating too much? Should she just grab a tampon? But then something wonderful happens. Her father and brother greet her at the edge of the course and cheer her on at full volume! They yell her name and take pictures. Kiran tries to pull her shirt down at first but then she notices: both men couldn’t care less about the bloodspot between her legs.
On her blog she writes: “The two most important men in my life were on Team Feminism.” She finishes the long race with her two friends, whose proceeds went to benefit breast cancer treatment. She feels unbelievable afterward. She is overwhelmed by the performance of both her body and spirits. And all hostility and criticism against her decision ricochet off her own determination. But naturally, the extraordinary feat is being discussed across the globe.
Unbelievably brave or completely unnecessary? This woman’s performance is splitting the commentary. Let everyone know that there are still such activists and share this story with everyone you know!