Why Do We Need To Praise Women for Talking About Periods When It's Completely Normal?

Praise Women for Talking About Periods
Ⓒ Provided by 9Honey

By April Glover, 9Honey

Pro-golfer Lydia Ko has been rightfully praised online for her candid approach to speaking about periods.

The Kiwi athlete, who told a sports reporter she was suffering from pain due to "that time of month", triggered a speechless response from the interviewer and a deluge of compliments on Twitter.

But there's something about the male interviewer's reaction and the patronising commendation from other men online that has touched a nerve with me.

"It's that time of the month," Ko told Golf Channel reporter Jerry Foltz, who asked why she needed on-course physiotherapy. "I know the ladies watching are probably like, 'Yeah, I got you.'

"So, when that happens, my back gets really tight and I'm all twisted. It's not the first time that Chris has seen me twisted, but it felt a lot better after he came. So, yeah, there you go."

Ko, aged 25, laughed after Foltz couldn't muster a reply, telling him: "I know you're lost for words, Jerry."

This no-nonsense discussion about period pain and how it directly affects female performance in sports should be the norm, not the exception.

The pain associated with menstruation, including severe back pain and headaches, should be treated like any other injury in professional sport.

If Ko had been talking about a knee or hand injury that had impeded her ability to perform at her peak, I'm almost certain Foltz would have had follow-up questions.

His speechless reaction proves just how little the female experience is considered in male-dominated industries.
Praise Women for Talking About Periods
Ⓒ Provided by 9Honey

If every man bled profusely each month, I'm sure there would be countless documentaries, books and think pieces about how it affects sports performance and its impact on professional athletes.

But because it's a woman's health issue, the topic is considered 'taboo' and it is outrageous to even speak about it in a professional capacity.

Perhaps it is another reason why we need more women in these male-dominated industries.

If it had been a female reporter speaking to Ko about her back pain, the discussion would have been longer and more nuanced.

If a female reporter asked her more questions about her menstrual pain, she would have been given a platform to discuss the impact of periods on professional female athletes.

Then, more female athletes would have felt emboldened and empowered to shake off the 'taboo' shroud around period talk.

Ko, of course, isn't the first female athlete to discuss how menstruation can affect performance.
Praise Women for Talking About Periods
Ⓒ Provided by 9Honey

At the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, Israeli marathon athlete Lonah Chemtai Salpeter said she "doesn't perform 100 per cent" when she is having her period.

"I know myself – when I have my period, I don't perform 100 per cent," Salpeter told The Lily.

In the 2016 Rio Olympics, Chinese swimmer Fui Yuanhui's team came in fourth place at the 4x100m medley relay and she told a reporter: "My period started last night, so I'm feeling pretty weak and really tired".

And in 2015, British tennis star Heather Watson said her poor performance at the Australian Open was due to starting her period.

Ko's attempt at normalisation is a step in the right direction, but let's not forget that laying the praise on thick seems a little counter-intuitive.

It reminds everyone that speaking about menstruation is 'brave' or out of the ordinary. It really shouldn't be; after all, 50 per cent of the population experience it.

It's not just professional athletes, either. A global survey from Modibodi and PUMA found one in two teenagers skip sport because of their periods.

"They found that sport stops because of lack of education and embarrassment, pain or fear of leaks during their period," the survey found.

So, ladies, let's talk!

See more at 9Honey

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