It's not just records that are being smashed in Rio Olympics. Chinese swimmer Fu Yuanhui has busted a few taboos as well, by mentioning that she was competing whilst on her period. It shouldn't be so shocking really. Over the two week period of the Games, you'd expect half the female competitors to be on their period. Her comments were not explicit or gratuitous, just a matter of fact comment on how it was affecting her performance: "It's because my period came yesterday, so I felt particularly tired - but this isn't an excuse", said bronze medallist, who has already captured headlines with both her fast swimming times and expressive personality. It's not something that is often discussed in mainstream media, by Olympic athletes or anyone else. Even so, western audiences have been surprised to discover that the period taboo is even greater in China. Just 2% of Chinese women reportedly use tampons, leading many to wonder how she could even go in the pool at that time of the month. Even in the so-called modern nations, periods are proving to be the last taboo. When was the last time you heard a celebrity or prominent woman discussing her cycle publicly? In Japan, women are discouraged from being sushi chefs due to beliefs that menstruation can cause an imbalance in taste. The taboo in China is around the belief that using a tampon affects a woman's virginity, whereas in Bangladesh women are discouraged from preparing food. It's clear that if you don't talk about something, myths spring up unchallenged. At FabLittleBag we have found there is one taboo even more sacred than that around periods and tampons, and that's tampon disposal. It's surprising really, as once a tampon has been used, it has to go somewhere! Magazines that delight in analysing sexual positions and masturbation turn their delicate faces away from the very subject. But at the same time it is a subject that causes a fair degree of angst on a regular basis! New research conducted 343 women with Mumsnet and Anglian Water has shown that:
- 84% of women feel embarrassed disposing of a tampon in someone else's house
- 52% of women have had to sneak a used tampon into their handbag or pocket to dispose oflater
- 1 in 3 women have personally, or know someone who has, had a "nightmare" disposal scenario!