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Angelababy and The Taboo of Periods in China

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May 29 2018, Published 2:24 p.m. ET

Last Friday, May 18, Chinese actress Angelababy expressed discomfort due to her period while on a Chinese variety show, Keep Running.

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Chinese actress Angelababy

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In the show, the contestants sit on podiums and are doused in water depending on certain trigger words or actions that they are unaware of. Angelababy. whose real name is Yeung Wing, was only doused once while the other two contestants were doused repeatedly.

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Angelababy (Middle) on Keep Running

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She was criticized for getting special treatment and being a princess.

One user on, the Hong Kong version of, Cosmo wrote “Keep Running is not for you, go home and be a princess!”

On Sunday, Angelababy responded to her followers:

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“What I can do is to absorb those ugly words, and transform them into positive energy. While filming that day, I was having my period. It wasn’t my first time entering the water on my period, but this time it was the first day of my period and it was a little harder.

But I’ve never said that I can’t go into the water. If I couldn’t live up to it I wouldn’t have sat on that chair. Being cold and scared – those were all real, because I didn’t know what words or actions would trigger the chair and water.”

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“What I can do is to absorb those ugly words, and transform them into positive energy. While filming that day, I was having my period. It wasn’t my first time entering the water on my period, but this time it was the first day of my period and it was a little harder.

But I’ve never said that I can’t go into the water. If I couldn’t live up to it I wouldn’t have sat on that chair. Being cold and scared – those were all real, because I didn’t know what words or actions would trigger the chair and water.”

After this statement, she was also accused of lying. A user wrote “How do we even know that it’s true she was on her period? Is she so easy to believe?”  Another asked: “Then why participate in this show and go in the water?”

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A very bold statement to suggest that someone should put their life on hold due their period.

But statements like this are common.

In 2016 Olympic swimmer, Fu Yuanhui, expressed poor performance due to weakness because of her period saying, “I feel I didn’t swim well today. I let my teammates down,” she was asked if she had a stomachache and she responded, “Because my period came yesterday, I’m feeling a bit weak, but this is not an excuse.”

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Olympic swimmer Fu Yuanhui

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For many Chinese people, it was the first time they realized it was even possible for women to swim while on their periods. .

Confused people of both sexes also took to Weibo. the popular Chinese social media site, to ask: ‘Why there was no blood in the swimming pool?'”

This is due to the fact that tampons aren’t widely used in China and they later learned that tampons are the reason for why there was no blood in the water.

According to Quartz Media:

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“Like many other Asian countries, China places a high value on virginity, with many Chinese women still undergoing “hymen restoration” surgeries. Because of a belief that using tampons could break your hymen, tampons—which are used by 70% of US women—are never mentioned in sex education in China.”

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“Like many other Asian countries, China places a high value on virginity, with many Chinese women still undergoing “hymen restoration” surgeries. Because of a belief that using tampons could break your hymen, tampons—which are used by 70% of US women—are never mentioned in sex education in China.”

We commend women like Fu Yuanhui and Angelababy for opening up a discourse that is still widely avoided in many cultures. Having your period is a normal process of a woman’s body. If sex education leaves out important topics of discussion, that discussion will not end there, it will continue elsewhere.

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