Just this week I learned about an American women’s soccer team ditching their white sports clothes for black gear. The rationale: many menstruating athletes are concerned and stressed about period staining. Non-white uniforms increase player confidence and comfort on the field and off. The Orlando Pride club isn’t the only sports team taking this on. Tennis is now allowing dark undershorts as well.
It makes sense to me. While white sports clothes look nifty, they get pretty ratty looking after a hard game with mud, grass, and sweat. Add blood to the mix and it’s a hefty laundry job to get everything looking pristine again.
There is also significant shame attached to periods and menstruation. Consider how period products are marketed. How many oceans of blue water have been poured over products to demonstrate absorbency?
A few years ago in 2017, Bodyform shocked people globally when it used red dye to show period blood and then Kotex did it again in 2020 when it also ditched the blue water used to show absorbency.
When I was in school, it was not unusual to see students get notes to excuse them from gym while having their period. Heaven forbid if you needed to get protection from the principal’s office because you ran out of tampons, or worse, flooded and then everyone would know.
There were still shock waves reverberating years after when broadcaster Gordon Sinclair asked Canadian Olympic swimmer Elaine Tanner in 1969 if menstruation was an issue for her training. It simply wasn’t done to talk about such things.
Luckily today, we are not only talking about it, we are also looking at what we can do to change policy and practice. Many countries are eliminating taxes on period products. Lots of places like bars and offices are offering period products for their guests and staff. Schools are providing period products for free to reduce absenteeism and better school performance. Even my own home province introduced such a program in fall 2021.
If you don’t have to worry about having enough period products to keep you covered, and you can wear clothes you don’t have to worry about staining and revealing your period status, I’d say your comfort and confidence quotients would likely go up more than a few points to give you the power to perform successfully at whatever sports you desired.
MarthaFitat55 is happy she no longer has to think about menstruation on or off the field.