Smrithi

The beauty of sports is that it accepts people the way they are. Even though gender discrimination is often reported as in the case of Caster Semenya or the issue of wearing underclothes during Wimbledon heat, we cannot understate the fact that engaging in a sporting activity can be an empowering experience for many women. India has produced some powerful women athletes like PT Usha, Karnam Malleswari, Anju Bobby George in the past and the legacy is still on.

Stories of women athletes

Previously, the struggles of a woman before entering the field were barely discussed out in the open. We are now living in an information age where everything can be talked about. In a recent Instagram chat, three of India’s superwoman athletes, world badminton champion PV Sindhu, cricketers Jemimah Rodrigues and Smriti Mandhana carried out an engaging discussion on what is normally considered a ‘taboo topic’ – periods.

Starting the conversation, Smriti acknowledged that women too feel hesitant on talking about it. “This is something which a lot of people don’t talk about. Even in our team, there are a lot of people who struggle with it and those who are normal with it. There are many myths surrounding the periods. There is a saying that women shouldn’t play in periods and there will be pain,” Smriti told Sindhu.

Sindhu shed light on how she used to manage periods while taking part in major tournaments. “A lot of women keep asking me how I deal with it. For me, sometimes it is a yes (About the pain). But you mentally need to be fit and strong. You can take the pain, go out and play. There are some physical things you can do. There were times when I could not play because of the cycle. But it is also a mental thing. Sometimes, I tell myself I can take this. Moreover, it’s not like the olden days where women used to sit in a corner. In this century, women are mentally fit and strong,” Sindhu responded to Mandhana.

When celebrities engage in such conversations, it highlights the need to normalize such topics. We must acknowledge the extra pain our superwomen are putting and salute their struggles.

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