Yesha Callahan

Kiran Gandhi’s Point Is Lost In The Sauce — Make That The Blood

Kiran Gandhi

If you got to the finish line of a marathon race and noticed the crotch of your running tights was soaked in blood you’d probably be mortified. If you were Kiran Gandhi, you’d be pleased. In fact, that’s precisely the result the 26-year-old musician was going for when she decided to run the London Marathon sans tampon a few months back.

Cosmo caught wind of the story on the Harvard Business School grad’s website and decided to reach out to get some much-needed answers to the slew of questions I’m sure we all have about her motives. But try as I might, and no matter how many times I read over her reasoning, I still can’t get with the free-flowing period program.

For five questions, Gandhi recounts, in various ways, what isn’t news to any female over the age of 13: periods suck, and for a number of reasons. While some women have been blessed to have no concept of PMS, Gandhi is one of the millions of women who, each month, experience extremely painful cramps the first couple of days of her cycle and contemplates even getting out of bed — much less running a marathon — in that state. Recounting the fear that she wouldn’t even be able to run when her period arrived the night before her race, as well as the memory of a friend whose chest is now chaffed from wearing a tampon in her bra during a race last year just in case she got her period, Gandhi explains how she came to the decision to forego any method of sanitation at all:

“The actual marathon day, I remember being in pain. It’s that plus the anxiety — butterflies in my stomach before running. I took Midol, which helped. I was trying to be in the moment, and Ana and Meredith (her friends) were so hyped. Those are the things that allowed the pain to subside and for me to just run. And feel fucking empowered to run bleeding on a marathon course. Once I started bleeding, I felt kind of like, Yeah! Fuck you! I felt very empowered by that. I did.”

Asked why bleeding through one’s pants should be looked at any differently from marathoner’s peeing in their running clothes (didn’t know that was a thing), Gandi further explained:

“It’s more about owning your own comfort level and being confident in your own skin to do what you need to do to accomplish something. Really making it about yourself instead of about other people. For me, it was a bit of a metaphor. I was like, Running a marathon is a very, very big stretch for me. I need to do whatever it takes to get myself to the end of that line. We were running for a greater cause, we were running for breast cancer… I just wanted it to not matter. But it does matter in our society, right? If it didn’t, everyone would be bleeding freely all the time, but instead we have to cover it up.”

As for how she’s feeling about the resulting attention on her, Gandhi said:

“Men and women alike, they get it. That is my favorite part about this whole thing, that people are remembering that women have this thing that they have to deal with. For some people, it isn’t a big deal, and for other people, it is. It’s amazing that every month, they clean it up, and every month, they act like they aren’t in pain when they are. That’s a big fucking deal.

“The other thing that’s a big deal is that people around the world who can’t either afford to clean up because society tells you you have to and can’t go out in public and participate in work or go to the pool…it is oppressive to make someone not talk about their own body.”

Had Gandhi led with the very last point she made in her Cosmo article instead of the woe is menstruating me narrative, I could’ve gotten behind her actions. I really could have. No, I couldn’t see myself imitating what she did, but you can’t deny there’s hardly a more vivid way to demonstrate the issue of access to feminine products which many women across the globe face. While Gandhi may not have felt any shame while running because she wore her stains by choice, there are millions of women who don’t have such a choice and that is most definitely a problem. Being expected to not bleed all over your clothes and office chairs and train cars and restaurant booths during that time of the month is not.

Periods are a part of life. In this day and age I don’t know many ladies who do things in spite of their period. They just do them. Honestly, I’m more impressed with the fact that Gandhi ran a marathon, period, not that she did it on her period. I know the struggle. There are greater ones to overcome in this life. There’s also a difference between oppression and expectations of common decency. I don’t agree with the idea that everything natural must always be on display, much like one’s aversion to seeing such acts doesn’t equate shaming. I don’t want so see images of Gandhi in blood-stained pants because I don’t like looking at my own blood every 28 days. And I don’t like looking at my blood every 28 days, not because the Bible said I’m “unclean” or society taught me women in this state are dirty, it’s because period blood is messy, and smelly, and requires far more work than I feel like dealing with just to tinkle. But it’s life. Sometimes I talk about it, like when I come in the office looking like death asking for Tylenol and someone offers me Ginger Ale because they don’t realize it’s not that kind of stomach ache. Other times I don’t bring it up because (1) my “condition” is not unique and (2) I am obviously one of the last of a dying breed that believes some things still belong in a category labeled TMI.

While I think what Gandhi did was absolutely bold and courageous, her true purpose, let alone the success of her plan, are lost in the sauce — or the blood in this case. To be honest, she could’ve gotten further with me by sharing a sob story on a GoFundMe campaign to raise money for women with limited access to sanitary napkins and the like. Now I’m just looking at her like an attention-starved woman who wants a pat on her back for doing something women across the world do on a monthly basis, not to mention one who’s also ignorant to the other means of blood absorption besides potentially chaffing tampons.  Try again girl; next time without all the period pomp and circumstance.

Photo Credits: Kiran Gandhi

  1. August 10, 2015 - Reply

    I wouldn’t even stand next to that nasty chick.

    • August 10, 2015 - Reply

      @Vintage

      Girl, me neither! This is just nasty. I know having periods is a normal function, but like the author of this piece said, everything natural need not be put on display, and having a period is one of them.

      • August 10, 2015 - Reply

        @noirluv45

        Exactly noirluv! I admire good writing like this article that delicately states :”There’s also a difference between oppression and expectations of common decency.” All i know how to say is ewww go to the ladies room and take care of your business.

        • August 10, 2015 - Reply

          @Vintage

          Is it a cultural thing?

          • August 10, 2015 - Reply

            @Mary Burrell

            Good question.

          • August 10, 2015 - Reply

            @Mary Burrell

            I dunno Mary, I think there are women who modify feminism to suit their needs. Remember Clutch posted that XO Jane article a while back about that big chested girl who claimed she could not find a proper fitting bra, so she stopped wearing them and she looked slovenly and was proud of it? There are days I wish i could get away without a bra, i won’t even take the garbage out or walk my dogs bra-less.

            • August 10, 2015 - Reply

              @Vintage

              LoL

          • August 10, 2015 - Reply

            @Mary Burrell

            You know, Sis Mary, I read 2 years ago that in rural parts of Nepal and India, women don’t use sanitary napkins and just let it run, run,run. Of course, they are segregated and ostracized for that period by society (read, men). It’s being changed now by local activists that are trying to change the mindset of even older females so that they teach the younger ones.

            • August 10, 2015 - Reply

              @AfroCapricornette

              Wow! I cannot fathom.

              • August 11, 2015 - Reply

                @Noirluv45

                There is even a menstration museum somewhere I read about, talks about how women all over the world deal with monthly period.

            • August 11, 2015 - Reply

              @AfroCapricornette

              In the Old Testament they did that to women

            • August 11, 2015 - Reply

              @AfroCapricornette

              Activists for women is good

            • August 11, 2015 - Reply

              @AfroCapricornette

              I remember my great grandmother told me she had to make her own pads back in the day. She used a cloth material and sew the edge of the material together. Once used, she washed them, hang them to let them air dry in the sun and used it again if she needed to. Women always find a way.

        • August 10, 2015 - Reply

          @Vintage

          Vintage, can I get an AMEN on that one! Read my comment above because that’s precisely what a coworker of mine did when she started her period on, of all things — a crowded bus!

    • August 10, 2015 - Reply

      @Vintage

      I know right. Disgusting.

  2. August 10, 2015 - Reply

    I don’t know if she has any reactions to BC via pill. I would have taken the next cycle of pills to skip my period.

    That said, I can understand why she didn’t want to waste [at least] a year’s training. Marathons’ are used to qualify for Boston.

  3. August 10, 2015 - Reply

    it’s one thing to not realize it was coming & decide to finish the race after it starts flowing as a sign of not letting it run your life & not stigmatizing a natural part of life, but it’s a-whole-nother thing to KNOW your period is due & CHOOSE not to wear any protection. & i’m not saying this b/c periods are “horrible” & should be hidden from all of humanity (i’m all for getting rid of the stigma). i’m saying this b/c i’ve had to throw out too many good pants/skirts over stubborn blood stains & it’s cheaper to waste a tampon/maxi for a few hrs & not need it, than to need it & have to buy new workout clothes. i think the message does get “lost in the sauce” in this instance.

  4. August 10, 2015 - Reply

    “Being expected to not bleed all over your clothes and office chairs and train cars and restaurant booths during that time of the month is not.”

    been there, done that, in all three places. for someone who doesn’t like folks knowing what i’m thinking or how i feel unless i specifically choose to tell them, standing up & seeing your business on the streets is a mortifying experience. but that’s just me & my standoffish nature.

    • August 10, 2015 - Reply

      @Me

      Girl, been there, done that too, but not in all three places…thank God. I never felt the need to display my monthly business either.

      • August 10, 2015 - Reply

        @Noirluv45

        Me too and it was embarrassing.

        • August 10, 2015 - Reply

          @Mary Burrell

          Isn’t it though?!?! I remember years ago a woman I worked with told me she was standing on a crowded bus and lo and behold, she started her period and it began running down her leg and dripping onto the floor of the bus! To make matters worse, people started laughing. She said she got off at the next stop and went into a restroom. Can you imagine that, Mary?

          • August 10, 2015 - Reply

            @Noirluv45

            That is horrible, I would feel so bad for any woman in that situation. Even if I saw a guy having a body fluid accident I would be mortified for him.

            • August 10, 2015 - Reply

              @Vintage

              Isn’t that horrible? I’d feel bad for anyone who experienced such a mishap as well.

          • August 10, 2015 - Reply

            @Noirluv45

            Sadly, yes I can.

          • August 10, 2015 - Reply

            @Noirluv45

            That’s horrible

            • August 10, 2015 - Reply

              @Mary Burrell

              Isn’t it though! I felt so bad for her.

          • August 10, 2015 - Reply

            @Noirluv45

            It’s why I have an app for that Lol. I literally plan events and clothing round it and have extra supplies in my office drawer and in my huuuuge tote gag, just in case.

            • August 10, 2015 - Reply

              @AfroCapricornette

              That’s a great idea. I’ve downloaded apps for that as well, but I didn’t like them. What app do you use, Afro?

              • August 10, 2015 - Reply

                @Noirluv45

                Period tracker. Just have to be consistent in logging start and end datesvto get an approx start date. Works well for me. No second guessing or using memorable holidays or mini calendars to remember lol

                • August 10, 2015 - Reply

                  @AfroCapricornette

                  Thank you for that, Afro. I’m going to try it. 🙂

            • August 10, 2015 - Reply

              @AfroCapricornette

              LOL. you really are my twin. i keep a ready bag at my desk with everything but the kitchen sink. i got pads, tampons, back up panties, wipes, baby powder, stain remover, pain pills, and extra perfume/scented lotion in a to go bag. & i put a coded task reminder in my outlook calendar that goes off every 28 days so i know when i’m within 3 days of it coming. it only takes one time to convince me to be extremely prepared.

            • August 11, 2015 - Reply

              @AfroCapricornette

              A sister has to be prepared

    • August 10, 2015 - Reply

      @Me

      Lols did that last year on the E train. Bled through thick grey trousers, winter tights and winter coat only to stand after sitting for 1 hour, look back and almost throw myself onto the opposite track! Mortifying doesn’t even cover it. Was late for work as had to get off on Canal St with their ridiculous sized tiny clothing and buy a ‘large’ pair of black stretch pants that chocked my blood supply. Ah…good times. Now, I just stay home the first day lol.

      • August 10, 2015 - Reply

        @AfroCapricornette

        omg! you must be my twin b/c the same thing happened to me on the same train last yr. & the train was FULL. but i was on the way out of nyc & had to get off at port authority, which has the **nerve** to put its bathroom on the 2nd or 3rd floor, so i had to walk across that humongous station full of strangers going UP escalators w/folks behind me in plain sight of the seat of my pants & then wait in line for a stall. i wished for a sniper to take me out the whole way. the kicker was my ex having the gall to ask me how come i didn’t know it was coming. he better be glad he didn’t say that with any sharp objects nearby. i still have those overpriced panties & those stupid size 13 juniors pants that i had to get from one of those the teeny bopper stores that are too tight in the thighs but twice my size in the waste b/c apparently teenagers are built like boxes. memories. times like that make me wish my future kids would get here already so i can start looking forward to menopause.

        • August 10, 2015 - Reply

          @Me

          LOL @ a sniper. Yes it only takes one time for this and you never forget. Happened to me for the first time just a few months ago, when I stood up from my friggin upholstered office chair and had that omg moment and wanted to cry. A small spot but still. And these damn fancy shmancy chairs cost $400 each, plus I couldn’t just switch it for someone else to sit on-yuk. I “accidentally” spilled wite out all over it and told facilities sorry but it had to be thrown away and i needed another one. And from what I hear about menopause, it makes your period UNRELIABLE so you have no idea when it’s coming. damn

          • August 11, 2015 - Reply

            @vintage3000

            Yes, peri-menopause does make periods very unstable. Trust me, I’ll go months without then, then the curse shows up again. I guess a woman has to go at least one year without a period before she’s menopausal.

            • August 11, 2015 - Reply

              @Noirluv45

              that’s good to know

        • August 10, 2015 - Reply

          @Me

          Ouch! Poor thing. I feel ya all the way. I was traumatised for the week and didnt wear those pants after being laundered, for a year! At least you had a filthy bathroom to change in. I had to do it in the back of that Canal St store with child size adult clothing. Wasted $20 on tight jeans that were labelled large! Ah, as you say, everything but the kitchen sink atvwork lol. Still can’t believe i bled through thick material, tights and a medium length winter coat onto the blue seat of the E under bright lights, morning rush and un full glare of tourists and others. Smh…the things females go through.

          • August 11, 2015 - Reply

            @AfroCapricornette

            Yes, Lord! We got through a lot. *sigh*

        • August 11, 2015 - Reply

          @Me

          I feel your pain, Me. SMH.

      • August 11, 2015 - Reply

        @AfroCapricornette

        Can’t tell you how many dresses and under pants and people’s cars and furniture were ruined. It was a nightmare

        • August 11, 2015 - Reply

          @Mary Burrell

          the funniest “mishap” i had was at a comedy show. it was embarrassing, but the comedian made a really funny joke, so i had to battle b/t no sudden movements so that the clump wouldn’t fall out before i got to the bathroom for some toilet paper & not laughing too hard so that it wouldn’t straight up gush out. well… that comedian hit one more punchline & it was a wrap. i was w/friends so they all did the jr. h.s. “group walk” behind me so no one would see, but i’m pretty sure the bar owner had to toss that seat in the dumpster.

    • August 10, 2015 - Reply

      @Me

      I bet you if she had fibroids with a super heavy flow she wouldn’t do that. Before I had mine removed, I used to piss blood. No one wants to go through that or for people to know.

      • August 10, 2015 - Reply

        @Mahogany

        My mom has it. Never really understood her agony till she explained how she felt and it was graphic! She would bleed clots! Never could go out for fear of accidents, unreliable periods and would literally change every 30mins. Better for her now cos of peri menopause.

        • August 11, 2015 - Reply

          @AfroCapricornette

          I’m going through peri-menopause and the periods keep showing up, dang it! LOL.

          • August 11, 2015 - Reply

            @Noirluv45

            Out on date in a pretty white eyelets dress and it happens and dudes seat in his car get messed up. And he is in a rage, saying it looks like a murder scene. That’s when I learned how some men can be insensitive jerks.

            • August 11, 2015 - Reply

              @Mary Burrell

              Whoa! *covering mouth in horror* How absolutely insensitive and rude. I can’t imagine how that made you feel.

              • August 11, 2015 - Reply

                @Noirluv45

                It was embarrassing and his insensitivity hurt and angered me

        • August 11, 2015 - Reply

          @AfroCapricornette

          Those fibroids are not to be messed with. The surgery I had changed my life.

          • August 11, 2015 - Reply

            @Mahogany

            No m’am Miss Pam. Fibroids are nasty business

        • August 11, 2015 - Reply

          @AfroCapricornette

          It can ruin your life if you don’t get it fixed.

          • August 11, 2015 - Reply

            @Mary Burrell

            I know that’s right!

      • August 11, 2015 - Reply

        @Mahogany

        Yes, those dang fibroids cause major gushers!

      • August 11, 2015 - Reply

        @Mahogany

        Yep

  5. August 10, 2015 - Reply

    Ok this is kind of gross.

    • August 10, 2015 - Reply

      @Mary Burrell

      That’s what I thought when I saw the picture. She’s standing there proudly displaying…yuck.

      • August 10, 2015 - Reply

        @Noirluv45

        This brand of feminism, I don’t get. We might as well let diarrhoea run down our legs cos we all shit, right? Lol…Smh for some women. I know how I feel on mine, change every hour and shower when I get home. Sorry but ugh…

        • August 10, 2015 - Reply

          @AfroCapricornette

          I don’t get it either, Afro. LOL. Yeah, while we’re at it, we might as well allow diarrhea, pee, and every other bodily fluid run freely. The more I think about it, the more disgusted I get.

          I know how I feel on mine, change every hour and shower when I get home…” <– every day!

          • August 11, 2015 - Reply

            @Noirluv45

            I think this is a very extreme way to show you are proud of your gender.

            • August 11, 2015 - Reply

              @Mary Burrell

              Yes, Mary. Very extreme.

        • August 11, 2015 - Reply

          @AfroCapricornette

          LoL@diarrhea.

  6. August 10, 2015 - Reply

    The fact that she is sweaty, exhausted, bleeding with blood stained shorts is making me want to take a shower again. I agree with the author, I get her intentions but I am sure she could have gotten her point across better and more effectively.

  7. August 10, 2015 - Reply

    This woman is NASTY! Period! Pun intended! I care nothing about the point she tried to make. I’m disgusted!

  8. August 10, 2015 - Reply

    OK. Every morning I have a poop and I have to wipe my butt a few times and I find the whole process unpleasant. So, tomorrow I plan on pooping in my pants and walk around all day stinking and leaving a trail behind me just to remind every one that I poop every day. Now tell me this woman is not nuts.

  9. August 10, 2015 - Reply

    Bloody and sweaty down south? I bet she was pretty RIPE!! I bet every kitty cat in the neighborhood was following her home.

  10. August 10, 2015 - Reply

    This article ‘literally’ left a bad taste in my mouth!

  11. August 10, 2015 - Reply

    I don’t get this chick’s philosophy at all. It’s stupid. She’s a dumb ass and I know she smells in that picture. My friends who are runners are on BIRTH CONTROL so they can regulate their periods. They skip the sugar pills and continue taking pills when they know they have a race. Better yet, some of them are on Mirena which significantly decreases the flow or stops your period, period. I decide that I’m not trying to get pregnant, Don’t do cramps and OB Tampons are higher than giraffe pussy, so I decided after using several birth control methods to use MIRENA. Best decision I ever made cause for several years no period and with the second one I got I barely have one at all. Some of these commenters need to see a Doctor cause it sounds like they have issues that need to be solved by surgery which some of my friends did get. to solve excessive bleeding.

    • August 11, 2015 - Reply

      @Mariscia Thompson

      For me, it’s fibroids.

      • August 11, 2015 - Reply

        @Noirluv45

        Get it taken care of queen

        • August 11, 2015 - Reply

          @Mary Burrell

          You’re right, Mary. I should do something about it. Actually, in 2001, I went in for surgery, but I told them if they were too numerous and a hysterectomy was needed, I wanted to opt out, and that’s exactly what happened. In hindsight, I wish I had gone ahead with it. Two years ago, I consulted a doctor about surgery and she suggested robotic surgery, and I said NO. Way too many complications from that. Now, I’m looking into other options.

          • August 11, 2015 - Reply

            @Noirluv45

            Noirluv45, try to see if you can go to another doctor that specializes in fibroid. My sister had them removed and she feels so much better and lighter. There was a time where she had difficulty tying her shoe laces due to the pressure on her uterus.

          • August 12, 2015 - Reply

            @Noirluv45

            Actually, look up UAE. Uterine artery embolisation. It cauterizes the vessels that supply blood to the fibroids and is much better than myomectomy or a hysterectomy which is major. With a UAE, you’re out in <1hr. Believe me, I researched this when my mom had it bad 10 yrs ago. She was advised to wait for menopause, if she wanted to, and for the past 3/4 years, it's eased for her, thank God.

            • August 12, 2015 - Reply

              @AfroCapricornette

              Thank you for this information, Afro. At one time, I considered having the UAE, but I was scared. I know, it’s crazy, but it seemed like it would be painful. Girl, I’m so scared of needles, and if I’m not mistaken, they said something about having to numb the area, and my mind shut down. LOL. How was your experience? The UAE does seem a better choice than major surgery. I also heard something about using hot water balloons to melt them or something like that. My sister’s friend’s girlfriend had that kind of procedure done at Duke. I think I’m right at the precipice of menopause so I’m hoping it will take care of these annoying fibroids.

              • August 12, 2015 - Reply

                @Noirluv45

                This was research for my mom. Thankfully i don’t suffer from it. I guess the numbing shot is as quick as a vaccination lol…you barely feel it and it’s gone. The after effects are much better than a myomectomy or hysterectomy as most women return to work next day if they want. My mom opted to wait till menopause and the pains have completely gone in the past 4 yrs. Thank God.

                • August 13, 2015 - Reply

                  @AfroCapricornette

                  Oh, I see. Girl, thankfully you don’t have to deal with these bugga bears. As far as the numbing injection, if I can tolerate an IV, I can surely tolerate a little sting. LOL. Myomectomies and hysterectomies are definitely major compared to this procedure. I like the fact that you aren’t down for weeks at a time. Hmmm, I might just think about this. Yeah, thank God that it worked out for your mom.

                  Again, thanks for bringing this up. I might just do something about this because it is hell!

    • August 11, 2015 - Reply

      @Mariscia Thompson

      I got mine fixed

  12. August 11, 2015 - Reply

    I’m not impressed. As a matter of fact, ew girl.

  13. August 13, 2015 - Reply

    Nahh

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