Why Kiran Gandhi Ran a Marathon While Free-Bleeding: ‘Women’s Bodies Don’t Exist for Public Consumption’

Photo: Shiho Fukada/Bloomberg Finance LP/Getty Images

In April, Harvard grad and drummer for M.I.A. Kiran Gandhi ran the London Marathon while menstruating. Before the race, she decided to skip the discomfort of running with a tampon in and let her period blood run down her legs. In a new follow-up interview with People, Gandhi gives more context about what drove her to go with the flow:

“You see, culture is happy to speak about and objectify the parts of the body that can be sexually consumed by others. But the moment we talk about something that is not for the enjoyment of others, like a period, everyone becomes deeply uncomfortable.”

For reasons that are unclear outside of “this is the internet,” Gandhi’s story began recirculating again this month. Now that it has, she’s been inundated with comments and criticism saying her actions were “disgusting” and “unladylike,” but Gandhi isn’t standing down. In the People interview, she says, “If we don’t own the narrative of our own bodies, somebody else will use it against us,” adding that “women’s bodies don’t exist for public consumption.” In other words, she was there to run a race, not to fit someone else’s expectations of what she should look like while running said race. What’s next, unshaved legs?

She Ran a Marathon Without a Tampon — and Lived