(I'm already sorry about the title. Such a good song, though.)
I'm male. Therefore I find the female menstrual cycle fundamentally terrifying. If I had to experience it firsthand I would probably end up in the fetal position, crying in a manner not unlike that of a little bitch. I have no doubt at all that I am neither mentally or physically capable of enduring such a thing every few weeks. This, combined with childbirth, is all of the evidence that needs to be presented about which gender is constitutionally stronger.
Am I exaggerating the travails of the period? I have no idea, obviously, since I can only observe it happening to other people. But I have seen more than enough women doubled over with painful cramps and the like to assume that, yeah, it seems pretty bad. The only thing that doesn't freak me out about it, oddly enough, is blood. Some people can scarcely handle the sight of blood without fainting. Despite my lengthy list of physical and psychological weaknesses, I am not one of these.
That said, if I sat down on a bus next to someone who was bleeding through their clothes I would get up and move. You would too. No offense to blood; this goes for any bodily excretion. It is, if we're being honest with ourselves, the kind of thing you would notice. It would stand out as abnormal. So it wasn't much of a surprise that a great deal of attention was directed at a woman who ran the London Marathon while…well, openly experiencing her period.
My question is, so what? The odds of a marathoner putting anyone at risk of coming in contact with their blood are vanishingly small. It's not a contact sport. I think most runners (and most women) would agree that bleeding through one's clothes is not exactly the preferred way to handle the situation, if someone chose to do it to make a statement it's not exactly a big deal. Marathon runners crap and piss themselves so regularly that it's practically a badge of honor; the other competitors probably wouldn't even have noticed this in comparison.
When the Marathon Diarrhea Guy was all over the internet my exact quote was, "I applaud his commitment to his sport but for christ's sake maybe take 45 seconds to hose down and change shorts." I said that and meant it because seeing someone covered in shit is gross. He chose to do it, though, and it didn't affect me in any way other than that it looked gross. Nobody suggested that running post-Chocolate Thunder is the ideal way to race. Similarly, nobody is now suggesting that Blood Streaks are the hot new long distance running accessory. The exact point is that while it might not be the best idea for people to wear blood- or poop-soaked clothing, if they do and they're not wiping it on strangers it's really not the end of the world. Everyone lived. Just like when everyone lined up and slobbered on Curt Schilling's knob for playing in the World Series with blood on his uniform. It's not like he didn't have the opportunity to change that sock. If it's OK when the statement is, "Grr look at how tough I am" then it's OK now. On the list of social problems this ranks well below elevator farting. That's not a victimless crime.