Yesterday, Wednesday 6 July 2022, kicked off the UEFA Women’s EURO 2022 with the England national team beating Austria 1-0 at Old Trafford. During the game, the team wore its all-white home kit made by Nike.
Now, recent reports have revealed that England women are looking into the possibility of wearing different coloured shorts due to concerns about having to wear white while menstruating. Members of the team have given feedback to Nike, the FA’s official kit manufacturer.
Speaking to The Telegraph, Beth Mead—who scored last night’s only goal against Austria—confirmed that the team have held discussions with the sportswear giant. “It’s something we’ve fed back to Nike,” she said. “Hopefully they’re going to change [the colour]. It’s very nice to have an all-white kit but sometimes it’s not practical when it’s the time of the month. We deal with it as best we can. We’ve discussed it as a team and we’ve fed that back to Nike.”
The issue of elite sports women wearing white bottoms has also made headlines recently during Wimbledon 2022, where players have to abide by the All England Club’s infamously strict dress code. British doubles player Alicia Barnett, who beat Venus Williams and Jamie Murray in the second round, opened up about the stress of having to wear white while being on her period and suggested it was time to change.
“I do think some traditions could be changed,” she said. “I, for one, am a massive advocate for women’s rights and I think having this discussion is just amazing, that people are now talking about it.” When questioned on what the potential colour change should be, Mead continued, “I’m pretty easy, I’m pretty laid back to be fair. As long as I’m playing for my country, I don’t mind what I wear.”
Wearing white for the annual prestigious tennis tournament has been a tradition since the early days of the sport, dating to the late Victorian Era in the 1870s. And over the centuries, the all-white rule has only become more strict.
In football, England midfielder Georgia Stanway said switching to another colour is not as easy as it sounds. “It’s difficult because we associate England with white,” explained Stanway. “The home kit is unbelievable, it looks really nice. I think that’s something that we can speak about as a full squad, as a group of girls.”
She continued, “I think next year there is potentially a colour change going in. I think it’s hard because once you’re on the grass, nothing else matters. I think we have a good doctor who likes to look after us. As soon as the adrenaline comes in, you could be naked and nobody cares. That’s what happens when you’re on the pitch, you forget about everything.”
There’s a new TikTok trend on the block that we felt the need to address—isn’t there always one? Women on TikTok are pranking their boyfriends by sending them into supermarkets looking for fake period products. The trend was started by one half of the famous TikTok couple @aaronxpia after Pia posted a video where she asked her boyfriend Aaron to pick up ‘super jumbo tampons with wings’.
Needless to say, the tampons don’t actually exist. In the video, Aaron returns to their car and tells his girlfriend: “They literally had no idea what I was talking about. They had to call two more people over to see what I was talking about. I looked like an idiot.” Instead, he bought her a Starbucks frappuccino to make up for it. Here’s why this lighthearted trend does more than highlight men’s ignorance when it comes to period products.
Inspired by the original video, TikTok user @aileenchristineee, who’s mostly known on the app for her boyfriend’s wholesome reactions to whatever she asks him to do, decided to try the same with him. In her video, she asks @devenchris—her boyfriend—to buy an item called ‘squeaky clean-a vageena’ for her.
When Rasie returns to their car (empty-handed of course), he tells Christine he’s never trusting her again. “Squeaky clean-a vageena? I knew that wasn’t a thing!” he says as Christine laughs. Rasie then explains that he even asked the salesperson for the fake brand name. “What does it do?” she responded, to which Rasie replied: “I’m like, ‘Well I assume it keeps your vageen-a clean-a!’ And she started laughing. Then she was like, ‘Does your girlfriend have TikTok by any chance?’”
From there, the trend really took off. Another woman, one half of @meetthethorpes, also pranked her boyfriend by sending him to buy ‘magic fwem fwem fresh 2000’. “They looked at me like I was a crackhead,” he complains in the video. “The cashier was like, ‘What? Yo, Tanisha, come and listen to what this idiot is saying’. First of all, I’m not an idiot. Then Tanisha was like, ‘Have we got any more fwem fwem fresh’, and everyone started to laugh.”
TikTok user @kyleandjade_ shared a video where Jade asked her boyfriend Kyle to buy ‘oochie cooch 3000’. “She looked at me like I was stupid,” Kyle tells her when he returns to the car, “then said, ‘Hold up, let me check’. Grabbed the freaking microphone and asked, ‘Guys, does anybody know if we sell the oochie cooch 3000?’ Why did everybody bust out laughing?”
In a way, those videos offer some lighthearted relief at the expense of men—which always feels good. But this trend also highlights the ignorance of men when it comes to period products and probably the female body in general.
In July 2020, a similar trend started on TikTok after users decided to film their partners and male friends while they were debating how menstrual pads work. As a woman, even if you might prefer a tampon or a menstrual cup or some other method, you didn’t have to think twice when using a pad for the first time, right? Well, as the viral trend showed, men found menstrual pads to be an extremely confusing product.
@ariannaromanoo posted a video of a conversation she had with her boyfriend about pads and his reaction after she revealed how they actually work. “How do you pee with the pad on? You can’t. You have to take it off first, obviously. Do you just pee in the pad and let it sit in your vagina?” he asks her.
“What is the pad attached to?” Romano asks him. “Your coochie,” he answers, and she then explains that no, that is not the case. The pad is stuck to underwear, not any part of the body. “Wait a second. Oh, it’s not actually on your vagina?” he says. “So does it just absorb the blood or not?”
And I could go on, I’ve also seen videos of men unboxing menstrual cups and reading their instructions only to be shocked at the fact that women insert it in their vagina. Don’t get me wrong, the three trends mentioned above are funny for sure. But they also highlight how men are strongly lacking knowledge about the female body and periods.
The fact that menstrual squeamishness still exists as a source of comedy clearly shows that cultural stigmas around bleeding are far from gone. Hopefully, with these three trends being disseminated through TikTok, we can only hope that gen Zers (and any other millennial or gen X men who see them on their For You page) will now understand the female body and menstruation just a little bit better.
There is still a long way to go toward education around women’s bleeding, and who knows, maybe TikTok could be the platform we’ve always been waiting for?