Chinese Swimmer Fu Yuanhui Celebrated For Breaking Period Taboo Chinese swimmer Fu Yuanhui became a fan favorite due to her unvarnished enthusiasm after medaling in the backstroke. Now, her candor about the misery of menstruation has captured the attention of the Chinese audience, for whom women's menstrual periods are an even more taboo subject than in the West.
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Chinese Swimmer Fu Yuanhui Celebrated For Breaking Period Taboo

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Chinese Swimmer Fu Yuanhui Celebrated For Breaking Period Taboo

Chinese Swimmer Fu Yuanhui Celebrated For Breaking Period Taboo

Chinese Swimmer Fu Yuanhui Celebrated For Breaking Period Taboo

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Chinese swimmer Fu Yuanhui became a fan favorite due to her unvarnished enthusiasm after medaling in the backstroke. Now, her candor about the misery of menstruation has captured the attention of the Chinese audience, for whom women's menstrual periods are an even more taboo subject than in the West.

ARI SHAPIRO, HOST:

One Olympian who has become a fan favorite is Chinese swimmer Fu Yuanhui.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

FU YUANHUI: (Foreign language spoken).

SHAPIRO: When she learned she'd won bronze in the 100-meter backstroke, her face lit up. Wow, too fast - I broke the Asian record, she said.

HAN ZHANG: People call her (foreign language spoken), which is like she's a walking emoji set.

SHAPIRO: A walking emoji set - that's Chinese journalist Han Zhang. So people were already paying attention to the swimmer when she said something unusual on Sunday. Her team finished fourth in the four-by-100 medley relay, and grimacing in pain, she explained to an interviewer why she was a bit off.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

FU: (Foreign language spoken).

SHAPIRO: "It's because I just got my period yesterday," Fu said, "so I'm still a bit weak and really tired." China's social network lit up. Talking about menstruation is still taboo in China. The country doesn't even have a domestic tampon maker, though the first is scheduled to open soon. So Fu's remarks broke a barrier, says journalist Han Zhang.

ZHANG: It's really amazing because it did not just touch on being a sports woman but also, like, feminism in games. And there are so many layers to it. But the first reaction is, oh, I can't believe she said that. And of course she did that - just saying a lot of things that popular swimmers were not really saying before her.

SHAPIRO: So Fu may not have won gold on Sunday, but as CNN put it, she won the internet.

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