Wimbledon is now underway and Serena Williams is playing singles tennis again for the first time in a year. I’m so nervous for her I might sh-t myself, can’t even imagine what it’s like having to compete at that level with that kind of spotlight. Now imagine all that pressure and on top of that you’re on your period – and you happen to be playing in a tournament that mandates everyone wear white.
That’s the conversation right now about Wimbledon and its all-white dress code. The rule has been in place since the Victorian era when those old pearl-clutchers thought sweat stains were unseemly and decided that if everyone wore white, the sweat would be less visible. The subtext to this, of course, is that aristocrats didn’t have to sweat – and it was the lower class people who laboured so hard that the evidence of their work would show up in the form of perspiration.
But “professional athlete” is now an actual job description and if a pro athlete isn’t sweating, they’re not doing their job. And for female pro athletes, there’s the issue of wearing white and menstruation. More and more women are talking about this now:
Definitely something that affects female athletes! Finally bringing it to everyoneâ€™s attention! Not to mention the mental stress of having to wear all white at Wimbledon and praying not to have your period during those two weeks. https://t.co/PzyHnPlSJk— Monica Puig (@MonicaAce93) May 31, 2022
Heather Watson told the BBC that “I'll probably go on the pill just to skip my period for Wimbledon. That's the thought process and conversations that girls have about it."
So because Wimbledon insists on continuing these traditions, some female tennis players might have to go on the pill to avoid having blood stains on their white tennis clothing? For f-ck’s sake, wouldn’t it just be easier to let them wear black?!
If it were me, because I’ve gotten to the point in my life where I have no f-cks to give about period stains, I’d just play through my leaks, let the whole world see the red patches all over my tennis skirt. Sit with my legs open during the breaks in play in full view of the cameras covering their precious tennis tournament. But obviously that’s not everyone’s comfort level – because there’s so much shame around periods, because women have been made to feel shame about their periods.
Which is why it is encouraging that these younger players are opening up about how their periods affect their play. And the impact that these archaic dress codes have on female players.
So far Wimbledon has not commented on the discussion about periods and the all-white dress code. I would LOVE to listen in though if it’s ever brought up at a board meeting with these uptight British people who can barely express emotion having to discuss the relationship between their tournament dress code and menstruation.
Yours in gossip,