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by PMS Comfort
Female athletes at the Olympics are used to talking about their health and wellness ad nauseum. In interviews, they detail their workout routines and expound upon their diets. They discuss minor illnesses, sore muscles, and post-event fatigue. But one subject most athletes – and the interviewers questioning them – avoid is the topic of menstruation, which many women still feel is taboo.
There’s one Olympian, however, who sees no issue with discussing her body’s natural processes and the impact her period has on her athletic performance. In a candid interview immediately following her fourth-place finish in the 4x100-meter medley relay, Chinese swimmer Fu Yuanhui talked openly about her menstrual cramps and period-related fatigue. When Fu’s interviewer noticed the swimmer grimacing and clutching her abdomen after the race, Fu explained that the pain she felt was due to menstruation.
"Actually, I started my period last night," Fu said. "So I’m feeling pretty weak and really tired. But this isn’t an excuse. At the end of the day, I just didn’t swim very well."
A casual viewer might miss the significance of Fu’s matter-of-fact disclosure. But menstruation is one taboo that most female athletes – and indeed, many other women – continue to avoid talking about.
Almost immediately, Fu’s comments received widespread attention on social media. Although some of the messages were sexist or uninformed, most praised her for talking so candidly about a topic that is still inexplicably considered distasteful by some.
When the topic of menstruation is taboo, it has profound and negative effects on women everywhere. By avoiding the topic, societies send the message that periods are shameful, leading women to dislike or even fear their bodies’ natural processes. It also means that women don’t receive important information about their bodies, including what is normal and what is not. Without this necessary information, women who suffer treatable but painful conditions such as PMS or PMDD do not receive the help they need.
Fortunately, Fu is one of many women who, consciously or not, are challenging the myth that women and men should not discuss the very natural occurrence of menstruation. Online campaigns to reduce stigma have gained traction, while activists have started powerful discussions about the importance of speaking openly about women’s periods. Even marketers for feminine hygiene products are jumping on board, creating ads and videos that mock the euphemistic language and images of the tampon ads of yore.
More and more, women are being encouraged to embrace their monthly cycles and better understand them, rather than ignoring their bodies’ signals. By openly discussing female health and bodily functions, girls and women will feel more empowered to embrace what is normal and make changes to address what is abnormal. Fu and many other prominent female athletes are challenging us to be more open when discussing our bodies – for the sake of all women.
by Dr. Daniel J. Heller
In Part 1, we introduced the Myers–Briggs Personality Indicator® and the first pair of characteristics, Introversion and Extroversion. Here we explore the second pair, Intuition and Sensation. Remember that everyone has, to varying degrees, both of the characteristics described in each of the pairs of attributes. The descriptions here are of extremes that rarely apply to real individuals, but rather indicate tendencies we all can recognize in ourselves and in others.
The second pair: INtuition versus Sensation
The second letter designation in MBTI is N, which stands for iNtuition, or S, which stands for Sensation. This can be one of the more difficult distinctions to understand, but there is a relatively simple way to understand it.
Sensors gather information from the world around them on the basis of their five senses. Thus, the S type is generally one who is very grounded in the real world, and who basically thinks things are more or less (or exactly) as they appear, sound, feel, smell, taste. S types are eminently practical. Their tendency is not to spend a great deal of time pondering hypotheticals or wondering about the deeper meaning of things. Why would they? To a sensor type, things are what they seem, and they may well believe it is a waste of time to dwell in introspection or pondering “what ifs.” An S type is more likely to regard these activities as “contemplating your navel.”
It is something of a mystery why Carl Jung called this other quality iNtuition, because the word’s other meanings confuse this subject. A simple yet accurate way to think of an iNtuitive’s take on the world is that they don’t think things are necessarily as they seem. It’s not that they don’t gather information through their senses, but that they are more likely to look for underlying or “invisible” meaning than to rely solely on their eyes, ears, fingertips, and so on. It’s possible that Jung chose the word intuition to point to the fact that when Ns look beyond their senses for additional information about the world, they are most likely to look to their own thoughts and feelings.
This may sound as though Ns are deeper thinkers and more profound people than S’s, but this is not the case. These are just different ways of processing information, and relating to the world. What it does mean is that an N’s view of the world is likely to be more idiosyncratic, iconoclastic—in other words, unique, because to an N things are not necessarily as they seem. An S’s worldview, on the other hand, is grounded in perceptions that are much more likely to be shared (at least within the same culture). The catchphrase “think outside the box” could have been invented by an N, and thinking outside the box is much more of an N than an S quality.
Sensors are a much more common type than iNtuitives, and conflict can arise from an S’s impatience with, and lack of understanding an N’s mode of information gathering and processing. Sometimes it boils down to S’s thinking that Ns are impractical, which they might be. In fact, as a society we need the gifts and qualities of both types, and in any individual it is fortunate when there is a nice balance of the two tendencies—because, simply put, sometimes things are as they seem, and sometimes they are not.
Visit the website of the Myers–Briggs Foundation »
Of the many excellent books and articles that explore MBTI to varying degree, What Type Am I? Discover Who You Really Are does a great job of simplifying the Myers-Briggs tool, making it easy to understand and apply to your own life »