Angelababy, a Chinese actress who just had a baby a year ago, became a hot topic yet again last week both in China and abroad. But this time it wasn't because of her acting skills, but instead for daring to say: "I was on my period."
In China, where it’s usually considered inappropriate to talk about menstruation in public, her statement quickly become trending news.
The issue came up after last Monday's episode of Chinese variety show Keep Running, on which Angelababy was the only female member. The show features various games for participants, with punishments involving bursts of cold water or being ejected into a swimming pool. But despite making mistakes multiple times, Angelababy was only punished once.
Netizens accused Angelababy of playing the ‘princess,’ and advised her not to participate in the show if she needs special treatment.
At midnight on Monday, the female star responded on her Weibo account, starting with the now-famous sentence: "I was on my period."
“All can I do now is to absorb those negative comments, transform them and release positive energy,” she said.
Angelababy, who sent the post with a selfie featuring a gesture for ‘love,’ also attempted to explain more.
“I was on the first day of my period, I felt uncomfortable,” she wrote. “All the cold and scared feelings are real since I’d no idea which word or movement would trigger the ejection chair and the spraying devices.”
In China, it’s commonly considered unhealthy to drink or touch cold water while on one’s period. Since it was published, Angelababy’s post has sparked 207,472 reposts and 114,350 comments.
But her explanation didn’t satisfy all her followers. Some wrote negative comments directed at her professionalism.
“You could choose a role that doesn’t involve water, or just not participate," one user commented below her post. "If you’re there but treat the game perfunctorily, are you a real, dedicated actress?”
“She should act professionally since she has been paid well,” another user wrote.
However, Angelababy also attracted support for discussing women’s periods publicly.
“[I] got that feeling again – it’s really not easy being a girl,” read one of the more positive comments, which received 104,938 likes, the highest approval of any response.
Angelababy is not the only Chinese celebrity to dare to talk about women’s periods in public. Two years ago Olympic swimmer Fu Yuanhui broke taboo by bringing up her period as a reason for her poor performance in an interview.
The same year, Chinese actress Zhang Junni also announced that she’d rappelled from a bridge and into a lake while on her period for an episode of the reality show Survivor Games with Bear Grylls.