It’s one of the most expensive, prestigious leisure centres in the Georgian capital of Tbilisi. There’s a state-of-the-art gym, overlooking a 50-meter indoor pool, and it’s listed on Lonely Planet as a “luxurious and modern” attraction for health and fitness travellers.
Just not for women on their periods.
The Vake Swimming Pool and Fitness Club has a strict no-menstruating-in-the-pool policy.
A fact brought to the forefront of public consciousness when Sophie Tabatadze posted an image of the centre’s noticeboard to Faceboook.
Her caption read:
“Do you even realise how offensive this is?” she asked, tagging the leisure centre. “And, by the way, since according to your rules we are not allowed to use a swimming pool 5-6 days each month, do we get a preferential price compared with men?”
But she wasn't "shaming for shaming sake". Tabatadze had a broader purpose.
“My goal is not to shame them for the sake of shaming,” she told BuzzFeed News. “Overall misogyny is so widespread in this culture that sometimes companies/people make mistakes unconsciously. The real test is how they respond when they are exposed.”
The club's response? Likely not exactly what Tabatadze had hoped for.
“Our statement is not sexist and has a preventive objective,” the club responded.
(Except for the fact it is sexist.)
“We had a case, when the water was contaminated due to which, and we suffered damage. We try to follow norms of hygiene and we ask our members to do the same.”
The norms of hygiene?
Swimming with your period, with the use of a tampon or period cup, is not unhygienic. Women have been doing it for thousands of years.
Women are perfectly capable of "following the norms of hygiene" just like anybody else.
Do you avoid using the 'Period' word? Post continues below video.
A staff member at the centre clarified further, while speaking to BuzzFeed News.
“We have had some incidents about this where, I’m sorry that I have to mention, I have found tampons on the surface of the pool,” a staffer named Natia said. “So it’s for the ladies themselves and for the others who are swimming.”
One problem: A sign asking women to use tampons while swimming on their periods (and keep them in) is very different to a sign banning women from swimming all together while menstruating.
Maybe the club should also follow some widely accepted "norms". Gender equality being one of them.
Finally... I wonder how the club hopes to police this policy?
Mamamia is funding 100 girls in school, every day.
So just by spending time with Mamamia, you’re helping educate girls, which is the best tool to lift them out of poverty.
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