Swimming on period? Chinese celebrity Angelababy sparks online debate

Society & Culture

Yeung Wing 杨颖, a Chinese entertainer better known by her stage name Angelababy, has been receiving some negative feedback online in connection with her appearance in the hit reality TV show Keep Running (奔跑吧 bēnpǎoba, the same show that gave us “Are you coming to the orgy?“) last week.

In the episode, contestants got on chairs in a pool and were summarily dunked into the water for one reason or another. While her co-stars were dumped multiple times, Angelababy suffered the indignity only once, and afterwards explained on social media it was because “It was the first day of my period.”

Critics complained that Angelababy received special treatment and didn’t show enough respect for Keep Running.

“I can do nothing but to absorb those malicious words and transform them into positive energy,” Yeung wrote. “It was the first day of my period while recording the show. I felt uncomfortable. But I never said that I couldn’t be in the water. I wouldn’t have gotten on that chair if I had no intention of participating. I genuinely felt cold and scared, because I had no idea what word or act would trigger that ejector seat and water-spraying device. After the taping, when the other male contestants told me they lost to me on purpose, I felt warm. Okay, I’m done now. I wanna say thank you to my fans, plus a delayed selfie for 520 [May 20: a day in which Chinese confess affection for someone].”

Her response only ignited a bigger wave of criticism (in Chinese), from various angles.

Screen Shot 2018 05 22 at 4.01.15 PM 1“A big paycheck should entail a correspondingly big amount of work.”

Screen Shot 2018 05 22 at 4.10.01 PM 1“There’s so much drama surrounding her… (and I’m ready to get trolled by her fans).”

Screen Shot 2018 05 22 at 4.12.00 PM 1“You could have told the show director about your period. You didn’t have to sit on that chair. That’s also a way to take care of yourself.”

Screen Shot 2018 05 22 at 4.14.52 PM 1“Is there a national law that says women don’t have to work while menstruating? What woman in today’s society doesn’t live just like men?”

Some netizens expressed doubt about Yeung’s excuse.

Screen Shot 2018 05 22 at 3.46.36 PM 1“This seems so flat-out fake! Every time there was a contest on water, you said you were on your period. So coincidental! Your menstruation cycles are so random and chaotic. Can you be more fake? If you don’t want to engage in these games, just don’t join the show. Other female celebrities who really want to be on the show will take your place. I don’t want to see you act innocent and sweet on television while being calculative and manipulative behind the stage.”

Some Weibo users came to Yeung’s defense; the majority of them were women who found her struggles relatable.

Screen Shot 2018 05 22 at 4.26.16 PM 1“I’m not her fan, but this is getting ridiculous. You don’t have the authority to comment on this matter if you haven’t been in water during menstruation.”

Lin Yun 林允, a Chinese actress who rose to fame by starring in Stephen Chow’s The Mermaid, sent this message: “This feels so relatable to me. Why can’t people just show some empathy for women? Why do women come off as so harsh on women?”

3318 hawmaua1505129 1Angelababy is a Chinese celebrity who launched her career as a model in Hong Kong and gained popularity after appearing in a number of movies and TV shows. She married famous actor Huang Xiaoming 黄晓明 in 2015 and gave birth to their first kid last year.

For what it’s worth, experts agree that swimming during menstruation is basically not a problem.

More from the show Keep Running:

‘Are you coming to the orgy?’ Check out the hoodie Michael Chen wore on the Chinese reality show ‘Keep Running’