It’s gaokao season! China’s country wide, three day college entrance exam always brings plenty of craziness, both from the super stressed students and their parents and teachers. Previous years have seen mass rallies, convictions for ringing the bell early, and, tragically, pressure-induced suicides.
According to Netease, female students in Maanshan, Anhui province, have been advised by a teacher to take birth control to delay their periods and avoid any potential negative effects menstrual pain would have on their gaokao score.
It turns out that the potential of getting one’s period during the gaokao is a serious concern for many students, as Education News China explains:
After doing some counting, one student named Li discovered that this year, her period would be starting during the days of the gaokao. “I get serious cramps and and other issues every time I have my period, and I am worried that over ten years of study might be ruined by my period.” For this reason, Li has found a women’s hospital, and would like to delay her period by taking medicine. “Although the doctor recommends that I do not do this, and instead that I would be fine just using some painkillers, I’m still quite worried.”
Some girls still plan to change the date of their period although it does not fall during the gaokao. Another student named Jing said that although her period is not during those particular days, she wants to avoid being nervous by having it sooner or delaying it. “I’ve never been very good at dealing with stress, so to avoid any surprise situations, I’d still like to make some preparations.”
“That day, our teacher wanted us to go buy birth control.” A student named Jie explained that in the past few days, the lead teacher had gathered all the girls in the class together and talked to them about the issue of periods during the test. Since the lead teacher is a younger male teacher, he wasn’t too clear either. He just said, “Go to the pharmacy and buy some medicine called Levonorgestrel (毓婷), then take it for a few days before the test.”
Jie said that she had not heard of this kind of medicine before, but that after school she went to the pharmacy with several other female classmates. When she loudly said, “I want to buy Levonogestrel”, the salesperson was astonished, responding, “That’s birth control medicine!”
The girls blushed immediately. “So awkward!”
While its a bit sad that these girls are so stressed out about an exam that they’re self-medicating away natural bodily functions, anything that leads to more people becoming familiar with birth control in this woefully under-sex-educated country is a good thing. (This news also gives girls an ideal excuse for buying birth control if they have prudish, anti-sex parents: “but I need it for my exam!”)
Image based on picture by Jim Cooke