Move over aubergine, there’s a new emoji about to drop on keyboards this spring: the period emoji.
At long last Unicode – the bods-that-be who make the decisions about emojis – have confirmed the period emoji has been given the go-ahead.
The blood droplet is the result of a campaign led by girls’ rights group Plan International UK, which hoped the new symbol would help tackle period stigma.
It follows calls from more than 55,000 people for the introduction of a period emoji.
The organisation campaigned for its inclusion following in-depth research highlighting a clear need to have more open discussions about periods.
We are thrilled to announce that we are actually getting a #PeriodEmoji!
— PlanInternational UK (@PlanUK) February 6, 2019
— GiveBlood 🅰️🅱️🆎🅾️ (@GiveBloodNHS) February 5, 2019
A survey found that almost half (47%) of women aged 18-34 believed that a period emoji would make it easier to discuss the topic with friends and partners.
And news of the period emoji has gone down very well with the Internet with people taking to social media in their droves to express their feelings about the new e-sticker.
Awesome!!!! #BloodNormal 🙂 the reactions to this show exactly why we need stuff like this tbh. Because of the shame surrounding period talk, I didn’t tell my doc for years that mine were irregular. Finally did at 16, got diagnosed with PCOS at 18. This is what not talking does
— jade|atl are angels. (@xotbirdox) February 7, 2019
Yes!! For decades women have been made to feel that having your periods is something that you must hide or be ashamed of. Not anymore! Our biology shall no longer be stigmatised!
— Aqsa S (@bullet_tears) February 7, 2019
To all who think periods are gross and try to make us feel shame and embarrassed… it’s natural, painful, and can be ugly at times. But it’s also just as beautiful. This is wonderful news!!! #PeriodEmoji pic.twitter.com/f2PspHj4na
— Felicia NicHole (@alwaysbyfelicia) February 6, 2019
So exciting that after a campaign by @PlanUK we’ll be getting a #periodemoji! This sends a clear message that periods are natural and normal and shouldn’t be taboo! #girlsrights https://t.co/vjcBgQcN05
— HannahGurney (@HannahGurney) February 6, 2019
But news of the droplet emoji hasn’t been a hit with everyone.
girls still have to pay for sanitary products (tampons, pads) but oh yeah there’s a period emoji so we’re thriving ladies
— eleanor bond (@eleanorrrs) February 6, 2019
I’m all for emojis I love a good emoji – but please, do we really need a ‘period’ emoji? In what context would it be used? ‘hey boss, can’t come in today (period emoji) # sorry’ maybe because I’m much more open about a natural female occurrence it doesn’t make sense to me.
— Sarah Baker (@princesssb72) February 6, 2019
Commenting on the new emoji Lucy Russell, head of girls’ rights and youth at Plan International UK, says:
“The inclusion of an emoji which can express what 800 million women around the world are experiencing every month is a huge step towards normalising periods and smashing the stigma which surrounds them.”
“For years we’ve obsessively silenced and euphemised periods. As experts in girls’ rights, we know that this has a negative impact on girls; girls feel embarrassed to talk about their periods, they’re missing out, and they can suffer health implications as a consequence.”
While Lucy acknowledges that the introduction of the emoji is not going to eradicate the stigma entirely, it could certainly help to switch up the conversation.
“An emoji isn’t going to solve this, but it can help change the conversation. Ending the shame around periods begins with talking about it.”
While spearheaded by Plan International UK, the campaign to include the emoji was also backed by NHS Blood and Transplant, so effectively the new emoji could have a dual purpose.
Sure there might still be a way to go until all we see the shame surrounding periods abate entirely, but this little symbol could well be a click in the right direction to normalising menstruation.
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