Mensuration may be a monthly affair for billions of women worldwide, but conversations on the subject are taboo and avoided. In a move that’s expected to make talking about menstruation easier—especially for tech-savvy, Internet users—Unicode is finally rolling out an emoji for periods.
Coding consortium Unicode, which distributes emoji across mobile devices, said it will include the period emoji — a drop of blood — in March, and will be one of 230 new emojis that will be released in 2019.
However, the inclusion of this emoji didn’t come easy. A campaign led by Plan International UK can be credited with this emoji. Across the world, the stigma surrounding periods is a serious problem, especially among teenage girls. Not talking about mensuration freely has a huge impact on young girls, making many feel ashamed of their bodies, and also result in various hygiene issues that are often unaddressed.
We are thrilled to announce that we are actually getting a #PeriodEmoji!
Find out more here ▶https://t.co/dKd4WwEShX pic.twitter.com/CdyG5fapAx
— PlanInternational UK (@PlanUK) February 6, 2019
With the help of this emoji, the organisation says it hopes to break the silence around the subject and fight the shame attached to stains.
“The inclusion of an emoji … is a huge step towards normalizing periods and smashing the stigma which surrounds them,” said Lucy Russell, head of Plan International UK told Reuters.
“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,” she added.
The news about the “bloody” inclusion spread cheer among women on social media. Many were very excited about the new emoji, but some pointed out that it could be misinterpreted and other symbols—like pads or tampons—would have been better. Some said that the free supply of sanitary products would have helped much more than an emoji.
— Logan Levkoff, Ph.D. (@LoganLevkoff) February 6, 2019
Can’t wait for this new emoji 👩🏽💻 https://t.co/L8r0qOx4Ik
— Nizza (@therealnizza) February 7, 2019
A #PeriodEmoji was definitely necessary I just cant believe it took this long
— Evan Burns (@EvanBur90587828) February 7, 2019
Just reading up about the #PeriodEmoji sounds great. Also have a nosebleed rn so [periodemoji] works for that too
— Kate ♥ (@Kateee_love) February 7, 2019
— APRIL. (@x0AprilMoore) February 7, 2019
— Jeññie (@JennieOhMy) February 7, 2019
— Becky Frankham (@BeckyFrankham) February 6, 2019
That period red drop emoji needs to be a red wave 🌊 for some of us. #periodemoji
— Shanine (@braintree_) February 6, 2019
Real talk: wouldn’t a tampon emoji make more sense? I wouldn’t know it was that time of the month just by looking at a drop of blood. I think it’ll end up being used for all kinds of things, sort of defeating the purpose. #PeriodEmoji
— Ryan Farrar (@_ryanfarrar) February 6, 2019
we ask for free sanitary products and we get a period emoji instead. Ok
— 𝔪 (@vividguk) February 6, 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
— Samantha Sile (@samanthasile) February 7, 2019
The new set of emojis to be released in May this year for iPhone and Android users will also include symbols like a same-sex couple holding hands and people with disabilities (including a man and women sitting in both a manual and motorised wheelchair, and people walking with canes).