Last year was a good year for the destigmatisation of periods. From much more realistic television tampon commercials and marketing to brands such as OHNE helping to normalise talking about periods and working to end period poverty, things have come a long way. But one area that periods had yet to conquer? Emojis, of course. Well, in 2019 that's about to change. The amazing news is that the period emoji has just been given the go ahead — so this is how to get the period emoji on your own phone very soon.
Unicode Consortium, the California-based organisation that manages the distribution of emojis, has announced that a new set of emojis are soon to arrive on our smartphone keyboards as early as Spring this year — and yep, they will include a period emoji. You'll be able to get the emoji by updating your phone when it launches later this year, so keep your eyes peeled for that date and don't put off downloading that software update when it does.
The period emoji, which consists of a single red drop, was backed by more than 55,000 people after a campaign was started by Plan International UK to take this next step in removing stigma from menstruation. A survey of women aged between 18 and 34 confirmed that nearly half (47%) believed a period emoji would make it easier to talk about their periods with female friends and partners.
Discussing the important move, Lucy Russell, Head of Girls Rights and Youth at Plan International UK, explained: “The inclusion of an emoji which can express what 800 million women around the world are experiencing every month is a huge step towards normalizing periods and smashing the stigma which surrounds them."
She continued: "For years we’ve obsessively silenced and euphemized 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 an emoji may seem trivial in the fight against de stigmatising periods, it is a great first step. “An emoji isn’t going to solve this, but it can help change the conversation," says Lucy. "Ending the shame around periods begins with talking about it”.
Carmen Barlow, Digital Strategy and Development Manager at Plan International UK, also agrees that having a period emoji can help in bigger ways: “Emojis play a crucial role in our digital and emotional vocabulary, transcending cultural and country barriers. A period emoji can help normalize periods in everyday conversation.”
This brilliant news was unsurprisingly met with mostly positive feedback on Twitter. Mashable journalist Rachel Thompson wrote the following: "The period emoji is officially happening. It might not seem like it's a big deal, but it is. The stigma & shame surrounding menstruation can have a damaging effect on girls' lives. An emoji won't solve the issue, but it will start a conversation."
However, others feel the red droplet is not a strong enough association to periods: "This strange red droplet is not the period emoji we need but it is certainly a step in the right direction," expressed @churlishmeg, while @kayliemansfield wrote: "Its a blood emoji not a period emoji. If it was a period emoji they would have a tampon or pad!
While maybe it could be a bit more graphic, I think the period emoji is definitely a step in the right direction for ending period shaming.