A tiny blood drop-shaped emoji will soon be on your phones, signifying among other things, menstruation. The blood drop emoji is seen by many a step in the right direction to debunk stigmas about menstruation. Besides menstruation, the blood emoji could also be used to signify a blood donation, bleeding, or an injury.
Coding consortium Unicode, which creates and distributes emojis across mobile devices recently released its 2019 Emoji list, which includes the “period emoji”.
“The new emoji typically start showing up on mobile phones in September/October — some platforms may release them earlier. The new emoji will soon be available for adoption to help the Unicode Consortium’s work on digitally disadvantaged languages,” Unicode wrote on its blog.
Other emojis added by the company in the latest update include disability and accessibility-centred emojis, such as a mechanical arm, guide dog, people in wheelchairs and hearing aids, diversity and inclusion focussed icons such as interracial couples, among others.
Emojis have become a part of our modern communication vocabulary. More than 92 percent of the online population use emojis every day to communicate between friends and across cultures.
In 2017, child development advocacy organization Plan International launched a campaign for period emojis; electronic message icons or smileys used to express emotions; to represent menstruation on mobile devices and therefore demystify and normalize the natural cycle in women. The emoji designs proposed by the advocacy organisation included a sanitary towel, a diagram of a uterus, a pair of period pants, a calendar and blood droplets.
The aim of the campaign was to break the taboo associated with menstruation that affects girls and women especially in many societies where it is considered “dirty” forcing many girls to remain quiet about reproduction and sexual health.
While an emoji will not solve all of the overarching problems women face regarding stigma surrounding menstruation, if it helps drive conversation, then that’s a start. Changing perceptions around periods is challenging, but creating a period emoji helps women and girls to talk about menstruation more freely.
So the question is would you use a period emoji?
For men would it could become just another way to tout and visually mansplain PMS or an easier way of asking the women in their lives if they need a little extra TLC? For women the possibilities are endless. It will be a discrete way of telling your boss why you cannot come in to work for women suffering from severe cramps and or endometriosis, letting a friend know why you can’t make a scheduled date or even just to chit chat with your girlfriends on intimate things.
Let’s hope the period emoji can be embraced by all with open arms.