This New Period Emoji Is Bloody Ridiculous. Period.
There is always much excitement when new emojis are released (???) and the latest emoji update set for release in April is no different.
And for good reason, this update includes the introduction of images illustrating disability and accessibility, it includes prosthetic limbs, a hearing aid and people using mobility aids.
I am all for diversity and inclusion and also for using emojis to express my feelings. And sometimes I like to replace my words with pictures because they often paint a better image.
I guess then I meant to be excited about the inclusion of a period emoji.
The Drop of Blood emoji comes after a petition organised by Plan International UK calling for a period emoji to be added to the global emoji keyboard garnered more than 55, 000 signatures.
Head of Girls’ Rights and Youth at Plan International UK, told media, “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. 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.
And while I applaud the thinking behind including a period emoji and I love the fact that we will be able to signify our periods quickly and with a bit of humour and informality, I just can’t help thinking that this drop of blood looks nothing like a period.
I imagine my son sending me this image after he cuts his finger on a piece of paper or a friend sending it to me after she has made a donation at the local blood bank. I look at that drop of blood and nothing about it says period to me.
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The campaign to create the official period emoji saw several designs including a drop of blood on a pair of underpants and a smear of blood on a sanitary pad. I understand that some people might find this confronting but how are we going to get rid of the stigma around menstruation if we gloss over the real facts in order to make it more palatable?
It’s similar to the ads we see on TV for tampons and pads which illustrate menstrual blood as blue water because actual blood would be too confronting. And by confronting I mean realistic. It promotes the idea that periods are simple and tidy and just a drop of blood.
It’s the same idea as the woman running through a field of grass in her white pants safe in the knowledge that no one will know she has her period, not only because she is using the advertised product but because no one really wants to talk about periods.
Although half the world’s population will have to deal with their own monthly period at some time in their lives we still don’t want to confront what that really means. We will accept a drop of blood to replace the heavy flow, the irritability, the mood swings, the hormonal changes and the incessant cramping.
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If we really want girls to be less embarrassed about their periods then we should be less embarrassed about representing what a period looks like. Sanitising the truth builds stigma, it doesn’t destroy it.
For now I will still be using the calendar followed by the angry red face, the teary face and the expletive laden emoji. Come to think of it I may well drop in about 25 of the blood drops to really drive the point home.