What’s the Deal with the New ‘Period’ Emoji?


Photo Attribution/Pixabay

A up close shot of a menstrual cup.

Destinee Scott, Staff Writer

Ladies, we’re getting a period emoji!

After the non-profit organization Plan International UK’s fight for an emoji symbolizing menstruation earlier this month, Unicode announced that a cartoon red blood droplet emoji used to signify “menstruation,” “blood donations,” and “medicine” will be available on smartphones later this year.

Since finding out that 48 percent of girls and women in the UK between ages 14 and 21 were embarrassed by their periods in 2017, Plan International UK, which advocates for children’s rights and girls’ rights, has been pushing the need for a period emoji in an attempt to help normalize and reduce the stigma surrounding menstruation.

“Ending the shame around periods begins with talking about it,” Lucy Russell, the head of girls’ rights and youth at the non-profit organization told the Guardian.

For their campaign, which asked people to vote between different designs for the emoji, including a sanitary pad, a monthly calendar, smiling blood droplets, a uterus, and a pair of “period panties” they received 54,600 signatures in total. Most of which voted for the underwear with the blood droplets, although Unicode Consortium, the body that maintains and regulates emojis, rejected the original period design. But last September after teaming up with NHS Blood and Transplant and submitting a new proposal for a blood drop design, Unicode gave the menstruation inspired emoji the green light and selected it to become an official emoji.

Now, instead of resorting to using an erupting volcano emoji or a red rose emoji to represent their time of the month, women will have access to a period emoji specifically designed to symbolize menstruation before the year is up.

Although an emoji may seem like a small change, it’s an important step in breaking the stigma and shame around periods and normalizing the conversation that surrounds it.