About Bloody Time – The New Period Emoji

Need to vent about your period cramps in the group chat? Now you can!

The myth that periods are “gross” and should be kept under wraps has long needed to be dispelled.

The emoji, which will take the form of a drop of blood, is one of the 230 new emojis (link) revealed by the Unicode Consortium (link) this week.

An emoji to represent periods comes after a campaign led by global women’s rights charity Plan International UK (link) received support from more than 55,000 people.

The charity, which hopes to eliminate the stigma surrounding periods, campaigned for a period emoji after a survey of women aged between 18 and 34 revealed that 47 per cent believed a menstruation emoji would make it easier to talk about periods with female friends and partners.

Of the approved emoji, Lucy Russell, head of girls rights and youth at Plan International UK said in the press release: “The inclusion of an emoji which can express what 800 million women around the world are experiencing every month is a huge step towards normalising periods and smashing the stigma which surrounds them.

For years we’ve obsessively silenced and euphemised 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.”

“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.”

Carmen Barlow, digital strategy and development manager at Plan International UK, reiterated the importance of a period emoji in an age where so much of our communication is done via technology.

“Emojis play a crucial role in our digital and emotional vocabulary, transcending cultural and country barriers,” Barlow said. “A period emoji can help normalise periods in everyday conversation.”

“For an organisation like Unicode to recognize that menstruation should be represented in this new global language is a huge step towards breaking down a global culture of shame around periods.”

The news of the period emoji was met with joy on social media. But some felt it was merely a cop out.

“The drop of blood feels like a half-measure,” said Megan Vaughan, a 35-year-old writer and PhD student in Essex. “It’s like giving us one of those nudge-nudge emojis, like the aubergine is, rather than actually giving us anything that really represents the reality of menstruation. The red droplet still has this sense of shame about it. Like it wants to talk about periods but not in too open a way, not in the kind of way that might offend delicate, largely male, sensibilities.”

The emojis are set to be available in spring 2019 – so keep your eyes peeled!


Image: Teen Vogue