The Story Behind the New Period Emoji

This rounded, crimson droplet is taking the internet by storm, but why? The new blood drop emoji, known online as the #periodemoji, was created to hopefully help girls comfortably and shamelessly talk about menstruation and the struggles they encounter during that time of the month.

The subject of periods is usually viewed as gross or inappropriate and this outlook needs to be left behind. Menstruation is a natural part of a woman’s life, so the conversation should be natural as well.

Plan International UK, a children’s charity that was a leading factor in the push for a period emoji, hopes the harmless symbol will end the “shame around periods” by helping girls open up about their menstrual flow.

Even though this is a charity based in the UK, they are advocates for helping young girls and women all around the world. A piece on their website includes a statement from a 16-year-old girl in Uganda who says she didn’t know what was happening to her and she wanted to know what she could do to stop the bleeding. This statement alone should be a red flag; period-talk needs to be more normalized.

According to a survey conducted by the charity, two-thirds of women don’t feel comfortable talking about their period with their father or male friends. The survey also found that one in 10 women don’t feel comfortable discussing it with their female friends. Additional research from Plan International UK found that 47 percent of women between the ages of 18 and 34 believed a period emoji would make it easier for them to talk about their periods with people they are close with.

Lucy Russell, Head of Girl’s Rights and Youth at the charity, said, “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.”

In 2017, Plan International UK actually created five designs for the emoji and had the public vote on them.

The winner, “period pants,” was submitted to the Unicode Consortium for approval. Unfortunately, the pants were turned down despite receiving the backing of more than 55,000 voters.

The charity then collaborated with NHS Blood and Transplant to create the blood drop emoji that will be coming to smartphones in March. This emoji has received mixed reviews, with some people saying it seems more suitable as a blood donor symbol rather than a representation of a period. Others are thankful for the design and the message behind it.

Women’s bodies are beautiful, powerful creations that shouldn’t be shamed for bleeding once a month. An emoji won’t completely banish the stigma, but just like the hashtag for the #MeToo Movement, it can spark a conversation that would otherwise be uncomfortable or difficult to start.