As the mother of all sons, I have become frightfully good at hiding the fact that I'm on my period. I even managed to hide it from them when we were camping recently, which all women know is the third rung of hell when you're on your period (the port-a-potties, the outdoors, the faint fear that a bear will sense you're on your period and perhaps eat you in your sleep). Why? Because it might make them uncomfortable. Which is utter nonsense. As soon as this new period emoji is a thing, I plan on using it to familiarize my sons (and the rest of the people in my life) with the reality of female menstruation. Because it is a reality, and maybe it's time we all stopped pretending. Menstruating is just the way the world goes round, kiddos, so let's all be grown-ups and give the embarrassment a rest, shall we?
Plan International Australia, a non-profit organization, recently put together a series of emojis to "challenge the stigma associated with menstruation that affects girls and women around the globe," according to their viral Facebook post. They shared a few different options for emojis to represent a woman's period, including drops of blood on a calendar, on underwear, and on a pad. Followers have been asked to vote on their favorite, which will then be taken to Unicode Consortium, the creators of emojis. If chosen, the new period emoji will hopefully be available worldwide.
The beauty of a period emoji, of course, is that it normalizes conversations about menstruation. According to the Huffington Post U.K., a recent poll found that a whopping two-thirds of women continue to feel uncomfortable talking about their period, even with family members. Despite the fact that billions of women and girls get their period, it's still a taboo subject. As 14-year-old Ambrin, a member of Plan International's Youth Advisory Committee, noted:
There are already emojis that represent most parts of everyday life, so a period emoji would send the message that periods are just normal.
Voting for the period emoji ended on June 6, and it looks as though a few little blood drops on a calendar page was the big winner.
Hopefully, the period emoji will make a small dent in a massive problem around the globe; helping young women in particular feel more comfortable with their period. In less developed parts of the world, many young girls don't have access to sanitary products and end up taking time away from school out of shame and embarrassment. Precious time away from education that can literally change their lives.
A period emoji won't solve everything. But it would go a long way towards making periods normal. On account of they are actually normal.
My sons best get ready.