New Delhi: In the age of internet, an Emoji says more than words can. Ever since its origins that can be traced back to Japan in 1997, to the induction of the face with tears of joy emoji. In the Oxford dictionary as the word of the year in 2015, Emoji is now a well-entrenched part of the lingo and the pop culture. So if there is an emoji for every mood, occasion and emotion, then why not for something that is as regular as period? In a bid to add to the ever expanding vocabulary of the emoji, an all-new period emoji has been added on iOS. The idea of the period emoji became a reality thanks to the United Kingdom based non-profit Plan Action, which ran a survey in 2017. It found that women in UK still face shame and stigma during their monthly period and are uncomfortable to even talk to friends and family about menstruation. To encourage discussion and engagement around this natural process, Plan Action thought of what better than an emoji.
With emoji becoming one of the fastest growing global languages, we realised having a period emoji could help change things. We created five designs, and a phenomenal 54,600 of voters showed their support to vote for their favourite: period pants, which we submitted to the Unicode Consortium, the official body that manages emojis worldwide, explained a spokesperson from Plan Action.
Unfortunately, the design was rejected by Unicode, but Plan Action didn’t give up and teamed up with NHS Blood and Transplant, an executive non-departmental public body of England’s Department of Health and Social Care, and submitted a new proposal for a blood drop emoji which was the runner up design in the public vote. Today the emoji has made it to the iPhones worldwide and people are thrilled.
We are thrilled to announce that we are actually getting a #PeriodEmoji!
— Plan International UK (@PlanUK) February 6, 2019
28-year-old Neha, a resident of Noida and an IT engineer told NDTV that she is surprised that it took so long for us to have a period emoji, she said,
Menstruation is still stigmatised and remains a taboo, a bigger one in India as compared to the UK for that matter. I think in order to bring people out of this stigma each and everything we do can play a big role in helping us move towards a carefree period conversation, even if it is an emoji. It may sound insignificant but I think something like this does open the mind of a lot of people. All we need to do now is promote and make more and more people aware about the core aim behind this emoji. I personally think we have witnessed history being made.
On the other hand, 32-year-old Sumedha, a journalist from Delhi expressed her concern with the fact that the emoji that won after a public poll failed to make it to people’s phones. She told NDTV,
I think the aim is obviously very important and great but the fact that the poll winning design failed to make it to people’s phones says a lot about the long road ahead of us, when it comes to normalizing periods. A blood drop can depict many things but a specific design would have been more encouraging for young girls and women. Period pants emoji was rejected but something like a sanitary pad could have also been a great design to increase the awareness around menstrual hygiene.
Reactions to the new emoji also poured in from around the world on Twitter.
Honestly not sure how a single drop of blood is supposed to represent a woman’s period…when clearly there were so many better options, said a user.
— Jeññie (@JennieOhMy) February 7, 2019
A new #PeriodEmoji. Damn – 2 years too late, wrote the renowned author Milly Johnson.
Absolutely stand in support of the new #PeriodEmoji! A billion women have no access to clean toilets while menstruating. Time to start talkin ’bout that, wrote a user.
Absolutely stand in support of the new #PeriodEmoji! A billion women have no access to clean toilets while menstruating. Time to start talkin 'bout that. Periods are a thing, get over it. thanks, @PlanUK Next up, a #HotFlashEmoji perhaps? https://t.co/aXgKJzupb8
— Cheri Preston (@CheriPreston) February 7, 2019