Ending the Stigma Around Menstruation… Period.

April 7, 2019

Melissa Berton and Rayka Zehtabchi

Melissa Berton and Rayka Zehtabchi at the Oscars 2019. Image by PopularImages/depositphoto.com

An emoji you never knew you needed is coming this spring: the period emoji. And yes, when I say period I’m talking about menstruation.

It’s unfortunate, but there’s a lot of stigma surrounding the period. Even the subtle art of hiding tampons (you know, like when you discreetly slip one into your sleeve before heading to the bathroom), is an example of how we’re conditioned not to draw attention to them. But when we consider that periods are completely natural and affect half the population, it’s pretty absurd how little we talk about them!

Among those who are done staying silent about periods is girls’ rights group Plan International UK, the group behind the period emoji. The blood drop emoji they created will soon be available on smartphones everywhere, and the hope is the emoji will spark conversation on a global level and break the long-held silence surrounding menstruation.

Oscar-worthy Advocacy

Rayka Zehtabchi is also trying to normalize periods. She’s the director of this year’s Oscar-winning short film Period. End of Sentence (I highly recommend if you haven’t already seen it!) The doc follows women in India as they combat the stigma surrounding menstruation by making sanitary pads, determined not to let the societal shame surrounding periods keep them (and others) from living the lives they want.

The sad truth is, no matter where you live, if you get periods the stigma surrounding them probably affects you on some level. But don’t worry! The more we talk about periods, the more societies accept them as completely normal and healthy occurrences. So whether or not you download the period emoji, don’t be afraid to talk about periods. If you get them, talk about it. If you don’t get them, talk about it. It’s not embarrassing. It’s not shameful. It’s just a period.

By Alex Barr