It's inclusive - representing racial diversity and an array of family dynamics once deemed controversial.
It's imaginative - complete with ghosts and vampires.
It's cheeky - who hasn't used the suggestive eggplant in a context outside of what you had for dinner?
Odd then isn't it, when designs exist to represent both the fantastical and the mundane, only now are we getting a period icon for the very first time.
To be clear, we are thrilled! The arrival of the icon on our screens says so much about how far we have come in normalising the conversation around menstrual health. However, it also says a lot about how far we still have to go in destigmatizing periods. Let us explain why:
Yes, despite receiving the backing of over 54,000 voters, the pants were turned down. Plan International UK then paired with NHS Blood and Transplant and submitted a successful proposal for the droplet design.
The thing about this droplet of blood is that it can mean so much and yet nothing at all. It is powerful yet ambiguous; recognising that menstruation is an experience worthy of representation, but still not wanting to offend delicate sensibilities by referring to it too directly.
Ironic really, when you consider another regular bodily function is represented, the design for which leaves little room for misinterpretation (a smiling pile of chocolate ice cream, perhaps?)
To be clear, it's not that we don't think the vampire community is unworthy of emoji representation. It's just, you're about 99.9% more likely to encounter a period than you are a vampire, which makes it a crying shame if not an immense wrong-doing that it's taken this long for a period emoji to come to pass.
So while we're delighted about the new emoji addition, until the period pants design can stand smiling and proud next to the 'pile of chocolate ice cream,' we still have a bloody long way to go in destigmatizing menstruation.