According to the coding consortium Unicode, the organization that decides which symbols are going to be translated into emojis, the update will begin in April 2019 and will go throughout the year.
Alongside with the blood drop emoji, we’ll get about 59 new symbols with 171 variants for gender and skin tone.
The importance of the period emoji
Emojis play a huge role in our digital vocabulary, and it goes way beyond cultural barriers. We use them to communicate on a daily basis, and they have become sort of a new language for the younger generations.
Until now, girls had no way of expressing themselves during their painful period days. There wasn’t a single emoji that could sum up what they actually feel, so they had to improvise and use different emojis that even slightly resembled what they go through during their period.
However, after a call by the Plan International to include a menstruation emoji, more than 50,000 people have responded. As a result, a red blood drop emoji is officially announced.
Lucy Russel, the head of Girls Rights at the Plan International said that 800 million women around the world are experiencing periods every month, and thanks to the inclusion of this emoji, they can finally express themselves. This is a huge step towards normalizing periods and smashing the stigma that surrounds them.
Since young age, women have been taught to manage their periods in silence, and this has led to huge gaps in education.
The latest report by Plan International U.K. revealed that more than a quarter of the girls didn’t know what to do when they first got their period, 14% didn’t even know what was happening and 71% feel embarrassment when buying sanitary products. In addition, about 1 in 10 women are not comfortable talking about menstruation with their female friends.
These numbers are concerning and reveal a culture of stigma and the fact that periods are still surrounded by shame.
Why a blood drop?
In 2017, Plan International started a petition for creating a period emoji. They also came up with 5 different designs: a pad with a blood stain, a uterus, blood drops on white underwear, a calendar with blood drops, and three blood droplets with different moods.
After 54,600 women and girls have casted their vote, the period pants emoji was chosen as the winner, and was then submitted to the Unicode Consortium.
Sadly, the design got rejected, but Plan International still didn’t give up. They teamed up with NHS Blood and Transplant and submitted a new proposal for a blood drop emoji, which was then accepted by Unicode.
The blood drop has many usages. The symbol may be used to indicate menstruation, blood donations, injury, diseases, blood disorders, etc.
The emoji is just another part of the process of making society look at periods as a completely natural and normal thing all women go through on a monthly basis. Moreover, it will surely help change the conversation and ultimately result in ending the shame around periods once and for all.