Feminists Crusade for a Period Emoji

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By Heat Street Staff | 2:14 pm, May 30, 2017
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Feminists have a hot new idea to improve gender equality: getting a menstruation emoji listed on your iPhone.

Plan International, a global children’s development organization, has launched a campaign pressuring the emoji creator Unicode to include a period icon.

“Wouldn’t it be great to explain the feelings of cramps, bloating, uncontrollable emotions and comfort eating in one single emoji?” Caitlin Figueiredo, a Plan International Australia youth ambassador, writes in the Guardian.

The campaign’s proposed emojis include happy, sad and antsy blood drops, a bloody calendar, bloody underpants, a red uterus, and a bloody pad. So far, more than 17,000 people have voted their preferred emoji; the blood drops are the most popular right now.

Already, Unicode has introduced a spate of new and inclusive emojis. Last year saw the addition of both a hijab-wearing emoji and a breastfeeding emoji.

Figueiredo argues that not having a period emoji is actually discriminatory against the “800 women, including people who identify as male or non-gender binary” who are menstruating.

“The exclusion of a period emoji is just another way to silence speech around menstrual health which contributes to stigma [and] shame, leading to yet more silence,” Figueiredo writes.

To bolster the case for a period emoji, she cites a survey that found that more than 70 percent of women aren’t comfortable discussing their menstruation with their male bosses or teachers. And apparently when you don’t overshare about your bodily functions, that’s evidence of gender oppression.

“If we’re going to make any progress to achieve gender equality, we need to first encourage people to talk about their period and to challenge the idea that there is a ‘problem’ with menstruation and girls’ bodies,” she writes.

If the emojis do make it to an iPhone soon, you’d better not plan to use them with a sense of humor.

PMS jokes “may seem funny,” Figueiredo writes, “but to the person experiencing their period it is just another disguised form of misogyny.”

Good thing there’s an eye roll emoji!