UK-based organization ‘Plan International’ has launched a campaign to have a menstruation emoji to be added to the standard choices on smartphones.
The organization is offering five emojis which they are asking social media users to vote on. They will submit the winning emoji to the Unicode Consortium, who chooses the emojis to be included on phone keyboards.
Options for users to vote on include a bloody sanitary pad, bloody underwear, drops of blood, a period calendar, and a uterus.
— Bekky Ashmore (@BekkyAshmore) May 26, 2017
“When you can find an emoji for pretzels and pianos, why not for periods? I’m fairly sure the average British woman has more periods than she does pretzels. Meanwhile, there are four different emojis for bicycles – but not a single one for something that happens to half of us, every month, for a huge portion of our life,” Tanya Barron, CEO of Plan International UK, wrote in an announcement in the Huffington Post.
Barron explains that every month “women will hide their tampons, slip them up their sleeves as they go to the bathroom, suffer in silence when the cramps start and avoid talking about how menstruation is affecting their mood and how they’re feeling for fear of being judged.”
Men also get boners and fear people seeing them for being judged — yet I doubt that the organization will be calling for an erect penis emoji to be added to our keyboards.
— tabitha goldstaub (@tabithagold) May 29, 2017
The organization cites the true, and alarming, fact that girls in third-world countries not having access to sanitary pads or tampons often leads to them missing school. The group does not explain how a girl without access to sanitary products will be helped by the emojis, which they are unlikely to even see.
The fascination with periods on the left is bizarre and best, and often gross and unsanitary at worst. Perhaps it wouldn’t be the end of the world to keep some things private.
Plan International UK describes themselves as “a children’s charity.” Their website boasts that they “strive to advance children’s rights and equality for girls all over the world.”