Menstruation in the 21st Century
Finally – our keyboards have caught up. It may seem like a small addition, but the period emoji is hugely important. The reason? It means that as a population (that’s right – not just those who menstruate), we’re broadening our digital vocabulary to include periods as a topic of conversation, and encouraging period talk! The period emoji is a huge leap forward in breaking down barriers and stigma that have long promoted a culture of shame and embarrassment surrounding periods.
Starting with the revolutionary new emoticon, let’s talk about the other ways period talk has evolved in the 21stcentury, and how we can continue to promote positive period culture in the years to come.
The Long-Awaited Period Emoji
Phones have changed our language – whether ‘likes’, #hashtags, or emoji conversations, we’ve completely changed how we express ourselves and keep in touch with one another. That’s what makes the addition of the period emoji so significant. While it can’t solve the world’s problems around menstruation, it can absolutely help to change the way we talk about it. For starters, the emoji makes it easier for women and girls to use their voices, providing a symbol right at their fingertips to indicate what they’re going through. In the past, women would send a sad face emoji or use a physical dot to emphasize the plight of periods – now they can tell it like it is with a drop of blood. If you have a smartphone, be sure to update your operating system so you can use the emoji too!
Period Tracking Apps
The days of marking your planner and print calendar with a red dot to signify the first days of your period are over! While intended for convenience, period-tracking apps bring an element of empowerment to our phones, allowing women to be more independently in control of their own health. Not only can you time your period down to the hour, apps allow you to make note of things like duration, how heavy your period is and how regularly you’re getting it. Women can be more in the know when it comes to their symptoms, and can more easily pinpoint an abnormal symptom.
The Power of Period Comedy
The rise of late night comedy, and further, the rise of women in comedy, has given women’s health and periods a spot on center stage. Comedians like Amy Schumer, Aisha Tyler and Samantha Bee have helped to redefine how the public perceives periods, by emphasizing their normalcy (and frankly, how funny they are) in movies, on television and on social media. Positive period comedy, as opposed to degrading and embarrassing jokes that may have previously dominated the comedy space, brings women together in empathy and honesty. And, given the nature of social media in 2019, it’s no surprise that videos like these go viral almost instantly.
Looking to the Future
What these avenues have in common is that they leverage the power of technology to encourage talking about periods – without whispers or euphemisms – to help the broader population understand that menstruation is normal. And by talking about it, we can help eliminate stigma and shame often associated with it.
Join the movement – and start by speaking up about your cycle. If your period has kept you from living your life to the fullest, consider talking to a doctor about treatment options. Follow along with Change the Cycle on social media as we keep the period talk going.