Over 15,000 people have signed a petition set up by sanitary product company Bodyform calling for “femojis” — period-themed emojis — to be added to the official emoji keyboard.
The six new “femojis” include a sanitary pad, a hot water bottle, a pair of bloodstained pants and a female face covered in spots
“We believe that menstruation shouldn’t be taboo, but know that millions of young girls and women still find it hard to talk about their periods, which can cause embarrassment, anxiety and lack of confidence,” says Bodyform.
The company also points out that “we have a pufferfish, an aubergine and ten — yes ten — types of train [sic]” but no period emojis. Which does seem ridiculous.
Supporters of Bodyform’s campaign believe femojis will help women express themselves better and help to destigmatise menstruation.
“We need to break the taboo surrounding our periods, we need to not be ashamed of our monthlies,” wrote Karen Currie from Airdrie.
“Femojis are needed in the mobile life of girls. They are a form of expression we do not yet have access too! [sic]” said Jaala Kenchington.
Deborah Thomas from Swansea commented, “All women bleed! Get over it, we can express it however we wish.”
Last year over 90,000 people, from more than 190 countries, took part in what is one of the largest surveys on period perceptions in the world, carried out by Clue with The International Women’s Health Coalition. The survey found that there are over 5,000 different slang terms and euphemisms for the word “period.”
Given that periods are a health reality for 50 percent of the world’s population, it’s crazy that menstruation is rarely discussed in public and that so many of us find it difficult to even say the word “period.”
Having “femojis” on the smartphone keyboard is a pretty good start (although it does have some way to go in terms of diversity because not only pink faces get periods), particularly for the younger generation who appear to rely on symbols as their main form of communication.
You have until March 21 to sign the petition when Bodyform submit it to Unicode (the consortium responsible for the emoji keyboard).