The talk about periods in India has always drawn attention. Whether it is regarding issues like the entry of women in the holy abode of Lord Ayyappa (Sabarimala temple) or the restriction of women to do everyday chores like working in the kitchen or touching mom’s handpicked pickle during menstruation.
What’s the Period Emoji?
Last year, Plan International UK, a non-profit organization came up with a proposal for a blood drop emoji.
The Period emoji represented the importance of blood donations and aimed at starting a conversation revolving around normalization of the menstruation process.
They focused on the inclusion of an emoji which can express what millions of women around the world are experiencing every month. The emoji has finally been given a green light and is all set to storm your keypads this March.
While this seems like a milestone to engage people in period talk and ease them up with the concept, can Radicals be budged with an emoji?
Why the lingering talk about periods?
People might wonder about the lingering normalization of periods being debated about every now and then. Many young girls who first undergo menarche have varied experiences.
According to the report by ‘Dignity For HER’, “Almost 23 percent girls drop out of schools in India on reaching puberty, which critically undermines their potential as individuals and future workers.”
Our very own Indian government levied taxes on sanitary pads in 2017 tagging it as a luxury rather than an essential item, unlike condoms which were tax-free. However, the tax was revoked after massive protests. But doesn’t it reflect the thought process of our policymakers?
In a nutshell, we are trying to normalize periods for women who don’t even have access to sanitary napkins.
Excuse me for not being too excited about it.
Will it be another movement like #PadmanChallenge?
A movie like Padman based on an honest story must definitely be lauded for its efforts. Also, the Padman challenge did a great job in creating awareness but sometimes just awareness isn’t enough.
The subsequent release of the movie saw Bollywood celebs candidly posing with sanitary napkins, talking about normalization of periods. Soon enough, people started posting similar pictures.
Was this just because ‘everyone is doing it’ or has the opinion about menstruation really changed?
Also, the fact that it took two years for the approval of a Period emoji is reason enough to believe that a movement so widespread needs more stringent steps.
The Period Emoji is a step up
The Period Emoji is definitely better than the menstruation-related ads which let the stigma prevail.
Discomfort around menstrual blood has deep cultural roots. It is further advertised by showing the MYSTERY blue liquid in commercial menstrual hygiene products.
Contrary to popular belief, women don’t bleed blue liquid, they bleed BLOOD.
This is definitely a symbolic win.
Once again, celebs might influence people by using this emoji on loop for a couple of weeks and both feminist and youth-oriented pages will support the trend.
But for how long will it continue and what impact is it likely to have in the long run?
Don’t halt with an emoji
I am not being pessimistic, only pragmatic.
While many organizations in India like ‘Eco Femme’ and ‘Mukti Project’ are working upon various taboo related issues at the grassroot level.
We, as individuals need to start a conversation about periods amongst our family, friends, and peers. And for god’s sake, stop referring to it as ‘that time of the month’.
This might be celebrated as a recent movement to break the silence. But now, it is upon us, the millennials to either let it pass as another feather in the cap or use it to press for consolidated efforts from the citizens and policymakers.
Image Credits: Google Images
Find the blogger @ashnavig
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