Before we dive in, note that we’ll be referring to ‘people who menstruate’ in this article to include the transmen, non-binary, and gender-nonconforming folks out there who also menstruate.
We live in the year 2020 (sorry for the reminder), and yet period stigma is still a thing.
You see it playing out in myriad ways.
Let a perfectly innocuous wrapped tampon fall to the floor around a group of guys and more often than not they’ll scatter as if you dropped a grenade.
If you bring up your period in conversation, you may find yourself dealing with a visibly uncomfortable group of people.
To try and combat this, Pantone, the largest colour matching system in the world, has teamed up with Swedish menstruation products brand Intimina to launch a campaign running under the banner ‘Seen + Heard’.
As Danela Žagar, global brand manager at Intimina told The Independent:
“Despite the fact that billions of people experience menstruation, it has historically been treated as something that shouldn’t be seen or talked about publicly.
“Isn’t it time periods stop being considered as a private affair or a negative experience? Isn’t it time we call out people that try to perpetuate the stigma surrounding periods?”
Pantone has created a colour described by Laura Pressman, vice-president at the Pantone Color Institute as “a confident red shade symbolic of the empowering message of the campaign”.
“An active and adventurous red hue, courageous Period emboldens people who menstruate to feel proud of who they are,” she continued.
“To own their period with self-assurance; to stand up and passionately celebrate the exciting and powerful life force they are born with; to urge everyone regardless of gender to feel comfortable to talk spontaneously and openly about this pure and natural bodily function.”
The campaign came about after J.K. Rowling, who just two years after she liked a tweet which referred to transgender people as ‘men in dresses’ once again ignited fury on Twitter when she shared an article titled Opinion: Creating a more equal post-COVID-19 world for people who menstruate, with the comment:
“’People who menstruate’. I’m sure there used to be a word for those people. Someone help me out. Wumben? Wimpund? Woomud?”
She then dug her heels in and defended her anti-trans position. Most recently she promoted a brand that sells transphobic merchandise, run by a group of women who proudly proclaim themselves to be TERFS (Trans-exclusionary radical feminists).
In this sense, the end to period stigma not only involves opening up conversations about the natural bodily function itself, but a dialogue that is more inclusive and that recognises that not all people who menstruate are women.
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