The Menstruation Movement Needs More Than An Emoji

Whom we talk to and how we interact as a global community has increased at a rapid pace and with equally expanding breadth---movements often jump from local to national to international in such a short time frame, then just as quickly fall out of the limelight. The period drop emoji is a fitting manifestation of this technology-induced phenomena: that the only way to captivate someone’s attention on any level anymore, is only through a social media or messaging forum. More concerning than the narrowed audience captivation of the emoji itself, is the presence of social media as the assumed ‘cataclysm’ of political and social change.

Everyone wants to feel a part of something, everyone wants to feel good, everyone wants to feel like they have a part in changing the world. By using and sharing that emoji, people feel connected and as if they’re providing direct visibility to the cause. Although there is some value to that, the substantial value rests on the groundwork that the global community completes daily. It is easy to retweet, it is easy to repost, it is easy to share---what is not easy to do is to prioritize one’s self-preservation below that of another person's, through the agency of direct services. Social media has deeply perpetuated this value of convenience, so much so that many feel that to participate solely on social media is enough. It is not enough.

Feel good about sharing about those who are unheard. Feel good about spreading the word and asking your friends to support a new cause. Feel good, but not fulfilled in minimal support that is supplied through like and comment. The emoji, though it is a well-intentioned gesture towards the dissemination of the menstruation taboo, genuinely devalues the true grit behind the scenes of the moment. Here, at Operation Period, we serve to go beyond the scope of feeling good and push others around us to achieve that same fulfillment we aim to embody daily.

Links of Interest:

“The new ‘period emoji’ is a reminder that destigmatizing menstruation has a long way to go”

“Apple has launched a new period emoji---and it’s dividing opinions”

“Period Emoji: Is This What The Society Needs to Normalise Period Talk?”

Alona Arneson