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Pantone Unveils A New Shade Of Red Named ‘Period’ To Lift The Lid On Conversations Around Menstruation. About Time

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Women menstruate. And at this point, everyone should just wrap their heads around it. My point is, you’d think that the society would have come to terms with something that’s been the truth of life since eternity, but here we hush our voices even today while talking about periods. The perfectly natural and normal biological process is branded impure, shameful and disgusting by those who haven’t even experienced it.

I don’t think they realise human life wouldn’t exist if women didn’t go through the week-long ordeal. I mean, if it was up to me, I would cancel my menstruation subscription today. But instead of being thankful, we teach our girls to be silent and isolate themselves when they are on their periods, because oh, it’s so embarrassing that they are bleeding in order to create life one day. And, this is not just limited to the Indian culture. Period is a taboo topic around the world, even in 2020.

In order to dispel this age-old stigma around menstruation and encourage period positivity, the Pantone Colour Institute has launched an original shade of red named ‘Period’. This is a bold, deep red somewhere between the Pantone Chinese Red and Pantone Fiery Red, that has been added to the matching system in the hope to normalise period talk and break the taboo around the subject. For this campaign, Pantone partnered with Swedish company Intimina to create the period red “to empower and encourage people, regardless of gender, to talk in more detail about menstruation.”

This doesn’t assure that suddenly the society will start talking about periods (as much as we would like it to) but at least it addresses the menstruation stigma that’s has been prevalent for so long. We need the word period said out loud and this does just that. So, it’s a great move!

Also Read: Shruti Haasan Talks About Periods, PMS, PCOS And Why We Get Sanitary Napkins Wrapped In Black Bags. Period Shaming Is Real

Let me give a backstory on the Pantone colour system for those who don’t know. Every year in December, the Pantone Colour Institute picks a colour of the upcoming year that you see everywhere, from runways to the beauty looks on your feeds. This year it was cool and calming classic blue, last year it was pretty peach called living coral and a year prior to that imaginative and electric, ultra violet. Does that ring a bell? Apart from the colour of the year, Pantone launches strictly specified colours to its standardised system which makes it the biggest and most important colour matching system in the world.

According to the Vice president of the Pantone Color Institute, Laurie Pressman, “An active and adventurous red hue, courageous Period emboldens those who menstruate to feel proud of who they are — 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.”

This is not the only time Pantone has used its colour card to raise awareness about a social topic. In May this year, it created the Pippi Longstocking Orange to support Save the Children’s ‘Girls on the Move’ programme. Also, the Colour Of The Year 2019 Living Coral was picked to raise awareness about the dire situation of ocean warming and loss of coral reefs. It teamed up with an NGO The Ocean Agency to launch three glowing colours based on how coral reacted to climate change. Pressman said, “Color is one of the most powerful modes of expression we can use to engage attention and get our voices heard.” Now this ‘Period Red’ is launched to front the period positivity movement that’s been gaining momentum in the world since a few years now to encourage period talk.

In India especially, no one wants to talk about periods. That is why you almost never hear the word in public. Even in the advertisements about periods aren’t real as they show blue gel-like liquid and term periods as ‘those days’. It was only recently that a sanitary pads brand, Rio Pads showed the first TV commercial with actual red liquid to depict period blood. Until we get real about menstruation and stop brushing off any discussion about periods, this will remain a taboo forever.

It is 2020 are we are still wrapping sanitary napkins in black bags, hiding our periods by saying ‘we’re sick’ and unintentionally fuelling the stigma around menstruation. Periods are not something to be ashamed of but cultural norms and religious beliefs forbids women from leading a normal life, entering kitchens and partaking in ritual practices, let alone having an open conversation about it or even mentioning it publicly. Not just women, men need to be taught about menstruation too to really quash the stigma and treat it as normal as it is. And, this Pantone Period Red does just that. It normalises menstruation and the conversation around that. It may not be the Colour Of The Year, but I won’t mind giving it an award of that title. Who’s with me?

Also Read: #Voices: This Sanitary Napkin Brand Showed Red Blood Instead Of Blue In Their TV Ad. Are We Finally Getting Real About Periods?

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