For many, having a period comes with so much shame that they feel afraid to discuss menstruating — even with their friends. To help combat this lingering stigma the Pantone Color Institute and Intimina, a women's health company, partnered to create a new color — a vibrant crimson called “Period.
“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. And if we look at popular culture, depictions of periods have ranged from wildly inaccurate and unsympathetic to being the subject of jokes and derision,” Danela Žagar, Intimina global brand manager, said in a statement on Intimina's website. “Pantone’s ‘Period’ red shade represents ... making periods visible, encouraging positive conversations and normalizing menstruation in our culture, our society and in our everyday lives."
Pantone’s Period hue is one of the latest attempts to tackle period stigma in pop culture. In 2019, Plan International U.K. campaigned successfully for a period emoji and in 2018 the documentary “Period. End of Sentence” explored the impact this stigma has on people who menstruate in India.
“It became really clear to me that (menstruating) was a really big source of shame,” Rayka Zehtabchi, director of the documentary, told TODAY last year. “It held so many of the women back, for so long.”
Pantone and Intimina hope that this new shade will empower people to feel more comfortable chatting about their periods.
“‘Period’ emboldens people who menstruate to feel proud of who they are,” Laurie Pressman, vice president of Pantone Colour Institute, said in a statement. “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 shade's release comes after news that one of the largest food delivery companies in India, Zomato, is offering 10 days of period leave a year for its menstruating employees in hopes of reducing period stigma in the workplace.
“There shouldn’t be any shame or stigma attached to applying for a period leave,” Deepinder Goyal, CEO of Zomato, said in a statement shared on the food delivery service’s website. “I know that menstrual cramps are very painful for a lot of women — and we have to support them through it if we want to build a truly collaborative culture at Zomato.”
The Pad Project, a nonprofit focused on menstruation awareness, applauded the new Pantone paint color and what it meant for period stigma.
“Thanks to Swedish Healthcare brand Intimina for leading the charge,” the Pad Project shared on Instagram. “Neutral accent walls are SO 2020.”