Story at a glance
- The Pantone Color Institute partnered with INTIMINA, a brand of feminine care products, to create "Period red."
- The custom color is intended to raise awareness of period poverty and destigmatize menstruation.
- Millions in the United States and across the world lack access to menstrual products and sanitation facilities.
If you know anything about the female reproductive system, you probably know what "Period red" looks like.
The new Pantone color is part of a campaign by INTIMINA, a brand of feminine care products, to normalize menstruation and end the stigma around something that nearly half the world experiences.
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"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," said Danela Žagar, INTIMINA Global Brand Manager, in a statement.
Across the world, millions lack access to menstrual products and sanitation facilities. Some will even miss out on their education and careers due to inflexible policies. In the United States, 35 states impose what's known as the "tampon tax," a sales tax on menstrual hygiene products, which are classified as luxury goods. Food stamps, Medicaid and health insurance spending accounts won't cover period products for those in poverty or the homeless.
"Many girls miss vital days of school, or even drop out altogether, which is one reason so many women experience life-long poverty globally. Without the stigma around periods, more women could escape poverty, fulfil their potential and strengthen their communities," said Jillian Popkins, director of Policy, Advocacy, and Programs for ActionAid UK, in a statement.
The custom Pantone Red color isn't the first swatch the company has developed for social justice causes. In August, the Pantone Color Institute partnered with rapper Nas to create "Ultra Black by Nas," which the company said was “unapologetically Pro-Black, and thus pro-humanity.”
"An active and adventurous red hue, courageous Period emboldens people who menstruate to feel proud of who they are," said Laurie Pressman, Vice-President Pantone Color Institute, 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."
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