Pantone, the colour registry company has introduced a new shade – Period Red – in order to create awareness around menstruation, something that still remains enmeshed in taboos and is culturally linked to the abstract concept of purity.
In India, women regularly face discrimination on days when they menstruate and are barred from a number of day-to-day activities like entering the kitchen, going to the temple, sleeping with other family members etc.
Earlier this year, nearly 70 female students at an institute in Gujarat’s Bhuj were pressured to remove their undergarments by their principal to prove that they were not menstruating. The upsetting part is that this is not a solitary incident, but one in a series of such incidents that happen every day. A menstruating woman is looked upon as unclean and impure and is often cornered and vilified for undergoing a natural process.
Every year, Pantone launches a ‘colour of the year’ to reflect the mood of the times. Pantone’s new shade of red, by focusing on menstruation, aims to overturn a taboo which has hounded millions of women all over the world, in varying degrees. It also puts an emphasis on the ‘energising’ and ‘dynamic’ vibe of the colour.
Period Red “emboldens people who menstruate to feel proud of who they are,” said Laurie Pressman, vice-president of the Pantone Color Institute, USA. She added that the goal was “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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