Here’s why Pantone’s color of the year is making people do a double take

Pantone is making a major statement with its new color. “Period,” which was made in partnership with Intimina, a Swedish feminine products band, was described as an “original shade of red that represents a steady flow” and an “active and adventurous red hue,” according to InStyle. Vice-president of the Pantone Color Institute Laurie Pressman advised in a press release, “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.”

It’s an interesting choice, to say the least, particularly considering the bright red shade doesn’t necessarily resemble what most women will recognize as actual period blood. Also, let’s face it, it can be really hard to “talk spontaneously and openly” about periods in general. The reasoning behind this bold move is admirable, though, and the company and its partnership hope to spur more conversations about the topic.

Pantone's new color is all about empowerment

As CNN notes, we should count ourselves lucky because there are plenty of places that still, even nowadays, consider menstruation to be a taboo topic. Women in India, for example, can be forbidden from cooking or even touching anybody while on their period, due to being seen as unclean. In Nepal, the practice of making girls sleep in huts while they’re menstruating is still widespread in spite of a nationwide ban. Period poverty remains prevalent in the U.S., too, as not everybody can afford supplies to get them through their periods.

As Intimina’s global brand manager, Danela Žagar, noted in a press statement, “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.” As Žagar argued, even in popular culture, depictions of menstruation range from either inaccurate and devoid of sympathy to something simply to be made fun of. With “Period,” Pantone is looking to join the conversation surrounding de-stigmatizing menstruation.

As Pressman argued, after all, “Color is one of the most powerful modes of expression we can use to engage attention and get our voices heard.”

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