Pantone Launched a Color Called 'Period' and We Have Questions

The "active and adventurous red hue" was created to help end the stigma around menstruation and promote period positivity... but does it?

Pantone Period
Photo: Instagram/@pantone

As if we weren't already seeing red from the pure chaos of last night's debate, Pantone has announced a new color, 'Period', in partnership with the Swedish feminine products brand Intimina. 'Period' has been described as an "original shade of red that represents a steady flow" and an "active and adventurous red hue" by the two brands.

"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," said Laurie Pressman, vice-president of the Pantone Color Institute.

Besides the obvious questions that come to mind — Why must we break out into spontaneous period conversation? Does literally anyone feel active or adventurous while on their period? — this bright red shade begs a larger question: Did a bunch of men invent this? Because as all women know, “period” is not just one universal shade — it can look completely different throughout the week and from month to month.

While Pantone notes that the color is 'by no means supposed to be an accurate depiction' if the point is to end the stigma around this natural bodily function why not show a natural shade like dark red or dark brown?

I, for one, can still viscerally remember being a middle school girl getting my period for the first time and feeling decidedly not excited or celebratory. Instead, I thought something was very wrong because no one had ever pointed out to me that, like bright red, brown was another completely normal color for period blood. (Darker colors are also common at the end of your period when blood has been in the uterus for longer, or even if you've been laying down for a long time, as I'm sure the gynecologist Pantone says they consulted with to create this color told them.)

It's cool Pantone wants to make menstruation more visible and normalized, but as the world’s preeminent authority on color, how about creating a whole damn gradient palette to represent all the healthy shades of blood that people with periods experience? Now that would help end the stigma.

Updated by
Kylie Gilbert
Kylie is InStyle's associate editorial director. She works cross-vertical strategy as well as lifestyle and wellness features for the site and InStyle's digital issues.
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