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Pantone’s newest shade, “Period,” announced last month.

Pantone, best known for its proprietary color system used across various industries, recently announced its newest shade: “Period,” a deep, brilliant red that alludes to menstrual cycles. The company hopes the new color, launched in collaboration with the Swedish brand INTIMINA, will help “break down the stigma surrounding menstruation.”

But “Period Red” has not been met with widespread enthusiasm. Last week, the Argentine artist-activist collective Cromoactivismo, which mobilizes color in the service of social change, offered a scathing critique of the company on its Instagram page.

“How can we think that the shade ‘Period Red’ can universally represent our menstrual palettes?” wrote the group.That palette is pluriversal because we are many and we are diverse. We will not accept that a company standardize us or sell us what already belongs to us.”

Led by Argentine artists Marina De Caro, Guillermina Mongan, Victoria Musotto, Daiana Rose, and Mariela Scafati, Cromoactivismo hand-mixes paint colors to create placards and murals for protests and demonstrations, giving the shades rebellious names that reject the oversimplifications of capitalist systems.

Referencing the green scarves that have become a symbol of the abortion rights movement in Argentina, for instance, the group created colors during the nationwide marches for legalization in 2018 — hues such as “Contagious Poison Green”; “Promiscuous Queen Green”; “Senate Green”; and “Legal, Safe, and Free Green.”

“We’re renaming these colors based on our [personal] experiences and all sorts of political experiences we’ve lived,” De Caro said in an interview.

Cromoactivismo has been vocal about its opposition to Pantone in the past, criticizing what it views as the company’s commodification of a cultural capital that belongs to everyone. In its recent statement against “Period Red,” the group says Pantone “turns color into a private property, a standardized merchandise,” appropriating the hard-fought battle to normalize menstrual health for commercial purposes.

“It is unacceptable that in 2020 there are people who do not have access to menstrual hygiene products, that hospitals and schools do not have enough supplies. The care of our bodies is a right,” the group says. 

“No to the regulation of our colors! Our bodies are already liberated, Laurie Pressman,” said the group, addressing the vice president of the Pantone Color Institute.

Read Cromoactivismo’s statement, reproduced in English* and Spanish, below.

Against Pantone Chromoactive Reds
*Translation courtesy Valentina Di Liscia

In response to the article published on October 5, 2020 in the newspaper Página/12, which celebrates Pantone’s announcement and the creation of a new shade titled “Period Red” for its system of color, we feel the need to say once more that we do not need the support of a global capitalist company that turns color into a private property, a standardized merchandise.

Although color opens up the possibility for conversation and that might seem cute to a news outlet, we want to recall that COLOR IS NOT INNOCENT. With each passing day, it becomes more and more necessary to sharpen our senses, open them up to language, and develop critical tools to face an oppressive world and companies like Pantone, which are built on a cultural capital that belongs to all of us: COLOR.

As Página/12’s article affirms, Patone created a system of identification and regulation of color. But what it does not say is that this system threatens our existence in an integral way.

Color is not something that can or should be identified with a registration number; it is not something that needs to be regulated by a company. Color finds itself in constant movement and transformation. Color is in constant dialogue with its context. How can we think that the shade “Period Red” can universally represent our menstrual palettes? Our cycles traverse moments of brownish, yellowish, whitish, pinkish, reddish, blackish, all juxtaposed against the colors of our hands, pads, menstrual cups, tampons, jeans, sheets, sofas, bus seats — the beach drops, the surprise drops, the first-time shade, the secret, the strange congratulations, our memories.

That palette is pluriversal because we are many and we are diverse. We will not accept that a company standardize us or sell us what already belongs to us. Through our many individual and collective experiences of feminism, we have learned to detect manipulation and attempts to control us, often on our behalf. We fight everyday for the liberation of our videos, lives, and territories. Colors are our allies.

We mobilize our poetic militance. We are no longer quiet, and we are no longer normalizing the manipulative use of color, which only generates more violence and inequality. It is unacceptable that in 2020 there are people who do not have access to menstrual hygiene products, that hospitals and schools do not have enough supplies. The care of our bodies is a right. 

Colors should not be commercialized, colors should be shared.

We are for free menstrual cups, pads, and tampons!

Stop profiting from our lives, existences, and collective fights, Pantone.

Saying “no” to the regulation of our bodies is also saying: “No” to the regulation of our colors! Our bodies are already liberated, Laurie Pressman.

“No” in the name of color, “no” in the name of us!

Do not tell us that Pantone is an ally. It will be an ally when it liberates colors from their codes. Stop lying to us!

When Pantone says, “my shade,” we say, “our shades.”

We do not need your patterns nor your pantones!

No to Pantone, Yes to Political Tints!

#RojoNoPasarán

Contra Pantone Rojos Cromoactivos

A raíz de la nota publicada el 05 de octubre de 2020 en el diario Página/12*, donde se festeja el anuncio de Pantone y la creación de un nuevo tono “Period Red”,para su carta de colores, nos vemos pulsionadas a decir una vez más que no necesitamos el aliento de una empresa capitalista global que hace del color una propiedad privada, una mercancía estandarizada.

Si bien el color abre la posibilidad de hablar y eso a un medio le puede parecer simpático, recordamos que EL COLOR NO ES INOCENTE. Día a día se vuelve más necesario agudizar los sentidos, abrirlos a la palabra y contar con herramientas críticas sensibles para hacerle frente a un mundo avasallante y a empresas como Pantone-co sostenida sobre un capital cultural que nos pertenece a todes: el COLOR.

Como la misma nota lo afirma, Pantone-co creó un sistema de identificación y regulación del color, pero lo que no dice es que este sistema, atenta contra nuestra existencia de manera integral.

El color no es algo que pueda ni deba identificarse con un número de registro, no es algo que tenga que estar regulado por una empresa. El color se encuentra en constante movimiento y transformación. El color está en constante diálogo con su contexto. ¿Cómo podemos pensar que un color Rojo Período puede representar de manera universal nuestras paletas mensuales y cada tanto? Nuestros ciclos atraviesan momentos amarronados, amarillentos, blancuzcos, rosados, rojizos, negruzcos superpuestos a los colores de nuestra mano, las toallitas, ecolavables, copita, tampón, jean, sábanas, sillón, asiento de bus, chorrito en la playa, gotita sorpresa, ese tono de la primera vez, el secreto, la rara felicitación, nuestra memoria de lo que fue.

Esta paleta es pluriversal porque somos muches y diverses. No aceptamos que nos vendan lo que ya nos pertenece, ni que nos estandaricen. Hemos transitado muchas experiencias individuales y colectivas desde los feminismos, hemos aprendido a detectar la manipulación, el intento de control y muchas veces en nuestro nombre. Nosotres peleamos a diario por la liberación de nuestros cuerpos, nuestras vidas, nuestros territorios. Los colores son nuestros aliados

Activamos nuestra militancia poética, le dimos la palabra al color y ya no nos callamos ni naturalizamos el uso manipulador del color, que sólo intenta generar más violencia y desigualdad. Es inaceptable que en el 2020 haya personas que no tengan acceso a productos de gestión menstrual, que los hospitales y escuelas no tengan suficiente abastecimiento. El cuidado de nuestros cuerpos es un derecho.

El color no se comercia, los colores se comparten.

¡Por copitas, tampones y toallitas gratis!

Basta de lucrar con nuestras vidas, existencias y nuestras luchas colectivas, Pantone-co.

No a la regulación de nuestros cuerpos, es también decir: ¡No a la regulación de nuestros colores! Nuestros cuerpos ya están liberados, Laurie Pressman.

No en nombre del color, no en nuestro nombre!

No nos vengan a decir que Pantone es un aliado. Será aliado si libera los colores de sus códigos. ¡Basta de mentirnos!

Cuando Pantone dice “mi tono”, nosotres decimos “nuestros tonos”

¡No necesitamos sus patrones ni pantones!

¡Pantone No, Tinte Político Sï!

#RojoNoPasarán

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Valentina Di Liscia

Valentina Di Liscia is a staff writer for Hyperallergic. Originally from Argentina, she studied at the University of Chicago and is currently working on her MA at Hunter College, where she received the...

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