emoji speak louder than words

Emoji Refuse to Conform to Your Outdated Binary

Who else is looking forward to a male bride emoji?
Who else is looking forward to a male bride emoji?

Now that Unicode has given users the option of changing their emoji’s skin color, the next step might be letting us change our emoji’s gender.

For the uninitiated, the Unicode Consortium is, as defined by the New York Times, “an obscure organization that standardizes the way punctuation marks and other text are represented by computer systems.” The Daily Dot reports that Peter Edberg, an Apple engineer, and Mark Davis, who works as an engineer at Google and is the president/co-founder of the Unicode Consortium, submitted a proposal for new guidelines that would allow users to not only change the gender of their emoji, but also hair color and direction. (Ironically, all 13 people who worked on the proposal are men.)

How would users be able to implement these different settings for these new emoji options? The proposal suggests a “’Mr(s) Potato Head’ approach, whereby glyph pieces are assembled for a particular image.”

Considering emoji ascribe to many gender stereotypes, this would be a big leap. A survey sponsored by Always (the company that makes menstrual pads) said that 54 percent of girls from 16 to 24 think that “female emojis are stereotypical.” And they certainly are, considering there are no professional women emoji, but the Consortium’s current roster includes a bride, an “information desk person,” and a woman getting a haircut.

As of now, this new plan for emoji exists as a proposal, so it’s unclear when these new options will be on your phone, but let’s hope it’s sooner rather than later.