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Emojis: The Newest Frontier for Diversity

Joe Ranvestel

Posted on February 10, 2019 20:12

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Dozens of new emojis are planned to release shortly, and some strange new ones are already among us. But when you see these designs, I have to wonder when the release is going to backfire for developers.

Emojis have come a long way over the past several years, and let us communicate in new ways. They have become very expressive and customizable, and express a wide variety of topics, feelings, etc. But some new emojis in the works seem strange, to say the least. 

For example, the newest emoji among us is the period emoji. Not the punctuation, the body function. 

After some campaigning from PlanInternational UK, the developers at Unicode Consortium have developed a red blood drop emoji, which is supposed to symbolize periods. I will give them credit for the tasteful choice; the original, more widely supported choice was blood stained pants, but the developers believe the red drop will better encapsulate their message. 

But that isn't the only one. Unicode is planning to release 280 new emojis, when factoring in new gender options, skin color options, and disability options. The move is being done in an effort to increase representation and diversity on the emoji platform. 

I'm not particularly sure why emojis are the new civil rights frontier; I remember when there were little more than emoticons, or the default emoji faces. It seems like an odd quest for Unicode, to spend their coding resources on diversifying emojis. But it's not much of a consequential move. 

What I'm waiting for is the inevitable backlash. For at least the past two years, the controversy of "digital blackface" has been popping up, garnering attention from fluff piece websites, mainstream news, and university analysts. For those unfamiliar with the concept, digital blackface is an ongoing controversy surrounding people who use black memes or emojis if they are not themselves black. I can't imagine that none of these 280 emojis are going to become the source of another, equally interesting controversy. And I'm very curious how long until someone writes an article or makes a protest sign, and how interesting it will be.  

Joe Ranvestel

Posted on February 10, 2019 20:12

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Source: Allure

The new curly-haired emojis Unicode is entertaining is a welcome addition of diversity to the emoji options, but some people...

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