Representation matters—even in your iPhone’s Emoji inventory. Recently, the Emoji app incorporated more people of different skin tones, but their options for women are still lacking.
MAKERS, an organization that aims to create the largest-ever collection of women’s stories, made the call for “Femojis” in a blog post yesterday. They commented on why Apple’s new Emoji “diversity” still leaves much to be desired: “While this initiative is certainly commendable, their collection of female emojis remains limited to being a bride, a princess, or a geisha.”
You may ask how representation on Emojis can matter when compared to, for example, the amount of representation girls see in Congress or as their college professors. As MAKERS stated: “Compared to larger global women’s issues, emojis may seem insignificant, but these tiny characters have become the primary language young girls use to express themselves in text messages or on social media.” Language is, after all, what constructs the very world we live in, and for girls in the pivotal developmental period of adolescence, Emojis comprise the digital language they have at their disposal. It’s how they tell their own stories.
That’s why MAKERS’ varied list of Femoji’s is so awesome. It includes women such as police officer Val Demings, Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, and mogul Oprah Winfrey. Check out the full slideshow here!
This same fight for representation is reflected in the Women on 20s campaign, which Harriet Tubman won as the new proposed face of the $20 bill. (A huge improvement, in my opinion, over the exceptionally racist and oppressive President Andrew Jackson.) The vote for the winner online got huge press not just among feminist outlets, but also in the mainstream media—people want to see someone like Tubman on the $20 because they want their daughters to see her there.
We think it’s imperative that Apple includes a diversity of women engaging in a diversity of activities in their Emoji library. C’mon, it’s the 21st century. Girls have iPhones. It’s incongruous that those iPhones reflect images from decades past when we have progressed in so many other ways.
Images via MAKERS