Thing 5: Emoji’s and Diversity

Thing 5 asks you to consider the impact of diverse representation via the emojis we all know and love.

I wrote a blog about the impact of emoji’s taking over how we write things, certainly in a colloquial manner.

I remember when it was in the news not so long ago, regarding the ability to change the skin tone of emoji’s on Apple phones. Then I remember when they introduced same sex couples and same sex parent families as emojis too. It was great to see that the operating system juggernauts were taking the worthwhile step in introducing a more diverse range of ways we can express ourselves.

There are some stereotypes that remain. Females are depicted as having long hair and wearing pink on some occasions – because that is the social expectation of instantly recognizable femininity.

Although this is a nice thought – allowing diverse emoji’s on phones… I think there are just too many bigger, scarier battles surrounding casual bigotry.

As part of my work for Thing 5, I was asked to go to BitEmoji and create an avatar that is like me and can therefore use it anywhere.

To be honest, I find this approach a bit more sensible than introducing endless box-ticking emoji’s on phones. Make your own so that it sums you up rather than run round looking for a pigeon hole to slot yourself into.

This is not a new concept though. Building your own avatars was thought of back in the days of Friends Reunited where you could make a ‘WeeMee’ avatar in much the same way and with much the same design. I think it would be interesting to see why this did not work out the first time around (otherwise we would all still have a WeeMee, right?).

I am committed to equality and inclusion and think any way of allowing this to grow further is a great way. However, if I am to just narrow my field of vision to the interesting world of emoji’s, I think the progress being made is great.

Cat x


One Comment Add yours

  1. Great post! I loved the earlier post about how emoji/emoticon are becoming so integrated into our online conversations too. This is why I feel that representation in emoji is quite important. Did you see Lorna M Campbell’s post for Thing 5 about Rayouf Alhumedhi, a Saudi teenager living in Germany who has submitted a proposal to the Unicode Consortium’s emoji subcommittee for the inclusion of hijab and keffiyeh wearing emojis? 🙂

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