Let's face it: Communicating with emoji characters has become a way of life. I'd dare someone to think of the last time they had a full conversation via text or on a social media platform that did not involve the use of at least one smiley face or side-eye emoji. They are certainly used quite liberally in my everyday conversations. And while emojis are not the answer to fixing racism, sexism, and misogyny, it doesn't hurt to have more emojis that more closely represent our society. That's why news that the new iOS emoji are different this time around is so crucial: It's all about inclusion.
On Monday Apple released more than one hundred redesigned emoji characters that aim to quash stereotypical gender roles and provide more professional and athletic options for genders. The company added depictions of single-parent families, a new rainbow flag, and female characters in athletic and professional emoji, like a woman detective, that were previously only depicted as men. According to its website, Apple is working with Unicode Consortium to make emojis more diverse:
...This exciting update brings more gender options to existing characters, including new female athletes and professionals, adds beautiful redesigns of popular emoji, a new rainbow flag and more family options. Apple is working closely with the Unicode Consortium to ensure that popular emoji characters reflect the diversity of people everywhere.
This update follows the 72 new emojis released by Unicode Consortium in June, which included a face palm, bacon, and the much-talked about black heart emoji. It seemed like a lot of people were excited to broadcast their black heart, but perhaps not as excited as when emojis with varying skin tones were released in 2015. Regardless, that update was definitely a big step towards inclusion, especially considering smartphone-users represent all races, and ethnicities. And now, families, athletes and professionals are more accurately represented by gender, and rightfully so.
As BuzzFeed pointed out, the representation works both ways – not just an inclusion of women. Apple also added male characters to pampering-emojis, like the hair cut and scalp massage emoji. Women aren't the only ones who get pampered, or take care of their hair, so the addition of male characters is accurate – and the inclusion should continue.
According to the Apple website, the new redesigned emojis will be available to iPad and iPhone users this Fall. I'll personally use the woman-playing-basketball emoji because I was never good enough to make the team — but I'm still proud of my occasional three-point shot.