News / Technology

Are Gender Neutral Emojis in Our Future?

As it stands, emojis are either women or men; plain and simple, black and white, but will emoji-creators take a step into the gray area? According to Rachel Thompson at Mashable, Unicode is looking to do just that.

Unicode is said to release three gender inclusive emojis by the end of the year. These emojis contain neither feminine nor masculine features and represent a human-being through the three big stages of life; childhood, adulthood and elder-hood

Paul D. Hunt, a typeface designer and font developer at Adobe, proposed this idea last October (Hyperlink Teenvogue) to showcase what people truly are underneath all these gender roles society throws at us, human, “I proposed the addition of the gender inclusive emoji characters in order to provide better representation for people who want to express themselves in emoji as exactly that: just people,” stated Hunt in a blog post.

The proposal (hyerlink to Unicode is up on the Unicode website under “A Note on Gender Spectrum and Neutrality”, “We recognize the importance of having an inclusive representation of all people in emoji, whether they identify with a specific gender or not. We believe an egalitarian, sensitive, and compelling representation of gender in emoji is extremely important.” Which I completely agree with, we live in a world where there are more than just the two publicized genders and why is it that other human-beings cannot be presented in the emoji world.

Jeremey Burge, the founder of Emojipedia and a member of Unicode’s emoji subcommittees, backs Hunt’s want for these gender neutral emojis. According to the LA Times, Burge believes gender-neutral figures (hyper-link LA Times) are among the most exciting additions to the emoji family and will present a new level of inclusivity that has not been seen since the early 2000s.

Back in the 2000s, emojis were not necessarily given gender identities, this is due to the low resolution display on phones at the time. Emojis were abstract and there was no such thing as gender roles, which is exactly what Unicode wants to bring back.

These emojis are more than simple up-for-interpretation things that can be used via text, this is a social movement toward further celebrating diversity and differences among people (Hyper-link This is a step into the gray area that society tries so hard to forbid, and lastly, this is a step toward equality among all genders even if the individual does not identify as any gender.

Apple has taken a step into the some-what gray zone when they realized their new set of working emojis. Apple now represents the job of police officer and construction worker,

“Not everyone identities as male or female. Some of us identify as a bit of both, or neither, or something else altogether. Regardless of your gender identity, I hope we can all find adequate ways to express ourselves in emojis,” Hunt said.