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The #LikeAGirl Campaign from Always is Back and Fighting for Female Emoji

Always
Always' laudable #LikeAGirl campaign, which aims to demolish negative gender stereotypes, returned last week in full force. Having already led the charge against the negative statements and sentiments often encountered in spoken or written communication, now they're going after the distinctly more modern equivalent: the emoji.

Emoji have become so ingrained in modern communication, effectively forming a rudimentary language of their own, that it is now essential for the library to include options to represent all genders, ethnic groups and walks of life. A failure to provide this could lead to certain groups feeling forgotten, misunderstood and unable to properly express themselves in the era of digital communication.

The particular problem that Always have picked up on is the serious lack of female emoji, especially in the professional range. I must admit, before the campaign brought the issue to my attention I had never really picked up on the lack of representation on show here. A quick flick through the available emoji does in fact show an alarming trend; just about every female face in the range is represented as pretty, pink and pampered.


These sentiments sound like the dated perceptions of a century ago, and it is genuinely worrying that they seem to have carried over, albeit inadvertently, into modern communication. The problem is highlighted further as the young women appearing in the video scan through the emoji on offer, and their faces fall as the realisation clicks in. In the professional range, not one female emoji was found, unless, as one girl points out, you count being a bride as a profession.

Now Always are calling for people around the world to share their own ideas for empowering female emoji using the #LikeAGirl hashtag. Representatives from the brand have already approached the Unicode Consortium to appeal for a broader range, but Unicode president Mark David wouldn't fully commit to any specific changes, simply stating, “the Consortium has been working on full representation of gender in emoji. We appreciate the efforts that Always is taking to collect feedback and input into the process for new emoji characters.”

Some of the suggestions made by the girls in the video include a female wrestler, police officer, detective and 'super badass'. Although some of the YouTube comments have accused Always of kicking up a fuss about a non-issue, I find it surprising in a world full of talented, inspirational women at the top of their game, that this is not represented in day-to-day life. Where is the female writer in the wake of J.K Rowling's success? Or the UFC fighter after competitors like Ronda Rousey and Holly Holm proved to the world that women can be traditionally powerful?

It's time to move past the idea of these pretty, pink and pampered women, and instead focus on their power, potential and personality. Then, maybe, we can move into an era of true equality.



Sam is an aspiring novelist with a passion for fantasy and crime thrillers. Currently working as Editor of Social Songbird, he hopes to one day drop that 'aspiring' prefix. Follow him @Songbird_Sam


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The #LikeAGirl Campaign from Always is Back and Fighting for Female Emoji Reviewed by Sam Bonson on Tuesday, March 08, 2016 Rating: 5

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