Person in Lotus Position

Roman Mars:
This is 99% invisible. I’m Roman Mars.

Mark Bramhill:
“Okay, I’m just going to record. Okay.”

Roman Mars:
And that is producer Mark Bramhill, recording himself.

Mark Bramhill:
“It is Monday, November 7th, 2016.”

Roman Mars:
So what’s happening here? Where are you? What is going on in this tape?

Mark Bramhill:
So I was getting ready to go to IBM’s headquarters in San Jose, California. I was going to give this presentation to about 20 people.

Mark Bramhill:
“I’m way more nervous than I thought I would be, but it’s happening. So I’m just going to practice running through a little planned script I have.”

Roman Mars:
So tell us what this presentation is about.

Mark Bramhill:
So I was getting ready to make a presentation for something that, if it was approved, would be used by millions of people all around the world. It would change every last cell phone, tablet, and laptop, all around the world.

Roman Mars:
All right, I’m sold. What is it?

Mark Bramhill:
Okay, so it was a proposal for a brand new emoji. You know those little pictograms we use to text each other – the thumbs up, the woman dancing or the little yellow faces that smile or wink or they wear sunglasses.

Roman Mars:
Okay. I know what an emoji is, Mark. Geez, I’m not that old.

Mark Bramhill:
“Okay. Okay. You can do this. You can do this.”

Roman Mars:
You sound so nervous.

Mark Bramhill:
I know. It’s really, really embarrassing.

Mark Bramhill:
“Okay, I’ll let you know how it goes.”

Roman Mars:
Okay, so before you tell us what your emoji was and whether it got approved, I feel like we should start with something like…

Mark Bramhill:
Why? Why am I doing this whole thing?

Roman Mars:
Exactly. Why are you doing this whole thing?

Mark Bramhill:
Right. So creating an emoji, it was not something that I actually planned on doing.

Roman Mars:
But you do cover this stuff, you have a podcast called ‘Welcome to Macintosh’. You cover things like the intersection of tech and culture. And so, this seems to be part of your beat.

Mark Bramhill:
Exactly. And you know, I think emoji, they’re kind of right at that intersection. They’ve become this really interesting part of the way that we communicate. They’re this kind of universally spoken language of pictures. But going into all this, I didn’t really know that much about emoji, so I reached out to Jeremy Burge, he’s the creator of Emojipedia.

Jeremy Burge:
My job is keeping on top of any new emojis and sort of documenting how they change over time. So for a real quick sort of history lesson on emoji, they started in Japan in the nineties.

Mark Bramhill:
The first set of emojis was designed for a Japanese cell phone company, by this guy named Shigetaka Kurita, in 1998. When texting was still really new, there were only 176 of them and they were 12-by-12 pixels each.

Roman Mars:
So that’s really low-res for an emoji, that’s super-low res.

Mark Bramhill:
Yeah, but these were like the first images that could be sent via text message, before photos or anything like that.

Jeremy Burge:
If you see the Japanese ones, they’re borderline no resemblance to what we see today. That was sort of very basic abstract pixel art.

Mark Bramhill:
So these super low-res emojis became really popular in Japan. And quickly, almost all Japanese text messages became dotted with these cute little pictures, but they were still only available on Japanese cell phones. And depending on which carrier people in Japan were using, these emojis could be different from phone to phone.

Jeremy Burge:
I might send you the hamburger and you might get the poo.

Mark Bramhill:
That’s a problem.

Jeremy Burge:
Yeah, yeah, yeah.

Roman Mars:
It seems like in our modern world of computers, this should not be happening.

Mark Bramhill:
Right. But the reason that this was happening, was that when different cell carriers in Japan added these images for their customers, they included them differently.

Mark Davis:
So let me take just a minute to explain what a character encoding is.

Mark Bramhill:
This is Mark Davis.

Mark Davis:
Every time you see a character on the screen, on your mobile or laptop, it’s always represented internally by a number. So there’s some number associated with the letter A.

Mark Bramhill:
So the problem in Japan, was that the companies weren’t coordinating about what emojis were assigned to what number. So one company might have the hamburger encoded as 46,790, while another carrier would have the poo encoded as 46,790. So when American cell phone companies decided that they wanted to enter the Japanese market, they knew that they needed the coding for these emojis to become standardized, and they turned to Mark and his organization, a group called the Unicode Consortium.

Mark Davis:
I’m the president of the Unicode Consortium. We’re people behind the curtains, making sure that everything works. Kind of like plumbers, you know, you don’t notice them as long as the water keeps flowing.

Mark Bramhill:
They’re doing the 99% invisible work of the internet, if you will.

Roman Mars:
I guess I’ll allow it.

Mark Bramhill:
So the Unicode Consortium had already been working on standardization for a while, not with emoji, but with text. The Consortium was founded back in the early days of the internet, when there was no universal standard for encoding text or anything else you saw online.

Mark Davis:
People at the time were really used to getting emails or looking at websites and they would see just jumbled up garbage on the screen, because it was the wrong encoding.

Roman Mars:
The internet used to be so ugly, like when you were a baby. You don’t even know, the internet was terrible then.

Mark Bramhill:
Yeah, I have heard stories, but you know, Unicode they were founded to help with that. Most of their work has to do with language, you know, making sure that even little known languages are legible across different websites and platforms.

Roman Mars:
That seems totally fair. Make the worldwide web worldwide. Make sure everyone can be represented.

Mark Bramhill:
Exactly. And ultimately Unicode became the be-all-end-all text encoding standard.

Roman Mars:
So since people were already relying on Unicode standardized text encoding, they thought, well why don’t we get these guys to do emojis for us too.

Mark Bramhill:
Yes, yes, precisely. Though when Unicode was first approached about emojis in the early 2000s, they weren’t interested. They thought that these cute little pictures, they’re probably a passing fad.

Roman Mars:
I think we were all kind of hoping and praying for that.

Mark Bramhill:
No Roman, no. Emojis are here to stay. And five years later, around 2006 Unicode realized emojis were not going anywhere. So they decided to take on the project of standardizing them. So they looked at all the different emoji that had been created by the Japanese carriers and sorted through them to establish an initial core library.

Roman Mars:
So what was in that original set of emojis?

Mark Bramhill:
It was kind of a hodgepodge, you know – two camels, four mailboxes, five trains.

Roman Mars:
Well, you need two camels, because you got the one hump and the two hump.

Mark Bramhill:
Yeah.

Roman Mars:
It’s important.

Mark Bramhill:
It’s really important. And so once they had that core library, Unicode decided that all additional emojis should be considered very carefully and voted on and approved by Davis and the rest of the Consortium. No more two camels slipping through the cracks.

Mark Davis:
Each emoji that we encode, we really have to think, does this sort of break new ground? Does it go in a new direction, is it going to be extremely popular? Because we know that faces, for example, are very popular. You know, that hearts are very popular and so on. So we try to weigh all these factors when we pick a set.

Roman Mars:
So these guys really do pick all the emojis that are on my phone, that they are the ones who decide.

Mark Bramhill:
Yeah, yeah, exactly. So four times a year, Unicode meets to consider all the proposals they have for new emojis and they are the final say in which ones are approved. And once an emoji is approved, it never goes away. Emoji can only be added, once an emoji, always an emoji, you know?

Roman Mars:
And so who comes up with these new ideas for emojis? Like who gets to submit proposals?

Mark Bramhill:
So I had this question too, and I asked Jeremy, the guy from Emojipedia, and this is what turned this story from idle curiosity into a year-long journey.

Mark Bramhill:
For the proposals, like who is actually responsible for bringing these emoji into the world?

Jeremy Burge:
Literally anybody, anyone on the planet, you could send a proposal right now and Unicode would look at it and there’s a chance that it could become an actual emoji.

Mark Bramhill:
So, like I could do this, like I could send, I could send a proposal in.

Jeremy Burge:
Yes.

Mark Bramhill:
So of course, when Jeremy told me that, I knew that I had to submit a proposal for an emoji.

Roman Mars:
Of course.

Mark Bramhill:
Yeah clearly.

Roman Mars:
Of course.

Mark Bramhill:
What better way to understand the process than to go through it myself? But I didn’t really have an idea for what I wanted to propose. So Jeremy gave me basic guidelines to think about.

Jeremy Burge:
That you should be trying to prove there’s already demand before you got involved. Don’t start a petition and generate demand.

Mark Bramhill:
He said that Unicode wants people writing proposals to cite evidence of demand, like hashtag usage on Twitter or Instagram or Google search trends. He also said that my proposed emoji should be visually distinctive.

Jeremy Burge:
If it looks the same as something else. It doesn’t matter if it means something different, emojis about what they look like.

Mark Bramhill:
But it can’t be too specific. Like it can’t be for this one really specific kind of dinosaur or whatever. And at the opposite end of the spectrum, it can’t be too vague. You know, if your emoji was just dinosaur, you might need more specificity like T-Rex.

Roman Mars:
Well, it’s a pretty fine line, but I think I get it.

Mark Bramhill:
Okay. Another thing, they don’t want to add an emoji that’s potentially just a fad.

Roman Mars:
Right, I get that. So you don’t want an emoji of like a, I don’t know, like a fidget spinner or something like that.

Mark Bramhill:
Yeah, yeah, exactly. Fidget spinners, who knows how long those will be around. You also can’t submit logos or brands, specific people, deities, et cetera.

Jeremy Burge:
Superman and Batman, Starbucks? Those are just not going to be included. They have to be generic.

Roman Mars:
So there are already like a few thousand emojis, right?

Mark Bramhill:
There’s 2,666 as we’re recording, but…

Roman Mars:
Well, there you go. So if you’re not going to do Batman and Superman, what doesn’t exist yet that you could actually propose?

Mark Bramhill:
So I actually asked Jeremy this, what do people really, really want? And this is what he told me.

Jeremy Burge:
So there is yoga because it’s a popular activity that a lot of people around the world do. And if somebody decided to submit yoga and/or meditating, I think that would be quite the winner.

Mark Bramhill:
So I’ll be honest, I had never done yoga. I had never meditated. I didn’t have particularly strong feelings about either one, but I wanted to pitch an emoji and this had good odds of being approved, so…

Roman Mars:
Namaste (beep).

Mark Bramhill:
Yeah, yeah. I went full namaste on this. Started doing all kinds of research about yoga and meditation. Did you know, for example, Roman, that there are 35 million Instagram posts with #yoga compared to #running’s paltry 31 million?

Roman Mars:
Well, clearly that means there has to be an emoji for yoga.

Mark Bramhill:
Right.

Roman Mars:
So what would you use to represent that?

Mark Bramhill:
So I actually decided to go with an image that I felt represented both meditation and yoga. A person in lotus pose.

Roman Mars:
And that’s the one where you sit cross-legged and you have your hands, like face up on each knee, right?

Mark Bramhill:
Yeah, yeah, exactly, the sort of famous cross-legged sitting pose, yeah. And so, I found some clip art on the internet to illustrate what the emoji might look like. And in the end I put together this eight-page proposal to submit to Unicode. I felt pretty good about it, but I wanted to run it by someone who had actually gone through the process.

Jennifer 8 Lee:
My name is Jennifer 8 Lee and I successfully proposed a dumpling emoji.

Roman Mars:
Her middle name is actually the number eight, which is so cool. And she was actually in an episode that we did about fortune cookies a while back.

Mark Bramhill:
Yeah. And she actually successfully made a fortune cookie emoji as well. Anyway, back in 2015 when Lee was working on getting the dumpling emoji added into Unicode, she learned that Unicode is this nonprofit, but it is controlled by a small handful of tech companies.

Jennifer 8 Lee:
You know, at that point, it had 11 full voting members, that paid $18,000 a year to vote. So out of those 11, eight of them were U.S. multinational tech companies. So it’s Oracle, IBM, Google, Apple, Facebook, Yahoo, Microsoft, and Adobe. So there’s really eight. Of the other three, they were the German software company, SAP, the Chinese telecom company, Huawei and the government of Oman.

Roman Mars:
Did she say the government of Oman?

Mark Bramhill:
Yeah, because remember most of what Unicode does has nothing to do with emoji, and mostly to do with encoding language on the internet. So the government of Oman is there to advocate for greater Arabic language support on computers.

Roman Mars:
Oh, that makes total sense.

Mark Bramhill:
Yeah. And now Lee is a part of the emoji subcommittee with Unicode. She can’t vote on which emoji get approved, but she is able to help novices like myself, navigate the difficult path to emoji land. So I showed her my proposal.

Jennifer 8 Lee:
It looks pretty solid…

Mark Bramhill:
Yes.

Jennifer 8 Lee:
But I think your emoji characters are a little bit ugly.

Mark Bramhill:
No.

Roman Mars:
Well, you did use clip art, man.

Mark Bramhill:
That’s fair, fair.

Jennifer 8 Lee:
Probably not the standard of emoji characters. So I don’t know where you got them, but you might do them in more of like either the Apple style or more of the Google style.

Mark Bramhill:
She was right. My design was not great. So I ditched these clip art images and hired a professional, a woman named Aphee Messer, just so that my case would be stronger and Unicode would have a better idea of what this emoji could look like. I polished up my proposal, named it Person Meditating and submitted it right at the deadline. And then a few weeks later….

Mark Bramhill:
So I’m just coming into the studio now. I just got an email from Unicode. Let’s see, let me load it up. It says, “The emoji subcommittee has decided to forward your proposal to the UTC. The document number will be L2/16-279. Regards, UTC.” All right. All right, that’s it. Woo!

Roman Mars:
So that sounds like good news, but what does that actually mean?

Mark Bramhill:
It basically means that I got through the first round, that Unicode was going to hold an official vote on my emoji. And at this point, you know, you can sit back and see what happens or if you are extra excited like I was, you can actually show up to a quarterly meeting of the Unicode technical committee and present your proposal in real life.

Roman Mars:
And so that brings us back to you being super nervous before your presentation, back in November.

Mark Bramhill:
Right.

Mark Bramhill:
“Okay, it is Monday, November 7th, 2016 and today is the day that I am presenting to the Unicode technical committee.”

Mark Bramhill:
But before we get to that, I want to talk about someone I met while I was there in the Bay Area. She was also there to make a presentation to Unicode. Her name’s Rayouf Alhumedhi.

Rayouf Alhumedhi:
My name is Rayouf Alhumedh. I’m 15-years-old.

Roman Mars:
She’s 15-years-old, like in high school, and she wrote up one of these proposals like you did?

Mark Bramhill:
Yeah, believe me, this is no small task.

Rayouf Alhumedhi:
I’ve never written any proposals whatsoever. The closest thing I’ve done were lab reports in science class.

Mark Bramhill:
But for Rayouf, this whole thing just had a totally different level of importance.

Roman Mars:
You mean that some people do this not just to make a cool radio story out of it?

Mark Bramhill:
Well, yeah. You know, because emojis represent culture and just like it matters to see a representation of your culture in television or movies, seeing yourself in an emoji can feel important in the same way. I mean, humans all over the world send something like 6 billion of these little things to each other every day.

Roman Mars:
Totally, they’re everywhere.

Mark Bramhill:
Yeah. And so in the last five years, Unicode has tried to represent more people, by adding characters with a range of different skin tones. They’ve added some gay characters, and a few gender-neutral androgynous ones as well, but there was still no one that looked like Rayouf, because she wears a hijab.

Rayouf Alhumedhi:
I felt like, you know, it’d be nice for me to see, have an emoji of myself on the keyboard that I could use.

Mark Bramhill:
Rayouf felt like her emoji would help other women who wear hijabs, feel more represented in mainstream culture.

Rayouf Alhumedhi:
Even though it is something small, I think it will, you know, just normalize the hijab.

Mark Bramhill:
You’ll definitely be the coolest, like coolest kid…

Rayouf Alhumedhi:
Like, if it does pass, I just told my friends we’re going to have to celebrate, like I’m going to bring cupcakes of the emoji to school for everybody. Even for the teachers. It’d be something so amazing if hopefully, it does pass.

Roman Mars:
Well now I’m totally rooting for Rayouf.

Mark Bramhill:
They can choose more than one Roman. You can root for us both.

Roman Mars:
Yeah, but if it’s between you and her, it’s definitely her.

Mark Bramhill:
Okay. That’s fair, that’s fair. So Rayouf and I were both presenting to Unicode on the same day.

Mark Bramhill:
“I’ll be presenting at 2:00.”

Rayouf Alhumedhi:
“I’m presenting at 11:30.”

Mark Bramhill:
“Okay, so I’ll miss you.”

Mark Bramhill:
When it was my turn, they made me turn off my microphone. So I don’t have tape of what I said, but basically, I gave a little spiel about why the world was in dire need of a yoga emoji. I got a few laughs, some nodding heads, it lasted about five minutes and then I took a few questions. After it was over, I stood there kind of waiting for some indication of whether, you know, the committee liked it.

Roman Mars:
And did they like it?

Mark Bramhill:
They wouldn’t say. Finally, someone told me basically, ‘You need to leave so we can vote.’ So I left and I just figured that they’d be in touch soon.

Roman Mars:
Oh, okay.

Mark Bramhill:
Yeah.

Roman Mars:
So if your emoji is approved, then what happens next?

Mark Bramhill:
So even though I submitted this really beautiful visual for my person meditating emoji, it’s really more just to demonstrate what it could look like. And ultimately if the emojis approved, Google and Facebook and Apple and all the other platforms, will get to decide what exactly person meditating looks like in their own platform style. So I talked to someone from Google about this.

Rachel Been:
My name’s Rachel Been. I’m a creative director at Google on the material design team.

Mark Bramhill:
But she has another title too.

Rachel Been:
Oh yes. I am also, funnily enough, the Creative Director of Emoji at Google.

Mark Bramhill:
Once Rachel Been and her team get the list of new emojis and their codes from Unicode, they’ll design the images to be used on all of Google’s Android phones.

Roman Mars:
And what kind of guidance do they get from Unicode about how to draw them, how to make them look?

Mark Bramhill:
Right, so they don’t actually give them all that much. They give them the name of the emoji and a few keywords of things it might represent. Occasionally, they might give a little bit of guidance of, you know – the bagel emoji, it should be drawn sliced, so that people won’t confuse it with the donut.

Roman Mars:
Right. So that makes it so that Google emojis look different from Apple emojis and they look different from Twitter emojis, they’re all really different.

Mark Bramhill:
Yeah, exactly. Characters might be facing in a different direction or have different outfits on or maybe dance in another style, but they should all illustrate the same basic concept. And recently Rachel Been and her team at Google have redesigned the entire library of Android emojis. For all the emojis that weren’t just disembodied faces, the team had to deeply consider all the clothing and accessories that they were wearing, because they’re designing for a global audience. Take for example, the farmer emoji.

Rachel Been:
Originally, we had designed the farmer emoji, very American-Gothic style. So you know, a pitchfork and wearing overalls.

Mark Bramhill:
But a lot of farmers all around the world, they don’t actually use pitchforks. That’s kind of an old and very American characterization.

Rachel Been:
And also the overalls to some degree weren’t necessarily the outfit that most farmers globally wear. So we changed the actual prop that the farmer was holding into a grain. So to really put more emphasis on what’s grown universally versus tools that may not be universally used.

Mark Bramhill:
And this kind of global inclusivity, is the same stuff they’ll have to consider with the emoji that I proposed, you know, of the person meditating, what will it wear?

Rachel Been:
Like what’s the color of the clothing? Is he or she, are they going to be wearing leggings, a leotard, a T-shirt?

Roman Mars:
You know, it’s good that they’re thinking about this, but the Google designers are never going to really be able to fairly represent all cultures.

Mark Bramhill:
Right. And Unicode is this governing body with a bunch of representatives, but they’re all mostly from these big tech companies. And so this whole system, it kind of irks people.

Keith Winstein:
It’s not a good system. You shouldn’t have to ask these people’s permission.

Mark Bramhill:
This is Keith Winstein.

Keith Winstein:
I’m Keith Winstein. I’m an Assistant Professor of Computer Science here at Stanford

Mark Bramhill:
And he says, you know, if there is not an emoji that represents you or your culture, Unicode’s process for getting one is not exactly quick.

Keith Winstein:
So having to wait, you know, two or three years for it to end up in the standard, that’s a long time.

Mark Bramhill:
It doesn’t take quite that long anymore. It’s closer to one or two years. But still, Winstein points out that there are already platforms like Slack that let you take an image and make it emoji-sized, where you don’t need to go through Unicode.

Roman Mars:
Yeah, totally. Because Kurt Kohlstadt on our staff, he does this and he makes a little emoji for every episode, and we share it when the episode comes out. And it’s just a little picture, it’s not really an emoji.

Mark Bramhill:
Exactly. And so there is no special encoding process required to make them.

Keith Winstein:
This is a much simpler way of doing it, rather than trying to cram everything into Unicode.

Mark Bramhill:
And even though I think Winstein gets at some really important criticisms, if we went to a system where we really just sent tiny pictures, then the thing that I really love about emojis, would kind of be lost. Which is that they’ve turned into this sort of universal standardized language of pictures. Like the idea that some stranger in Argentina and I are both sending a heart eyes emoji to express love, I think there’s something really cool about that.

Roman Mars:
That is a nice quality to them, that they’re universal. So what happened with your meditating person? You must know by now.

Mark Bramhill:
So for a few days after my presentation, I still hadn’t heard anything, like no email thanking me for my proposal and letting me know when I’d hear back or anything like that. It was just total radio silence. And then, I was just scrolling on Twitter.

Mark Bramhill:
“So I just saw that Emojipedia has tweeted about some of the new emoji. Let’s see, I’m opening up the page. Person with a beard, star eyes, zebra, giraffe, the hijab emoji passed, that’s really cool. I’m not seeing mine. A serious face with symbols covering mouth, face with open mouth vomiting. Ooh, it’s person in steamy room, person climbing, person in lotus position for yoga and meditation. That’s mine. It passed. All right, there we go.”

Roman Mars:
So that’s it, yours passed. More importantly, Rayouf’s passed, that is so great.

Mark Bramhill:
Yeah. Both of ours were accepted, and I am super excited about it as you could probably tell. So they changed the name of mine from person meditating to person in lotus position. You know, Unicode really likes the specificity of these things. And as of now, we’re recording in August of 2017, it’s not on your phone just yet, but person in lotus position, the hijab emoji and all these new ones, should be on your phone by the end of the year.

Roman Mars:
So when you get the person in Lotus position emoji on your phone, you can think of Mark and how he doesn’t even like yoga.

Mark Bramhill:
No, but that’s the thing, I actually have started doing yoga and meditation. It’s one of the many things that came out of doing this story for me. A huge new appreciation of yoga and meditation.

Roman Mars:
Well, that’s remarkable. Well then, namaste for real then.

Mark Bramhill:
Namaste, Roman. You know, that just means hello, right?

Credits

Production

Producer Mark Bramhill of Welcome to Macintosh spoke with Jeremy Burge, creator of Emojipedia; Mark Davis, co-founder and president of the Unicode Consortium; Rayouf Alhumedhi, creator of Person with Headscarf emoji; Jennifer 8 Lee, creator of Dumpling emoji; Rachel Been, creative director at Google on the material design team; and Keith Winstein, assistant professor of computer science at Stanford. Special thanks to Cara Rose DeFabio for retelling this story in emoji.

Comments (16)

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    1. 99BiT42

      What is it with th crazy popularity of tacos in tinder profiles and emojis these days?!?

  1. Gray Hambing

    Health worker emoji is wearing his stethoscope over his shoulders, E.R. style.

    Just sayin’.

  2. Graeme F

    In the episode, you said that once an emoji is created, it’s forever. Well, what about the “gun.” It’s now a green water gun.

    1. 99pi

      Kurt here from 99pi – I’m not an expert, but my understanding is that Apple chose to interpret the gun as a water gun, but that the ‘pistol emoji’ is still a Unicode standard (each platform can interpret them differently). https://emojipedia.org/pistol/

  3. For the Vexillologists out there; is the process for getting a flag emoji the same? There are a number of obscure flags on the list (e.g. St. Pierre and Miquelon).

    Love the show!!!

  4. Pocky1209

    Longtime listener, first-time commenter.
    That original emoji set brought back memories from my time as an exchange student in Japan.
    Not only cellphones were everywhere, but they were in COLOR!
    Think about the Nokia and Motorola of that period… Dull monochromatic.
    That surely helped spread the use of emojis!!
    Some of them are so specific, it’s adorable! Or the order of sports… Baseball, golf and eventually soccer. So cute!!

  5. Coline

    It was a great episode thank you, made a couple friends listen to it again. And now every time I notice an emoticon I wonder is there some kind of white male bias in that choice :) sorry cant help. And I just found a glaring one I need to share !!! And this seems to be a good place.

    There is now a pregnant woman emoji, ok cycle of life, maybe you want to announce your pregnancy with an emoji why not… but there is also a breastfeeding woman🤱 … but NO woman bottle feeding a baby and NO MAN feeding or even just holding a baby… because you know american society just loves putting pressure on women to breastfeed and be stuck doing so and taking the greater share kid’s care, instead of bottlefeeding and be able to resume work and share evenly the burden of childcare with the father, who’s not even expected to hold a baby.
    Funny how all the familly emojis combinations are so respectful of all gender and sexual preferences … because it would be too obvious if not.

    But the minute a baby is held and fed in a emoji, back to the roots of gender inequality and all the centuries of women’s oppression by men.

  6. Sarah

    Totally late on this but I’ve been meaning to comment on this for ages. The fact that Slack forced the switch-over to the horrendous new Google emoji reminded me of this episode which mentioned (I think ironically) the awful redesign of the Google emoji on a podcast about good design. Every comment on the article by Rachel Been announcing the change politely protested the change. In particular, this one comment really stands out, with a great analysis of what makes the new Google emoji *so* bad that I think 99PI listeners would enjoy reading: https://medium.com/@susanlau/i-want-to-keep-this-comment-objective-but-i-already-know-im-going-to-fail-7d756c618d35

    For those interested in the probably vain attempt to bring back the good ol 90s-era gradient-free blob emojis, there’s both a petition & official developer request to do so: https://issuetracker.google.com/issues/38440592

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