New Emoji Are Coming & They're Feminist AF

by Amée LaTour

Apple is taking a cue from the 2016 Olympics when developing its fall upgrade, which will include a new emoji lineup. Women will be almost equally represented at the Olympics as men; an estimated 45 percent of competitors in Rio de Janeiro will be female. That's more than in any previous Summer Games. And Apple's new female athlete emoji collection will boost their representation on your phone or iPad as well.

Apple's new emoji lineup includes women of different races engaging in various athletic activities, including weightlifting, running, surfing, and playing basketball. But the diversification won't be limited to sports; the new emojis were created to feature women in stereotypically male professions, including construction and detective work. They've also created emojis to represent different types of families, such as single-mom and single-dad families. Finally, we've got a brand-new rainbow flag emoji.

Apple will be releasing more than 100 emojis, some redesigned and others all-new, in the fall. If you have an iOS 10 iPhone or iPad, you'll have access to the new, more diverse emoji collection. This move is a smart decision on Apple's part, as the company has faced criticism from consumers and writers about its lack of female athlete emojis and the generally stereotypical nature of its female emojis to date.

In June, Shape called out Unicode, which develops emojis for Apple, for the lack of female athlete emojis. And in December, Mic featured a more general critique of the options for female emojis, which are largely limited to activities like getting a haircut, dancing, and getting married.

Some Apple consumers took to Twitter to echo their dissatisfaction with limited female emoji options as well:

These folks will be happy to know that Apple is responding to their criticisms. And though emojis may seem like a relatively minor topic in the grand scheme of things, their ubiquity, and particularly their high use rate among young people, means their designs matter. Emojis form one aspect of our culture which gives messages about gender roles and norms. It matters if the only images we are offered of women are brides and princesses.

And that's why Apple's move to make their emoji collection more inclusive — not just for women, but people of color and different types of families as well — is something to look forward to.

Image: Apple (2)