Last week, news came that the great emoji disparity would finally be addressed: In Apple’s next version of its phone and desktop operating systems, users would be able to type emoji people of color. Most humanoid emojis previously had white skin by default—now they could be one of six tones determined by the Fitzpatrick Scale.
But skin tone, say some, is not enough.
“If you say you're going to diversify, why not add a few red-haired emoji in the mix?” asks Emma Kelly, the site’s proprietor. “Natural redheads may be rare at less than two percent of the world's population, but that is 138,000,000 iPhones waiting to happen.”
Kelly isn’t the only advocate who says hair is the next frontier of emoji diversification. Writing at the Guardian, Rhik Samadder noted that there are no emojis for beards or afros. Survey the list of humanoid emojis, and the hair is mostly black, brown, and straight.
Kelly and Samadder’s pleas are half-jokey and a little self-aware, but they hit upon an important truth. There is already an emoji, one that has long predated the newer diversification efforts, titled simply “Person With Blonde Hair.” Blond-ness, in other words, has been recognized by the Unicode Consortium, whichnames emoji. Oughtn’t Unicode recognize gingers, curls, and frizz?