Android users will have one more gender option for their emojis. Last week, Google submitted a document to the Unicode Consortium. It detailed the company’s plan to ensure more representation in emoji standards. And improve the experience even of those who will not use the novelty.
As reported in Emojipedia, the idea of Google is to create a neutral variant for emoji that has no gender option. Currently, each platform decides how it will display these images. This ends up reinforcing macho stereotypes. An example is the emoji “construction worker”, which is represented as a man by default. Even when the gender is not specified by the user.
This lack of consistency can also cause noises in communication between people using different devices. This is the case of the emoji of “facepalm”. It’s represented by a woman by most companies. But by a man in the case of Apple and WhatsApp.
Design of the new emojis with gender neutral Click on the photo to see it in the original size. Photo: Emojipedia / Reproduction.
Neutral Version of Emojis
In all these cases, Google has created a neutral version. In addition to making images more inclusive, it can decrease the number of emojis displayed by default on operating system keyboards. The novelty will be added to more than 50 emojis that already support more than two genres in Unicode.
If the company proposal is adopted, users will see the default option by default. Then they can select the male and female genres by touching emoji. More or less as it already happens on Gboard. It’s the Google keyboard for Android and iOS.
Example of how the user should see the new options. Photo: Emojipedia / Reproduction.
Google will release these changes on an Android update. But they depend on approval for their adoption by the Unicode Consortium and acceptance as a standard. Anyway, the support of one of the big tech companies in the process is important. So that the idea eventually applies to all emojis with human faces.