On July 17, the World Emoji Day, the Unicode Consortium announced a series of new proposed additions to their list, including the figures of a pregnant man emoji.
Additionally to a pregnant man, a multiracial handshake was also added along with tens of other faces, symbols and gestures.
The new changes aim to include more gender-neutral options, as well as more skin tones to the already-extensive list of emojis.
The new proposed additions to the list are on top of already-made changes. One of the most recent was the one that allowed billions of users to choose between a male and female bearded face.
This ”will mean that nearly all emojis can have default a gender-neutral option, with the choice to use a woman or man where relevant,” Jeremy Burge, the chief emoji officer of the reference site Emojipedia was quoted as saying by the British newspaper The Guardian.
Why pregnant man as an emoji?
First of all, we need to understand what emojis are.
These symbols are mainly pictograms, as well as logograms, ideograms and even smileys that have been used for years in electronic messages and web pages. The primary function of an emoji is to fill in emotional cues otherwise missing from the typed conversation, which can sometimes be misinterpreted.
Emojis exist in various types and genres, including facial expressions, everyday objects, existing places, types of weather, and animals. They are much like emoticons, but emojis are pictures rather than typographic approximations.
The term “emoji” comes from the Japanese word emodzi, which means picture character. The popularity of emoji has caused pressure from vendors and international markets to add additional designs into the Unicode standard to meet the demands of different cultures.
However, scientific research has shown that emojis are often misunderstood.
In some cases, this misunderstanding is related to how the actual emoji design is interpreted by the viewer, whilst in other instances, the emoji that was sent is not shown in the same way on the receiving side. Additionally, some emojis have been involved in controversy due to their perceived meanings.
Multiple arrests and imprisonments have followed the usage of pistol, knife, and bomb emojis that authorities in many countries deemed credible threats to the security of the community or an individual.
Now, according to the Unicode Consortium, the Unicode Emoji Subcommittee regularly reviews proposals for new emojis, as they aim to include more people, cultures, ideas, religions and beliefs.
”The selection criteria are fully defined here, but in essence, they boil down to this: a) will the image work at the small size at which emoji are commonly used, b) does the emoji add to what can be said using emoji or can the idea be expressed using existing emoji, c) is there substantial evidence that a large number of people will likely use this new emoji,” the Consortium states in its website.