Inclusion

Proposal for one-piece swimsuit emoji draws fierce blowback from male coders

The bikini emoji (L) and the proposed one-piece swimsuit emoji (R).

The Unicode Consortium, a nonprofit organization that oversees, among other things, the implementation of emojis on phones and social media, is considering adding a one-piece bathing suit emoji following calls from women who want a less sexualized alternative to the longstanding bikini emoji. Florie Hutchinson, a 38-year-old independent arts publicist, and former New York Times Reporter Jennifer 8. Lee, the founder of Emojination, which advocates for inclusive and representative emojis, officially submitted a proposal for a one-piece emoji featuring a design by artist Aphee Messer in April.

“I have nothing against bikinis. I have worn them. But not every woman or girl wants to wear one, and they should have the ability to make another choice,” explained Hutchinson in an interview with The New York Times. “I wanted my girls, when they got old enough to have their own smartphones, to be able to see both, side by side.”

A mother of three girls — with a fourth daughter on the way — Hutchinson is already famous among emoji enthusiasts for leading the push for the flat shoe emoji as an alternative to the red stiletto emoji. Her call for change resonated on social media as renewed attention was brought to the few, and largely sexualized, emojis that made direct reference to women or traditional women’s clothing.

While the flat shoe emoji has since been approved — its inclusion into emoji lexicons is expected to begin this month — the petition for a one-piece is reportedly facing some stumbling blocks. Tow members of the International Organization for Standardization, Michael Everson and Andrew West, have spoken out against the one-piece emoji — deriding it as unnecessary and mockingly asking whether “a Victorian bathing costume” should also be included. Asked about the criticism, Hutchinson described their response as “archaic” and reflective of the dominance of “male coders, male feedback providers — men who sit on the committee.”

Read the full story at The New York Times.

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