It's About Time We Had Redheaded Emoji

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Another day, another step closer to emoji equality. While the last update to everyone's favorite social media and messaging icons finally gave us professional women emoji, there has been one thing missing all along: redheads. According to Emojipedia, that may change.

At the next Unicode Technical Committee at Apple HQ in Cupertino, CA, which is scheduled for January 23, the Emoji Subcommittee will submit a proposal for redheaded emoji and redheaded updates to existing icons. Emojipedia reports that "the lack of a redhead emoji has been the most frequent complaint from Emojipedia users in the past three months."

Jeremy Burge, an author at Emojipedia and technical advisor to Unicode, explains that the proposal outlines the concept of a man and a woman with red hair. But that's just the start. Burge hopes to add redheaded variants for the dancing girl, facepalm, and more of your favorites: "I think the biggest reason we haven’t seen the redhead emoji gain much traction is that it’s a big ask to add a redheaded version of every single emoji," he told Mashable. "On the other hand, would it be enough to just had a man and woman with red hair?"

It might feel like you've been able to customize your emoji's skin color forever, but that feature wasn't actually added until 2015. The lack of redheaded options just proves that emoji have a long ways to go to be representative of everyone who's got a smartphone in their mitts.

The redhead revolution is nothing new. In 2014, Ginger Parrot, a website for redheads and redhead supporters, launched a petition to introduce redheaded emoji, "Redheads should have emoji, too!" With over 20,000 signatures collected so far, the site emphasizes that inclusivity and diversity should apply to hair color as well as gender, race, and other factors the Unicode Consortium has addressed. The petition reads: "If you say you're going to diversify, why not add a few red-haired emoji in the mix? Natural redheads may be rare at less than 2% of the world’s population but that is 138,000,000 iPhones waiting to happen."

Even if the Unicode Consortium approves a redheaded emoji set, it'll be a while before you'll see them on your actual phone. With 2017's deadline already in the rear view, the earliest we'd see any emoji proposed at this month's meeting is 2018.
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