This year has brought us a seemingly unending protests in the fight for equality. Sure, equal rights and equal pay seem to attract attention, but in our humble opinion, none is more important than the recognition of the redhead by whoever runs that emoji keyboard.
After a decade of tweeting into the void, and some false alarms with the iOS 12 release in September, we redheads celebrated that we will finally have a choice that doesn’t involve picking a brunette or blonde. That’s right, America: we may have a senator, a congressman, a late-night host, and even a few sex symbols, but until that magical iOS 12.1 update, the redheads of the world simply did not reach the recognition of the all-important emoji.
Your authors have personally felt the sting of this injustice, and have had many debates about whether redheads should use the blonde or brunette emojis.
Redheads only make up 2 percent of the population, and we must constantly correct misinformation about us. We are real human beings with souls, no matter what lies are spread by “South Park.” With the assistance of SPF, all of us can walk in the sunlight.
We don’t all have terrible tempers, even though one of your authors does. And we are not disappearing altogether into growing ranks of blondes and brunettes (no offense, folks). Yet Apple chose to prioritize the following emojis before acknowledging redheads:
- Zombies, undead creatures defined by the lack of a human soul;
- Vampires, characterized by their inability to walk in sunlight;
- Fairies, who, as Tinkerbell taught us, have incredibly volatile tempers and fits of rage;
- Tyrannosaurus Rex and Brachiosaurus, both actually extinct; and
- Apple even gave us the middle finger before they gave us redheaded representation.
Despite our recent victory, redheads are still faced with disenfranchisement if they want to use any other hairstyle, expression, or character on the emoji keyboard. When Apple made its initial effort to expand diversity in emojis, it didn’t simply give us a single emoji with darker skin or hair—they made sure every emoji had diverse hair and skin colors as an option. Why aren’t redheads given the same representation?
Sure, we’ll all go ahead and use the redhead we’re given, but what if you want to shrug or raise your hand to volunteer as tribute? What if you’re known for your ponytail or braids? What the heck is Pippi Longstocking supposed to do here? Anne of Green Gables? No luck, ladies, you’re stuck with a practical bob. We are still, quite literally, the redheaded stepchild of emojis.
Still, for those of you who know what it’s like to be the one kid who always looks terrible in your sports uniforms if they are any shade of red, has been made fun of for freckles, and has had to deal with creepy questions about whether you have “natural red hair,” this emoji is for you.
It has been a long and hard-fought battle to give redheads our rightful place in the emoji world, but the struggle continues. Rest assured, we will not stop fighting until we have taken over that whole keyboard.