Following an (ongoing) two-year campaign to get a ginger emoji, World Emoji Day (17th July) seems like an apt day to analyse its progress to date, and to look forward to the steps still to come in the battle to get redheads represented in the emoji world.
From delivering a 15,000+ petition straight to the doors of Apple HQ in California, through to Unicode Consortium’s announcement of a future red-haired character, here’s the journey of the ginger emoji so far…
January 2015: Petition: Redheads should have emoji, too!
There’s every phase of the moon and two different sheeplike characters, but not one ginger? Natural redheads may be rare at less than 2% of the world’s population, but that is 138,000,000 iPhones waiting to happen.
The Change.org petition gained traction straight away, and the list of signatures continues to grow, even now!
April 2015: BBC got behind the ginger cause
April 2015: The ‘Gingers Have Souls’ kid got reeeeeally angry
Fair warning: there is a lot of swearing in this video.
May 2015: A carrot emoji was announced
…but still not a ginger in sight.
June 2015: Dazed imagined life with redhead emojis (and it’s amazing)
June 2015: Ginger emojis emerged, but don’t get too excited
A new smartphone keyboard came out introducing emojis with red hair. But despite Swyft Media’s attempt to integrate redhead emojis, they got it all wrong.
It’s not about adding your own ginger emojis because redheads have been missed off. It’s about inclusion. Redheads should be included in Apple’s emoji keyboard because it’s right; we shouldn’t have to make an effort to fit in and create our own awkward keyboard to prove our existence.
July 2015: Ginger emoji petition delivered to Apple HQ
Armed with a ‘carrot of justice’ USB pen containing 15,000+ signatures, Ginger Parrot’s Molly and other fellow redheads (we love you!) marched up to Apple HQ in Cupertino, California, and delivered the petition.
November 2015: It got in a book!
Change.org printed a journal of petitions that have captured the power of social media, and our ginger emoji petition was included! We were also invited to a launch breakfast where none other than redhead Lily Cole spoke to the crowd.
Double ginger whammy!
February 2016: Ron and Ginny Weasley backed the need for a ginger emoji
Need there be any other reason for a ginger emoji than two Weasley siblings coming together and demanding one?
March 2016: Unicode announced that redhead emojis are on their way!
Working in the same way as the skin tone modifiers that were added to Apple products in 2015, it will soon(ish) be possible to select different hair colours for certain emoji characters, namely blonde, black, brown, grey, bald, and…GINGER.
June 2016: Ginger emojis for Facebook arrived
These redhead emojis for Facebook are part of a release of 1,500 diverse characters, in what Facebook called “gender-agnostic and multi-coloured options”, to “make emojis more representative of the world we live in”. We applaud you, dear Facebook.
January 2017: Emoji talks begin between Apple and Unicode
Redhead emojis as imagined by Emojipedia
Unicode released an important proposal detailing the technical implementation of redhead emojis, ripe and ready to be discussed at Unicode’s Technical Committee meeting, hosted by none other than Apple themselves.
May 2017: Mock-ups of new redhead emojis based on Jessica Chastain and Ed Sheeran
Redheads 🙌 pic.twitter.com/sjHbGRLJ3m
— Jeremy Burge 🐥 (@jeremyburge) May 17, 2017
The latest development in the implementation of ginger emojis came when Jeremy Burge, Chief Emoji Officer at Emojipedia and member of Unicode’s Emoji Subcommittee, tweeted one of the stages of redhead emoji mock-ups, based on Jessica Chastain and Ed Sheeran.
Along with redheads, Unicode are also exploring options for other ‘naturally occurring hair features’, including curly hair, white hair, and baldness, as detailed in a recent report. It stated: “Requests for representation of red hair in emoji have been ongoing, yet prove a challenge to address due to a number of competing implementation options.”
The question of implementation is whether to simply create and add standalone ginger emojis (one male, one female) or to import a modifier that can be applied to all existing emojis that already give different hair colour options, such as brunette, blonde and grey.
July 2017: Ginger emojis for 2018!
On World Emoji Day, Jeremy Burge made us giddy with the following comment to The Guardian:
Emojipedia requests show a redhead emoji dominating requests for future additions. Redhead is now a candidate for 2018, as well as curly hair and a bald headed person.
Here’s to ginger emoji representation!