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The redhead emoji: A timeline

The redhead emoji: A timeline

Happy World Emoji Day! We would normally take this opportunity to rally on about the need for ginger emoji representation, but not anymore – the redhead community’s efforts have paid off! And here’s how it happened…

In 2015, our petition gained traction straight away, and the list of signatures continued to grow and grow.

By the time nearly 7,000 signatures were collected, the BBC caught wind of the petition and helped spread the word with a feature on BBC Radio 5 Live!

Again in 2015, a carrot emoji emerged, but there was still no redhead emoji in sight…

Later on, in the summer of 2015, Dazed & Confused magazine showed their support for the campaign to see redheads recognised in emoticons. The article imagined what life would really be like, with ginger emojis. 

Soon after, Swyft Media created a new smartphone keyboard that introduced emojis with red hair. But, instead of the cutesy faces that were available to people with blonde, brown, and black hair on Samsung and Apple – these guys looked like something from a horror movie!

Let us be clear, it was never about adding your own ginger emojis because redheads have been missed off. It was always about inclusion. Redheads shouldn’t have to make an effort to fit in and create our own awkward keyboard to prove our existence.

In July 2015, Ginger Parrot’s petition to have ginger emojis added to the keyboard, was delivered to the Apple HQ in Cupertino, California. The petition, which had gained nearly 20,000 signatures, was put onto a USB stick, and decorated by a ‘carrot for justice’ case. Yep, we thought it was cute, too!

November 2015… what a time to be alive. printed a journal of petitions that have captured the power of social media, and our ginger emoji petition was included! 

In March 2016, almost a year since the petition for ginger emojis started, Unicode announced that redhead emojis were finally on their way! Unicode also announced that different hair colours for certain emoji characters were also on their way. These hair types/colours included blonde, brown, black, grey, bald, and GINGER!

To celebrate Pride Month in June 2016, same-sex couple, rainbow, and ginger emojis were added to Facebook. Facebook added the new characters to symbolise “gender-agnostic and multi-coloured options”, to “make emojis more representative of the world we live in”. 

In January 2017, yes a whole six months had gone by, emoji talks between Apple and Unicode started to take place. Unicode released a proposal, which explained why we had all been waiting for so long!

Jump to May 2017, Unicode revealed that as well as the redhead emojis, it was also exploring options for other ‘naturally occurring hair features’. These features included curly hair, white hair, and baldness, as detailed in a report

The Unicode report 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.”

But it wasn’t until February 2018 that Unicode completely confirmed that ginger emojis would make their way to our screens. Unicode revealed their list of emojis for the new Emoji 11.0 set, due to be rolled out to smartphone providers in mid-2018.

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To celebrate World Emoji Day in the summer of 2018, Apple gave a sneak peek of what their ginger emojis (and others!) would look like. These were expected to drop on iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch and Mac in September 2018 with their iOS 12 update.

But as you could have guessed… September came and went, and we were left empty-handed. 

We’d been teased so much with general comments and ideas of release dates, but the official Apple release date finally arrived in October!

Let 30 October 2018 be known as the day of ginger emoji equality!

Jump to July 2023, and we are wondering why oh why are there still only three redheaded emoji characters? Like, come on! It has been almost five years since redhead emojis were released – why is there no ginger person riding a bike, or flicking their hair? 

We want more, and we deserve it!

Happy World Emoji Day gang! Let’s keep giving those redhead emojis the attention that they deserve!

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