Android

There might be some Emoji controversy with the 2018 Emoji rollout


An image depicting the Emoji at the center of the Emoji controversy within Android P. Emojipedia

  • The default Emoji selections for “family” and “couple” now are gender-neutral depictions in the latest Android P beta.
  • The heteronormative versions of the Emojis are still there, they are just not the default for that choice.
  • Other Emoji changes previously announced for 2018 make their way into the latest Android beta.

We’ve written previously about the new sets of Emojis slated for release this year. But those of you who are trying out the Android P beta versions and upgraded to the third developer’s preview today are the first who get to actually use those Emojis.

Some users might be in for a bit of a surprise.

According to the official Emojipedia, the latest Android P beta features some gender-neutral Emojis by default, rather than the heteronormative defaults Android currently uses. This is likely to cause some controversy, as these gender-neutral Emojis now supersede the heteronormative ones.

If you’re confused by this, allow me to explain. When you use the word “family” to search for a family Emoji, you usually don’t signify that you want the Emoji that shows a man, a woman, and a boy. You just type “family” and that’s the one that shows up automatically.

However, according to Unicode standards, this is incorrect. The default family Emoji should instead be a gender-neutral display because no signification is given to the specifics of that family. It’s similar to the “thumbs up” Emoji, which defaults to an inhuman yellow color unless you specifically select the thumbs up Emoji that matches your own skin tone.

In the latest Android P beta, this error is rectified, so when you type in things like “family” or “couple,” the gender-neutral will show as default:

An image depicting the Emoji at the center of the Emoji controversy within Android P. Emojipedia

To be clear, the heteronormative Emojis are not going anywhere; you will still be able to send an Emoji of a man, a woman, and a boy, or a man and a woman with a heart. It just won’t be the default anymore.

In the Android P DP3 release, only the family and couple Emojis adhere to this rule, but it’s likely Google will adopt a similar strategy for the full release of Android P and institute the rule across all Emojis.

An image depicting the Emoji at the center of the Emoji controversy within Android P. Emojipedia

In less controversial news – but still working towards inclusiveness – there are also redhead Emojis added to the Emoji canon. This new hairstyle will join curly hair, white hair, and bald heads in the future.

Finally, the previous changes to certain Emoji also appear in the latest Android P beta, including the pistol’s change from a life-like gun to a water pistol.

If you would like to try Android P DP3, you’ll need a compatible device and the system images, which you can learn more about here.

NEXT: The 2019 Emoji candidates feature an accessibility theme





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