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Are emojis representing men and women fairly?

Are females too often the default? And should we even care?

Here's a discussion that, if you went back in time 10 years and tried to explain it to someone, they would probably just stare blankly as you laid out what the heck emojis are and why they're so popular.

This question popped up on a Reddit thread: Is Google under representing men in its default emoji choice?

The user who poses this question is Chachicaco. They argue 63 percent of the upcoming Google emojis are default female, while just 37 percent are default male.

"I feel like Google have taken the 'woman being under represented' to the extreme and now men are being unrepresented surely?" he wrote, later adding it's "really a non-issue but come on Google, this is not representative." For example, here are some of the upcoming emojis (which will be a part of the Android O update this year), as captured by Ars Technica.

You'll see that emojis like judge and farmer and chef at the top left are shown as women on the main keyboard.

Emojipedia noted in the spring that many of the new emojis will show up on your keyboard as a specific gender. It doesn't mean that male and female emojis for these won't both exist. But to access a different gender, you need to take the extra step of holding down on the keyboard and picking the one you want.

(H/t to @robaeprice for the Reddit link.)

Is it under representing men?

Males slightly outnumber females in the world, with about 49.55 percent of the globe's population female in 2015, Quartz reported. So technically, yeah – the balance of Google default emojis could be considered a bit off.

But who uses emojis the most? Women.

A 2015 report from Emogi found 78 percent of women used emojis frequently, while just 60 percent of men did. And one researcher found women used emojis about twice as often as men, herizons reported.

Emojis aren't disappearing anytime soon, either. TheNextWeb found 74 percent of people use them regularly.

So what's the verdict?

"Well this is a detailed dissection of a non issue," one person wrote on Reddit. Plenty of people feel that way. But others clearly get where Chachicaco is coming from – and there is evidence emoji presentation has an impact on real-world perceptions.

Always feminine products asked a bunch of 16- to 24-year-old girls about female emojis. About half said the options were stereotypical and didn't represent many interest girls have. And 76 percent said emojis shouldn't show girls only doing "girly" things.

And Google employees submitted a request to the emoji governing body, asking for more variation among female emojis. It led to the adoption of more professional women emojis, and wider gender options, as Bustle wrote.

None of this conversation even touches on the racialimplicationsthathavebeendiscussed.

NextWeb once pointed to research, showing we react to emojis as emotional nonverbal communication. Not as written words.

So whatever your personal thoughts, it isn't at all surprising that people would have an emotional reaction to how emojis – something people use and see in their life all day, every day – are presented.

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