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At long last, the redheaded emoji is on its way. It’s about time!
The Unicode Consortium, the governing body that decides what emoji get added to the list of official iconography, recently recommended a red-haired emoji as one of 67 proposed new characters. Other additions include a head with tightly curled brown hair and a head with no hair. Clearly, head and hair democratization is a priority on some level.
Other emoji include a red frown face with a bead of sweat, which would indicate being hot or overheated; a frown face with question mark eyes, to indicate you’re confused; a sad poop emoji; and body parts including a bone, leg, and foot. Science-related emoji such as a lab coat and science goggles are also in the mix. And of course, an emoji update wouldn’t be complete without some important new animals: a llama, kangaroo, peacock, and parrot (party parrot?), among others.
Apparently, the missing red-headed emoji has been one of the most complained about items Emojipedia hears about. (Emojipedia documents all the approved emoji and what they look like on various platforms.) In fact, a petition out of Scotland garnered more than 21,000 signatures on the issue. Redheads make up roughly 2 percent of the world’s population, which equates to around 138 million iPhone users, according to that petition.
The 67 proposed emoji are still in draft form. The Unicode Consortium will select the final candidates at a meeting in Q4 later this year. From there, the group will decide on final designs and names. Then, the approved emoji will be released as part of Unicode 11.0 in July 2018.
If a version of the red-headed emoji doesn’t make the cut, the Unicode Consortium could be in trouble. While that fiery temper stereotype may not be true, in this case, redheads might not be all that understanding.
Christina Bonnington is a tech reporter who specializes in consumer gadgets, apps, and the trends shaping the technology industry. Her work has also appeared in Gizmodo, Wired, Refinery29, Slate, Bicycling, and Outside Magazine. She is based in the San Francisco Bay Area and has a background in electrical engineering.