Are Emojis Actually Sexist? This #LikeAGirl Video Says So–Find Out Why

If you had a dollar for every emoji you saw throughout the day, do you know how rich you’d be? Very rich. Oprah rich. Beyoncé rich. Kardashian rich. Like, just think about how ubiquitous emojis have come to be as a means of expressing emotions that words alone just don’t seem to cover. If you’re feeling cool, you send that guy with the sunglasses. If you’re feeling like crap, you use the poop emoji. And if you’re feeling sassy AF, you click on that girl with her hand raised up who’s all like, “Can I help you?”

In fact, emojis are so prevalent that their use is actually in the billions–on average, young girls as a whole send a billion emojis a day.  But the new #LikeAGirl video from always Always–you know, the video series that pointed out why “like a girl” should never be used as an insult–is questioning what the use of emojis actually mean for the girls who use them. In this video, directed by Academy Award-nominated director Lucy Walker, it calls out emojis for some sexist B.S. that you might not have noticed before. Check it out here:

While emojis might not initially seem sexist, a lot of data around the subject–plus, like, just some basic human observation–proves that they kinda are. Guy emojis are shown in actual careers, as police officers, detectives, and construction workers, while girls aren’t given any jobs at all. Guys are given physical activities, like surfing, swimming, and riding horses, but girls are only shown getting their nails painted, getting a haircut, or getting married.

While emojis might not be biggest or worst example of sexism in society today, they are an indicator of larger cultural implications that are damaging to girls. Michele Baeten, the Associate Brand Director of Always and leader of the #LikeAGirl campaign, said, “Of course, societal limitations are broader than just emojis, but when we realized that stereotypical, limiting messages are hiding in places as innocent as emojis, it motivated us to demand change. Girls are downright amazing, and we won’t stop fighting all the limitations and knocks in confidence they experience at puberty until every girl feels unstoppable.

Plus, the real girls featured in this campaign also agree with that assertion–according to a study conducted by Always, 54% of girls between the ages of 16-24 think that emojis are stereotypical, and 67% of girls say that the available female emojis imply that girls are limited in what they can do.

Do you agree? Fortunately, you can make your voice heard. Always is encouraging girls everywhere to take a picture, shoot a video or tweet using #LikeAGirl saying what you’d like to see as an emoji to make it so that girls are no longer relegated to the weddings and nail salon section of the emoji keyboard. And, you know, life.

Plus, who knows? This past fall, we finally got a taco emoji. Anything is possible!

Do you think that emojis are kinda sexist, too? If you could design any emoji, what would it be? Let us know in the comments!

You can reach the author, Sara Hendricks, on Twitter and Instagram.


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  • Nellie Spector ✓ᵛᵉʳᶦᶠᶦᵉᵈ

    Emojis were originally created by Apple for the Japanese market. That’s why so many of the emojis are Japanese culture related (Mount Fuji, rice balls, sushi, sake, bento box, Toyko Tower, torii gates, kabuki masks, etc). I would guess these emojis with different professions and activities represent Japanese cultural ideas about gender roles.