Today in big-picture problems: We may be getting a new footwear emoji, because, apparently, the ones we have are sexist.
The Emoji Unicode Consortium’s Emoji Subcommittee will vote on a proposed ballet flat icon today, reports shopping site Racked.
Proposal author Florie Hutchinson thinks adding this classic commuter shoe to the emoji keyboard will “help pave the way to a more gender non-sexualized pictorial representation of the footwear category.”
Look, I have nothing against a ballet flat emoji in and of itself. But I resent the idea that using a stiletto emoji is slutty — or that adding a flat-shoe is some kind of woke feminist statement. It’s really not.
First of all, there are already flat, gender-neutral footwear emojis that women — and anyone — can use: a brown brogue and a white sneaker. Yet in her proposal, Hutchinson dismisses the brogue as “a classic men’s style” (never mind that plenty of women dig them) and the sneaker as “undeniably sporty” (women aren’t sporty?).The proposed ballet flat emojis.Unicode
Second, the idea that any shoe with a bit of a lift is evil is ridiculously simplistic. A heel, wedge or platform does not necessarily imply femininity or sex. Hutchinson has a fair enough case against the red stiletto emoji — high heels, she tells Racked, are “sexualized” — but what about the 1970s-style platformed mule emoji, or the tall boot emoji? Who were they hurting?
Plus, there are plenty of elevated shoe options that are perfectly gender neutral. Consider platform sandals, worn by both genders in Japan, and clogs, a perennial Netherlands staple. And America, of course, has cowboy boots, a stacked-heel shoe worn by men and women alike.
Hutchinson says that she was inspired by her three daughters to propose a ballet-flat emoji. She writes in her bio that she “hopes to raise women who are proud to wear flats and have an emoji that confirms that their height and leg lengths are perfect, as they are.”
That’s nice, but why do they need an emoji specifically created for women to convince them of that?...Read more