Can You Please Chill With The “Emoji Sensitivity” Obsession?

Do we really need emoji diversity?

Do we really need emoji diversity?

Just this morning, I finally caved into getting the latest iPhone software Update. Part of me was unsure of as to why I needed to get another update already, and another part of me was just too lazy to get it done up until today. But a HUGE part of me was not looking forward to this new Emoji update. All I had heard, read, and seen about this update was how “diverse” it was, which seemed to be both a bad and good thing.  

To me, it just looked too complicated for my taste. I’d compare the hunt for the right emoji to trying to find something specific in TJ Maxx or Century 21: an anxiety attack waiting to happen. A helpful article on helped point out exactly what changed on this emoji menu, and it helped me navigate my way through exactly what was causing an uproar of mixed reactions. Now, emojicons offer racially diverse characters, family portraits of all kinds (straight couples, gay couples, only children, all girls, all boys, etc.), more flags, and more gadgets. You’d think people would be pleased with this. 

Twitterverse Response

Some of the twitter rants highlighted in various articles regarding this update were commending Apple’s attempt to accommodate literally EVERYONE (almost) in emoticon equality, and some people seemed downright disturbed by this effort. Some of the reviews are just hilarious. Even my own personal twitter research has brought up people either complaining about how stupid the update is or how great it is that Apple is providing people with emojis that now appeal to them. 

After seeing all these reactions and seeing how much of an effort Apple has made to please everybody, it only makes me see how damn picky and sensitive as a society we have become. People are actually getting upset or a silly little application modification? Who was actually upset in the first place? Never once did it ever cross my mind to actually get offended that an emoji with olive skin and black hair wasn’t provided for me. When the update came out, I was more concerned with the fact that my selection just tripled and my text responses wouldn’t be as immediate or “personalized.” Maybe I would have liked to see more food options, but that’s just because it’s always on my mind, and I think 4 varieties of cookie emojis is a reasonable request. Also, I can’t help but be a little confused as to why the default emoji people now look like we’re selecting from a bunch of Simpsons characters or Lego people. And no, I did not associate it with the nonsensical “Asian” stereotype of having “yellow” skin. 


It blows my mind how much of an influence applications on our phones have on our lives now. Instead of worrying about classes or work or anything else that is worth our concern, people are staring at their phone screens worrying about what their selection of emojis are. It’s almost as bad as the “disastrous” moment when Snapchat removed the visible “Best Friend” feature, but I think being bothered by emoji diversity is a little more realistic and understandable than being mad that you can no longer creep on your friend’s most frequent Snap-friend.  

I’ve always thought people were a little too sensitive about things like race, body shaming, or anything else linked to a stereotype, but this has taken it too far. The fact that a phone application update broke headlines is laughable. Emojis officially speak louder than words, and Apple just can’t seem to make everyone happy.



Rachel Jimenez

An Exercise Science major at USF with a love for dance, food, and sarcastic banter. Oh, and she was gluten free before it was cool. instagram: @sassycalves twitter: @itsraayy

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