Think there’s an emoji for everything? Think again.
There will soon be more than 2,000 different forms of the little figures and symbols that have become ubiquitous across social media and text messages once Unicode, the governing body that oversees which emojis are accepted and which are denied, releases its new update in June.
Pretty soon, you’ll be able to send your friends an image of a merman, a stick of bamboo, a floppy disk or even an obscene hand gesture.
One thing you will not be able to do is send an emoji related to menstruation. And an international activist group is aiming to change that.
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Plan International UK has launched a poll asking users to pick one of five emojis it has designed to represent menstruation. The winner will be submitted to Unicode for inclusion in its 2018 update.
The five candidates are:
— a sanitary pad
— a calendar with blood droplets
— a blood droplet with a face
— underwear with blood droplets
— a diagram of a uterus
As of Saturday afternoon, the underwear is the current leader with 29 percent of more than 4,400 votes.
“When you can find an emoji for pretzels and pianos, why not for periods? I’m fairly sure the average British woman has more periods than she does pretzels,” an organization spokesperson said in a press release for HuffPost. “Meanwhile, there are four different emojis for bicycles - but not a single one for something that happens to half of us, every month, for a huge portion of our life.”
As recently as August 2016, BuzzFeed posted a quiz asking users which currently available emoji should be used as a universal sign for a woman’s period. The winner there was a large red circle.
This is not the first time emojis have been proposed by activists. Apple was criticized by many for not including emojis with different skin tones until it finally updated its keyboard in 2015, according to The Atlantic.
And race is not the only politically-charged issue surrounding emojis. As Wired has noted, issues of cultural significance, nationhood and religion have all become controversial too.
Whether or not a period emoji will be accepted by the Unicode Consortium is another question. The organization does not specify how many different proposals it receives every year, but it does say on its website that many are rejected almost immediately because they are overly specific, tailored for a specific brand or “further a ‘cause.’”
The current deadline for proposals to be included for introduction in the 2018 update must be submitted before July 1, 2017.