World Emoji Day: Time for gingers to get justice

Gingers have been buried on Whatsapp for too long, says Emma Kelly (Wikipedia)

Gingers have been buried on Whatsapp for too long, says Emma Kelly (Wikipedia)

Monday, July 17, 2017

Scrolling through your seemingly endless emoji collection on your iPhone, you'd be forgiven for thinking that all bases were covered: different skin colours, same-sex couples, and there's even every single phase of the moon on there. But wait, where are the gingers?

Despite significantly expanding its emoji offering since its racial and sexual 'diversification' in its iOS 8.3 update back in 2015, redheads are still neglected in the emoji world. We may be only 2% of the world's population, but that's 138,000,000 devices waiting to happen.

Being the fastest-growing language of all time, emojis are everywhere. And the ginger community is confused (and angry, but we're resisting that fiery temper of ours).

Why are we being ignored? I sit messaging my blonde friend in complete envy: she can show her exact doppelganger as a chef, scientist, lawyer, doctor, farmer, detective, builder, or having a head massage, and what do I have?

I just end up staring at the pages upon pages of flags, sheep and faces until I settle on a carrot, flame, orange or perhaps even the recently added and creepy clown. It may have bright red hair, Apple, but no, it doesn't count.

Practically everyone else can express their own look on their phones, while redheads just feel forgotten. It actually makes me want to refuse using emojis altogether.

But things are changing...apparently. Since Ginger Parrot set up a petition in 2015, then later delivering a carrot-shaped USB stick (yes, really) containing 15,000+ signatures straight to the doors of Apple HQ in San Francisco, we're closer to emoji representation for gingers.

We're closer, yes, but it's only baby steps. Only in January this year, it emerged that Unicode and Apple had been in talks together to discuss the technical implementation of injecting the flame-haired characters into the already overcrowded keyboard: do they simply create standalone ginger emojis (one male, one female) or import a modifier that can be applied to existing emojis that already give different hair colour options? Whatever the dilemma, you can bet the entire redhead population of the world has its fingers poised and waiting, oh-so patiently.

Rumours of the potential release date of ginger emojis are circulating as early-to-mid-2018. They better hurry, though. We're starting to run out of ways to express our excitement at the latest Ed Sheeran album release, and a lonely carrot doesn't seem to do it justice anymore.

As everyone else spends today celebrating World Emoji Day, we'll save our excitement for when our own doppelganger can be spread through the digital waves.

Emma Kelly is founder and editor of Ginger Parrot (,  a lifestyle website and online store for redheads and ginger appreciators