Although I’m technically a Millennial, I came pretty late to the world of emojis. I never really understood all the hype. Then I upgraded from a Blackberry to an shiny iPhone a few years ago and my life changed. Before I knew it, I was sending emojis like they were going out of style. I had my favorites (💖! 💃🏻!) and a few I could do without (sorry, 💩!), but I loved how such a simple picture allowed you to express yourself and show off your personality. Still, I couldn’t help but feel like something was missing in the sea of all those emojis. I could express myself, sure, but not my true self. A big part of my identity wasn’t being represented. Where we’re all the disability emojis? Where were the people like me? Where was I?
Thankfully, Apple is answering my question! They recently proposed 13 disability emojis, and I couldn’t be happier (😍 and 🙏🏻!).
Why? Because this is such a big win for people with disabilities. For so many reasons.
“Apple is requesting the addition of emoji to better represent individuals with disabilities,” the company said the company in its proposal. “Currently, emoji provide a wide range of options, but may not represent the experiences of those with disabilities. Diversifying the options available helps fill a significant gap and provides a more inclusive experience for all.”
Growing up in the ’80s and ’90s, I certainly didn’t see many people with disabilities on television; I also didn’t see them while flipping through a magazine or reading a book. And even today, there’s this stigma surrounding disabilities — that they’re something to be ashamed of or that they’re a negative thing. I’ve often felt like I was on display, but never seen. And there’s a big difference between the two. This new set of emojis will show people with disabilities as we really are: not as static human beings, but as people moving and living just like everyone else. We’ve got places to go and things to do, so our walkers, canes and wheelchairs will help us get there.
I hope these emojis will raise awareness. Especially for the next generation, who will no doubt live their entire lives in emojis. It’s definitely the start in something that has been long overdue!
What do you think, friends?? Don’t you think these disability emojis will be awesome?!? Are there any other emojis you’d like to see added as well…?? xoxo
P.S. More of my emoji favorites!