In 2015, Oxford Dictionaries chose an emoji as its word of the year. The title was well-earned. Emojis are incredibly popular, especially among teenagers.
Always, a feminine hygiene brand, just released a new video that challenges how emojis portray women and their experiences. Last year, Dove conducted a similar campaign about female emojis.
"Girls send over a billion emojis every day," the Always video said. "But do emojis represent them?"
The girls that were interviewed in the video acknowledged that their beloved emojis are very limiting.
"They're all pink," one girl said.
"There are no girls in the profession emojis," said another. "Unless you count being a bride a profession."
"Society has a tendency to send subtle messages that can limit girls to stereotypes," filmmaker Lucy Walker of Pulse Films, who directed the spot, told Adweek. "It was so interesting to hear these girls talk about emojis and realize how the options available to them are subtly reinforcing the societal stereotypes and limitations they face every day."
The girls in the video couldn't identify a single emoji that didn't feel like a superficial stereotype. Girls' confidence can be vulnerable during puberty, and the ad suggests the less-than-empowering emojis aren't doing anything to help.
Stereotypes and lack of representation can impact girls' professional decisions throughout life. One study found that only 14 percent of women in Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development member countries chose a science-related field of study, compared to 39 percent of men.
Always asked the girls in the video what new emojis they would like to see, and they came up with several great ideas. Some of their empowering suggestions include female lawyers, cops, wrestlers, soccer players, bikers, and drummers.
Always concluded their video campaign by asking people to contribute their suggestions for female emojis with the hashtag #LikeAGirl.