Tinder wants to create inter-racial couple emojis
by Claire Nunez
Ah Tinder, the bane of my existence. Like most of my peers, I have the app downloaded on my little iPhone 6s. Do I use it often? No, not really. I often swipe for fun and I rarely answer messages— sorry to all of you handsome lads out there I have been just blatantly ignoring. As I was swiping the other day, my eye was caught by an ad. Apparently, Tinder is working with Change.Org and Alex Ohanian, the executive chairman and co-founder of Reddit as well as the husband of Serena Williams, to petition Unicode for interracial couples to be represented in emojis.
At first when I saw this ad, I had to think for a second. Wait, Tinder is politically active? Granted this is a pretty small, not very political venture, but it still is challenging social norms…in the emoji world at least. I never really expected the app infamous for hookups, bad conversations, and a lot of creeps to try and make a change in the way we view couples that were not made with the traditional cookie cutter. I was very pleasantly surprised.
So first of all, why? Why the heck would Tinder challenge social norms? Well, the most obvious reason is that it is a good marketing technique. There have been many articles praising the dating app for taking a step up. Another reason is that the rise of dating apps has apparently led to a growth in the percentage of interracial couples in America— or that is at least what Tinder is claiming on their Change.Org petition. As a student of research, I question this statistic. I am going to claim that this stat is probably just a result of coincidence not correlation. Traditional values have been shifting annual and this would probably just be a result of this change, but I digress. Tinder also claims to be a strong proponent of diversity and inclusion. The app has illustrated this by offering users the opportunity to choose their gender identity, which is not limited to just male and female but also includes non-binary and transgender. This emoji push seems to be another offshoot project of what the brand stands for.
There seems to be an emoji for everything, which is another reason why this campaign is happening. In 2015, Unicode graced us with the ability to use emojis that represent people of other races, sexualities, and even family types in our messages. This is why Tinder is claiming that we need to have interracial couple emojis. Tinder wants to #RepresentLove more effectively.
I think it is a bit beautiful that a dating app is trying to make changes— even if it is just in the emoticon realm. The petition so far has more than 14,000 signatures and it has only been a few days. Most of the comments are positive and ecstatic; people really want to be represented. It is incredible how simple representation in an emoticon can make a sincere difference in someone’s life, even if it is in the digital realm.
Tinder may make a real change here. Unicode in the past has been relatively responsive to changes in emoji needs— they changed the lobster emoji because it was not anatomically correct; would anyone actually have noticed? Probably, but that is beside the point. Apparently, there are some difficulties in creating an interracial couple emoji, but I am sure if the demand for one increases enough, Unicode will figure it out. Let’s hope it is soon, and let’s hope the next roll out of emojis also gives us more whale emojis too.