Rayouf Alhumedhi came up with the idea when she and her friends were creating a WhatsApp group chat and she could not find an emoji to represent herself.
Women who wear headscarves are now represented in emoji form, and they have a Saudi girl to thank for it. Rayouf Alhumedhi came up with the idea when she and her friends were creating a WhatsApp group chat and she could not find an emoji to represent herself. On the occasion of World Emoji Day on Monday, Apple announced it had accepted the design among a slew of others, including a breastfeeding woman, both of which have multiple available skin tones. While talking to CNN Alhumedhi said,”The fact that there wasn’t an emoji to represent me and the millions of other hijab clad women across the world was baffling to me…I really had no initial idea in my mind of what it was supposed to look like, I just wanted it to be available in different skin tones millions of women from different races do wear it.”
The proposal was quickly welcomed. According to TOI, Reddit co-founder Steve Huffman also supported the proposal of a hijab emoji and hosted an online discussion for it. There were mixed reaction in the discussion with a lot of people supporting the idea but some described it as “unnecessary.”
Apple CEO Tim Cook took to Twitter to reveal the emoji. He said,”Happy #WorldEmojiDay! ???? We’ve got some ???? new ones to show you, coming later this year.” Twitterati did not take it in good sense and replied,”the hijab is a symbol of oppression. by including it as an emoji you are showing your support for the oppression of women.”
Still, some people also tweeted that an emoji is a pro-woman act of representation.”They are coming out with a woman wearing a hijab and a breastfeeding mom emoji. My faith in humanity is slowly being restored.”
The 16-year-old while speaking about the debate on her emoji said,’Some people will try and pervert it, use the emoji in a hurtful way to perpetuate stereotypes”, she said. “But overall, I think the Muslim community will benefit from it. Even if only in terms of representation. It’s only an emoji. It’s not a game changer. But it will make people happy. I hope so.”
Alhumedhi also acknowledged that even though an emoji may seem like a small achievement, it has the potential to normalize a community of people who are often, and increasingly, misunderstood. If headscarf-wearing women start appearing in the phones of Apple users everywhere, she said, people might start to recognize “that we are normal people carrying out daily routines just like you.”