Friends, family, and fans: it’s me, your favorite sexting wingwoman, Peach Emoji. It’s hard for me to find the right words to tell you this, because let’s be real, I’ve always expressed myself best through pictographs, not language. But I owe it to you, my users, to be as transparent as possible. Over the years, you’ve trusted me with your most salacious text messages and memes, and the least I can do in return is be honest and let you know what’s up before it becomes official. So here it goes.
There comes a time in every celebrity’s journey when she yearns to rebrand. Hannah Montana kissed The Mouse goodbye and blossomed into Miley. The Olsen twins cocooned from Michelle Tanner into fashion mogul butterflies. Shirley Temple hung up her tap shoes, grew the fuck up, and became a United States Ambassador.
I know, that last reference was a little obscure. But you see, Shirley’s transformation is more along the lines of what I’m going for. From child star to respected dignitary, so must I evolve from literal sex symbol to literal political icon.
As we head into the new year and the new decade, I’ve been doing a lot of reflecting. I’ve taken a step back and acknowledged that while my colleagues have been making every effort to shed their privilege, get woke, and expand their perspectives, I’ve been asleep at the proverbial wheel, resting on my laurels as a symbol of a butt, without any self-awareness as to what that means on a cultural, social, or political level.
Girl Emoji now comes in multiple skin tones and with the option to wear a hijab. Family Emoji displays inclusive permutations and combinations of same sex coupling. The Food & Drink section offers an array of multicultural delights, from croissants to tacos to Japanese fish cakes. Don’t get me wrong — the emoticon community still has a long way to go, but we have to start somewhere.
Yet in the midst of these brave improvements, I’ve remained stagnant, continuing to avail myself to my users with only the same bootylicious, “forbidden fruit” image I’ve always put forth into the digisphere. Despite my fellow emojis’ progress, I’ve kept associating with the likes of Water Droplet Emoji to portray cheap innuendo, valued only for my cheeky curves, thereby perpetuating the stereotype that looks are esteemed above all other assets. Rare are the times when I’m used to represent an actual peach, and even then, it’s usually in the context of a post by some amateur foodie, followed inevitably by the hashtag #foodporn over some basic peach cobbler or the like, yet again connoting my usage as inherently sexual.
Over and over, I’ve asked myself: what have I done to contribute?
Last week, a user copied me onto the clipboard, allowing me to witness a livestream of the Impeachment Hearing in another app. It was there that I witnessed Representative Jerry Nadler remind the House Judiciary Committee that, “History will look back on our actions here today,” and beg the question, “How would you be remembered?”
I know how I would like to be remembered, and it’s for more than my sex appeal. It’s as a Shirley Temple, not a Lindsay Lohan. It’s as a symbol of political resistance, not a butt.
Like the ancient Sumerians and Egyptians before me, I want to use the glyph to represent ideas that are significant. I want my image to empower. To leave a legacy. And I can’t do that as a butt.
And so, I’d like to take this opportunity to announce that I plan to emerge from the next iOS update rebranded from a butt to a symbol of political resistance. You cannot spell “impeachment” without me, and as such, I ask that you respect my wishes and leave me out of your sexting. For good.
I know this process will be hard — for all of us — but I am confident that we’ll get through this. I’ve had the pleasure of watching many of your sexts grow into meaningful relationships, and now, it’s my turn for growth.
This will only work if you comply with my request. An emoji’s connotation is decided by the user community, and I am aware of that power dynamic. That’s why I’m trying to change things from within the system, and I have faith that you’ll do this for me.
And remember, you can still use me — just in a new and improved context. It may sound gauche, but maybe try using words. Tell your partner how you feel directly. And if you must resort to using my ilk as a symbol of the dirty things you’re sexting about, I pass the torch to you, Eggplant Emoji.