Do you have a wheat allergy? Are you an Olympic athletes? If so, good news! The Unicode Consortium, i.e. the folks that manage, standardize and approve emojis, is considering new additions that include an allergy to wheat products (glutens), Olympic sports and (my personal favorite) a whiskey tumbler.
The proposed symbols are a signal of the UC’s increased willingness to modify the standard emoji set based on public feedback sent to companies, collected by emoji catalogers such as Emojipedia, and requested by news sites. As the adorable little characters have grown in popularity, so has the pressure to represent a more diverse set of races, families, and religions. This time, it seems, the UC is considering additions based on food restrictions and major world events.
Some of the other new emoji include: a green salad, a sneezing face, a butterfly, a boxing glove, a rifle, and — of course — a bushel of wheat (aka gluten). (See the full list below.)
But don’t expect to see these new emoji on your phone keyboard anytime soon. They’ve merely taken the first step of what could be a long and drawn-out journey to join the ranks of the dancing woman and the eggplant.
At the moment, the Unicode Consortium's emoji subcommittee has submitted the proposal for these additions to the organization’s main committee. Eventually there will be a vote, and if all goes well (it usually does) the new symbols will show up in Unicode 9, set to be released in June 2016. They’ll join 38 other new emoji — including symbols for bacon and selfies — that were submitted for approval earlier this year.
Even then, we’ll have to wait some more: After Unicode 9 is released, it will be up to major tech companies such as Microsoft, Adobe, Apple, and Google to implement it in their operating systems. Even then, those companies may omit any specific emoji they dislike (e.g., the middle finger). They could also accelerate the integration process, as Apple did, to incorporate new, diverse emoji.
These new proposals come at the end of the UC’s weeklong quarterly summit, held at Microsoft’s headquarters in Redmond, Wash. Other discussions there included modifying the names of certain emoji to be more general; whether they should encode animals included in hieroglyphic characters; and if it makes sense to “add new emoji modifiers, such as GINGER.” Hear that redheads? The emoji overlords are listening.
You can see the full list of proposed new emoji below. (Keep in mind these do not represent the final versions; they’re just rough drafts to help guide the Unicode Consortium.)