Emojis have become a crucial part of our digital communication, allowing us to express our emotions, thoughts, and actions without the use of words. However, not all emojis are created equal, and some have stirred up controversy over the years.
In this article, we’ll take a look at the most controversial emojis and explore why they have caused such a stir.
1. 🔫 Pistol
The pistol emoji was originally depicted as a handgun (i.e. revolver, pistol) in the Unicode 6.0 standard, but Apple replaced it with a squirt gun emoji, while Microsoft and Google kept the original design. This change caused an uproar among those who saw it as censorship of gun violence and their right to bear arms.
2. 🤰 Pregnant Woman
The pregnant woman emoji is often used to express joy or excitement over a friend’s pregnancy, but some have argued that it reinforces gender roles and stereotypes. Others have argued that the emoji could be seen as promoting teenage pregnancy or implying that women are only valuable if they are able to have children.
3. 🍆 Eggplant
The eggplant emoji has become associated with sexual innuendo, given its shape and its frequent use in sexting. Though there is nothing actually wrong with this emoji, some consider it inappropriate for public or professional conversations.
4. 🙏 Folded Hands
This emoji is used to express gratitude, or to ask for help or guidance. However, some people have argued that it represents a prayer gesture and should therefore not be used in non-religious contexts.
5. 👶 Baby
The baby emoji is often used to express joy or love for a new baby, but it can also have negative connotations. Some have argued that it perpetuates sexism and traditional gender roles by implying that women are only valuable if they are able to bear children.
6. 🍑 Peach
The peach emoji has become associated with sexual innuendo, given its shape and its frequent use in sexting. While this emoji carries no malicious intent, some people may deem it inappropriate to use in public or professional conversations.
7. 🌈 Rainbow
The rainbow emoji is often used to express pride for the LGBTQIA+ community, but it has also been appropriated by brands and companies in an attempt to cash in on the Pride movement. This has led to some feeling that the emoji has lost its meaning and is now nothing more than a marketing tool.
8. 💩 Pile of Poo
The pile of poo emoji is often used to express disgust or dismay, but some people have taken offense to its use. They argue that it reinforces negative stereotypes about those who are seen as “dirty” or “disgusting” and should therefore not be used in polite conversation.
9. 💦 Sweat Droplets
The sweat droplets emoji is technically used to depict sweat droplets showing after a strenuous activity like a workout, it became associated with sexual innuendo. As a result, others misunderstood the meaning of the emoji and deemed it inappropriate to use in public or professional conversations.
10. 🚬 Cigarette
The cigarette emoji has caused controversy as it portrays smoking. However, as it is accessible to be used by minors in posts, some have argued that its presence endorses smoking.
11. 🖕 Middle Finger
The middle finger emoji is often used to express anger or frustration, but some have argued that it is inappropriate and offensive. Others feel that it undermines the gravity of real-life acts of aggression and should therefore not be used in polite conversation.
12. 💣 Bomb
The bomb emoji is usually used for comedic effects, but some have argued that its presence trivializes violence and promotes terrorism. In a professional environment, it is safe to assume that this emoji is not suitable.
13. 🔪 Kitchen Knife
The kitchen knife emoji is often used to express humor or sarcasm, but it can also have negative implications. Some people have argued that its presence encourages violence and should not be used.
14. 👨 Yellow Face
The yellow face emoji is technically meant to be the default skin tone for emojis that have modifiers. However, some people feel that it reinforces the idea of a racial hierarchy causing it to receive a lot of mixed reactions.
15. 🤡 Clown Face
The clown face was introduced and added in 2016. However, it received some mixed reactions due to the fact that clowns have been associated with horror movies and scares. As a result, some have argued that it should be used cautiously in polite conversation.
16. 🦍 Gorilla
The gorilla emoji is often used to express strength and power, but it also was once under controversy when introduced in 2016. This is because, in the same year, an incident happened where Haramba, a male gorilla was shot and killed in Cincinnati Zoo.
17. Pregnant Man
The pregnant man emoji, which was introduced in 2021, has received mixed reactions. While some feel that it reflects the changing gender roles and celebrates male pregnancy, others have argued that it perpetuates stereotypes and reinforces traditional gender roles. Furthermore, some have argued that this emoji should not be used as a gag or joke.
18. 🤬 Face With Symbols on Mouth
The face with symbols on mouth emoji is often used to signify extreme anger and frustration. However, it has been argued that this emoji may perpetuate violence and should not be used in any type of polite communication.