This is a sponsored post written for the Always #LikeAGirl campaign
What is it about middle schoolers and their phones? Growing up, I remember how much I coveted a phone in my bedroom and what a big deal it was when I finally got my own phone. It not only served as a lifeline between me and my friends, but the ability to have a private conversation (despite being on a shared line) was empowering. Fast forward to the present and phones are still highly coveted by today’s youth although they’re not the curly corded versions of their parent’s past.
“Mommy,” Emily calls to me from underneath her covers as she gets ready for bed. “Come look at this!”
In her dimly lit room, Emily’s outstretched hand held her glowing smartphone where a conversation about a team sleepover was erupting via text between her fellow basketball players. She called me over to get my opinion on hosting a sleepover with 11 other girls and quickly scrolled to the part of the conversation where her teammates were discussing food through a group brainstorm where one line responses were filled with words in all caps, acronyms, and plenty of emojis.
Whether or not their plan comes to fruition, Emily’s smartphone provides her with a sense of independence. Just as I was attached to the handset at the end of the curly cord, today’s tweens and teens feel empowered being able to connect with their friends at all hours of the day. The difference, of course, is Emily and her friends are communicating via text and messaging apps littered with emojis but are these communication tools as empowering as they should be?
As a graduate of a women’s college, I like to believe that I’m raising my daughter with the mindset that she can do anything but when I take a closer look at the emojis that are part of her world, they’re not reflective of the message I’m conveying to her.
A Tween Perspective on Today’s Emojis
“I don’t really care,” Emily instantly proclaimed after we watched the Always #LikeAGirl Girl Emojis video together. “All the job ones are…yeah.”
With a sigh punctuating the last part of her sentence, I could tell that Emily is among the 67% of girls who agree that the available female emojis imply that girls are limited in what they can do.
“All the girls are wearing pink and purple,” Emily stated with an eyeroll. “We need stronger role models but what can we do if all the emojis are created by men?”
At age 12, Emily is at a critical age where the confidence of girls tends to plummet but instead of letting the lack of emojis crush her spirits, we talked about how she could use her love of computer programming to change the future of emojis to better reflect today’s girls. After all, there’s no reason why 72% of girls should feel like they’re held back by a society who dictates what they should and shouldn’t do and who better to lead a change than a strong, empowered girl!
Celebrate International Women’s Day #LikeAGirl
Today on International Women’s Day, at a moment where female achievements are celebrated worldwide, girls should be empowered to show that they can do more than get a manicure, wear a tiara, dance in a red dress, and wear colors besides pink and purple. Always wants girl emojis to be as unstoppable as girls and is encouraging girls to share what emojis would express all the amazing things they are and do #likeagirl.
Emily’s Emoji Wish List
Even though what Emily sees through the emojis on her phone, I’m glad that the messages of empowerment are coming through loud and clear. But since more needs to be done in order to help stop the drop in confidence girls experience at puberty, Emily wishes there was a wider selection of emojis that could be personalized to better reflect who she so she would always feel Unstoppable #LikeAGirl.
Here’s Emily’s emoji wish list:
- Female sports figures, especially basketball and soccer
- Computer programmer or woman in front of a computer
- The ability to upload a personal photo to make your face the emoji
- Philanthropist, advocate, and fundraiser to reflect her passion for raising money to benefit the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation through her ribbon barrette sales
- Dogs that “look more like my dog”
Even though she would love to have these emojis added to the collection in her phone, she realizes “Emojis express feelings in a moment or are a visual aid in a thought but they’re only a picture and they don’t represent who you are because you’re so much more complex than a picture.”
Indeed, sweet girl. You are SO much more complex than a little picture and maybe one day you can use your computer programming skills to show the world exactly how complex and capable you are through a single emoji.
The Always #LikeAGirl campaign aims to help stop the drop in confidence girls experience at puberty by making every girl feel Unstoppable #LikeAGirl. For more information, visit the #LikeAGirl website.
I was compensated for this post by Always #LikeaGirl but all opinions are my own.