A Teen Proposed a Hijab Emoji Because She Just Wanted One that Looked Like Her

Image: Aphelandra Messer/Alhumedhi's proposal
Image: Aphelandra Messer/Alhumedhi’s proposal
When 15-year-old Rayouf Alhumedhi was making a new WhatsApp group chat with her friends last year, they decided to make the title of the group a series of emojis: one to represent each girl. But Alhumedhi had a problem, none of the emojis really looked like her, because she’s Muslim, and wears a hijab.

By Kaleigh Rogers | MOTHERBOARD

“I just opted for a regular ‘girl with hair’ emoji but I didn’t understand why there wasn’t a headscarf one,” Alhumedhi told me over the phone from Berlin, where she lives. “There was no reason not to have it.”

So she started a mission to change that. Alhumedhi told me she sent off a hastily-written email to Apple that day, but never heard back. It wasn’t until earlier this year, when she watched a Mashable Snapchat story that detailed how to write a formal emoji proposal to Unicode—the consortium that decides on text character standards, including emojis—that she decided to try again.

This time, Alhumedhi caught the attention of Jennifer 8. Lee, a former journalist and start-up founder who sits on Unicode’s emoji subcommittee. Lee told Alhumedhi she had already been mulling over the idea of a headscarf emoji.

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