GOOD

This Girl Gang Is Taking On The Patriarchy One She-Moji At A Time

“Slay all day”

Karina de Alwis, Noemie Le Coz, and Nirmala Shome were having a casual night in when the topic of emoji came up—sexist emoji, to be specific. With the standard emoji keyboard limiting women to getting married or going to the salon, the self-professed “girl gang” knew they had to do something to make this popular mode of communication more accessible and inclusive.


That’s where She-Moji comes in. Designed to reflect modern women, She-Moji includes more than 400 original emoji featuring different professions, outfits, ethnicities, and activities—plus a slew of powerful phrases like “Slay All Day” and “Sorry Not Sorry.” On top of a kick-ass new keyboard fit for dynamic women everywhere, 50 percent of the profits will go to the Malala Fund, which works to ensure every girl has access to 12 years of free, safe, quality education. Clearly a win-win on all fronts.

GOOD spoke with Art Director and She-Moji cofounder Noemie Le Coz via email about the concept and long-term plans for the first inclusive emoji keyboard.

How long has your girl gang been together and what are some of the benefits of collaborating with your friends?

We’ve known each other for over 5 years—we met in Melbourne through work and mutual friends initially, then a group of us all moved to New York in early 2013 where, with no immediate family nearby, we became even closer. It’s been really fun working together. We’re all quite like-minded, which has made the decision-making process pretty streamlined, and being good mates who respect each other means we’ve been able to speak up and tell it how it is—even in times when we haven’t agreed as much. It was easy to align on what She-Moji would stand for and how we wanted it to look and feel. Logistically, being good friends also gave us lots of face-time, and meant that we could talk about it at weekend drinks, group dinners and even a recent camping trip, rather than having to set up Google hangouts or spend all of our time in Slack conversations.

What do you think it is about emojis that make them so addictive to use?

We love using emojis. We love how they can often express exactly how you feel better than words—like when your friend texts you that she just downed a whole pizza, all you need to send is a high five. There are a million subtle ways women encounter sexism on a daily basis, from finding changing tables only in women's restrooms to restrictive dress codes and the “pink tax.”

At what point are these things not design flaws, but perpetuators of sexist culture?

While some societal gender imbalance is silently accepted by us all, the lack of symmetry with emoji seems to spark some attention. Even before we launched She–Moji there were many publications who profiled the issue, including a group from Google who recently pushed to have more female emoji approved by Unicode for inclusion in the native emoji keyboards. With respect to emoji, it’s well-known that the current set subliminally reinforces gender biases against women, with limited female professions and activities. For the longest time we’ve tried to convince ourselves of the frivolity of emoji, and have worked around the limitations by using an image of two bunny girls while communicating with a girlfriend. Hopefully this conversation continues – amongst both men and women, and beyond the world of emoji—to help make a small move toward a more inclusive culture. She–Moji proves you can fight for an important cause while still having fun and a sense of humor.

What are some other ways women can have fun while still slamming the patriarchy?

She-Moji was always intended to be taken in a light-hearted way, and if we could facilitate a bigger conversation about equality, even better. We’re big fans of anything that involves girls having fun. Raise up your girlfriends, help each other out and embrace collaboration. Try out skateboarding or karate. Be the boss of your karaoke night. Recently we attended a Beyoncé dance class, which definitely reminded us how fun a dose of girl power can be.

[quote position="right" is_quote="true"]Raise up your girlfriends, help each other out and embrace collaboration.[/quote]

Why is it important to be inclusive with not only the images but the language as well?

We definitely wanted She-Moji to look cool, be fun, and also feel current—so we asked friends and family to find out what phrases they would use in texts now. These were also a great way to speak to a few different groups of people—from the Beyhive and Broad City fans to gamer girls and yogis.

How did you decide on the Malala Fund as a perfect fit for She-Moji? Did you always have a charitable aspect in mind for the project?

We did! From the night we thought of the idea, we knew we wanted She–Moji to be bigger than just another emoji keyboard. We wanted to donate to a women’s charity, to strengthen our message, benefit women—and literally put our money where our mouth is. We liked that She–Moji downloads could become a win-win for women on many levels. We settled on the Malala Fund for all that they, and she, stands for—providing free, quality, safe education for young girls around the world, and the empowerment associated with that. We like Malala’s message, philosophy and vision for the future, and know that our audience will too.

Articles
via Collection of the New-York Historical Society / Wikimedia Commons

Fredrick Douglass was born into slavery in 1818. At the age of 10 he was given to the Auld family.

As a child, he worked as a house slave and was able to learn to read and write, and he attempted to teach his fellow slaves the same skills.

At the age of 15, he was given to Thomas Auld, a cruel man who beat and starved his slaves and thwarted any opportunity for them to practice their faith or to learn to read or write.

Keep Reading Show less
Culture
via Thomas Ledia / Wikimedia Commons

On April 20, 1889 at the Braunau am Inn, in Upper Austria Salzburger located at Vorstadt 15, Alois and Klara Hitler brought a son into the world. They named him Adolph.

Little did they know he would grow up to be one of the greatest forces of evil the world has ever known.

The Hitlers moved out of the Braunau am Inn when Adolph was three, but the three-story butter-colored building still stands. It has been the subject of controversy for seven decades.

via Thomas Ledia / Wikimedia Commons

The building was a meeting place for Nazi loyalists in the 1930s and '40s. After World War II, the building has become an informal pilgrimage site for neo-Nazis and veterans to glorify the murderous dictator.

The building was a thorn in the side to local government and residents to say the least.

RELATED: He photographed Nazi atrocities and buried the negatives. The unearthed images are unforgettable.

For years it was owned by Gerlinde Pommer, a descendant of the original owners. The Austrian government made numerous attempts to purchase it from her, but to no avail. The building has served many purposes, a school, a library, and a makeshift museum.

In 1989, a stone from the building was inscribed with:

"For Peace, Freedom

and Democracy.

Never Again Fascism.

Millions of Dead Remind [us]."

via Jo Oh / Wikimedia Commons

For three decades it was home to an organization that offered support and integration assistance for disabled people. But in 2011, the organization vacated the property because Pommer refused to bring it up to code.

RELATED: 'High Castle' producers destroyed every swastika used on the show and the video is oh-so satisfying

In 2017, the fight between the government and Pommer ended with it seizing the property. Authorities said it would get a "thorough architectural remodeling is necessary to permanently prevent the recognition and the symbolism of the building."

Now, the government intends to turn it into a police station which will surely deter any neo-Nazis from hanging around the building.

Austria has strict anti-Nazi laws that aim to prohibit any potential Nazi revival. The laws state that anyone who denies, belittles, condones or tries to justify the Nazi genocide or other Nazi crimes against humanity shall be punished with imprisonment for one year up to ten years.

In Austria the anti-Nazi laws are so strict one can go to prison for making the Nazi hand salute or saying "Heil Hitler."

"The future use of the house by the police should send an unmistakable signal that the role of this building as a memorial to the Nazis has been permanently revoked," Austria's IInterior Minister, Wolfgang Peschorn said in a statement.

The house is set to be redesigned following an international architectural competition.

Communities
via Chela Horsdal / Twitter

Amazon's "The Man in the High Castle" debuted the first episode of its final season last week.

The show is loosely based on an alternative history novel by Philip K. Dick that postulates what would happen if Nazi Germany and the Empire of Japan controlled the United States after being victorious in World War II.

Keep Reading Show less
Politics
via Mike Mozart / Flickr

Chick-fil-A is the third-largest fast food chain in America, behind McDonald's and Starbucks, raking in over $10 billion a year.

But for years, the company has faced boycotts for supporting anti-LGBT charities, including the Salvation Army, the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, and the Paul Anderson Youth Home.

The Salvation Army faced criticism after a leader in the organization implied that gay people "deserve to die" and the company also came under fire after refusing to offer same-sex couples health insurance. But the organization swears it's evolving on such issues.

via Thomas Hawk / Flickr

The Fellowship of Christian Athletes explicitly announced it was anti gay marriage in a recent "Statement of Faith."

God instituted marriage between one man and one woman as the foundation of the family and the basic structure of human society. For this reason, we believe that marriage is exclusively the union of one man and one woman.

The Paul Anderson Youth Home teaches boys that homosexuality is wrong and that same-sex marriage is "rage against Jesus Christ and His values."

RELATED: The 1975's singer bravely kissed a man at a Dubai concert to protest anti-LGBT oppression

In 2012, Chick-fil-A's CEO, Dan Cathy, made anti same-sex marriage comments on a radio broadcast:

I think we are inviting God's judgment on our nation when we shake our fist at Him and say, "We know better than you as to what constitutes a marriage". I pray God's mercy on our generation that has such a prideful, arrogant attitude to think that we have the audacity to define what marriage is about.

But the chicken giant has now decided to change it's says its charitable donation strategy because it's bad for business...Not because being homophobic is wrong.

The company recently lost several bids to provide concessions in U.S. airports. A pop-up shop in England was told it would not be renewed after eight days following LGBTQ protests.

Chick-fil-A also has plans to expand to Boston, Massachusetts where its mayor, Thomas Menino, pledged to ban the restaurant from the city.

via Wikimedia Commons

"There's no question we know that, as we go into new markets, we need to be clear about who we are," Chick-fil-A President and Chief Operating Officer Tim Tassopoulos told Bisnow. "There are lots of articles and newscasts about Chick-fil-A, and we thought we needed to be clear about our message."

RELATED: Alan Turing will appear on the 50-pound note nearly 70 years after being persecuted for his sexuality

Instead, the Chick-fil-A Foundation plans to give $9 million to organizations that support education and fight homelessness. Which is commendable regardless of the company's troubled past.

"If Chick-Fil-A is serious about their pledge to stop holding hands with divisive anti-LGBTQ activists, then further transparency is needed regarding their deep ties to organizations like Focus on the Family, which exist purely to harm LGBTQ people and families," Drew Anderson, GLAAD's director of campaigns and rapid response, said in a statement.

Chick-fil-A's decision to back down from contributing to anti-LGBT charities shows the power that people have to fight back against companies by hitting them where it really hurts — the pocket book.

The question remains: If you previously avoided Chick-fil-A because it supported anti-LGBT organizations, is it now OK to eat there? Especially when Popeye's chicken sandwich is so good people will kill for it?

Lifestyle

Oh, irony. You are having quite a day.

The Italian region of Veneto, which includes the city of Venice, is currently experiencing historic flooding. Venice Mayor Luigi Brugnaro has stated that the flooding is a direct result of climate change, with the tide measuring the highest level in 50 years. The city (which is actually a collection of 100 islands in a lagoon—hence its famous canal streets), is no stranger to regular flooding, but is currently on the brink of declaring a state of emergency as waters refuse to recede.

Keep Reading Show less
The Planet