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Why This Older Woman Is Campaigning For New Emojis

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It's no secret that the media has a problem with representing older people. They're either stereotyped or rarely shown in advertising, and there's a persistent bias against older women in broadcasting. Neither of which probably help to assuage their feelings of "invisibility" as they age.

You may not have noticed it yourself, but even our smartphone keyboards are youth-centric – and one 56-year-old woman has had enough.

Diane Hill, a grandmother from Coventry, has compiled a set of "emoldjis" for the over 50s with the help of an artist, reported the BBC.

Among the set are false teeth and bad back emoji (the latter of which, to be fair, would be universally useful).

Hill has sent her ideas to the Unicode Consortium, which regulates and controls which emojis are created and approved.

"I need something that shows pain because my back hurts, my knees hurt and I need emojis with glasses," Hill told the BBC.

If Hill's suggestions are approved, the designs could soon help us broaden our own emoji vocabularies. (Let's be honest, it's easy to gravitate towards our most 'frequently used' symbols.)

Her other designs up for consideration include a person looking disapprovingly over glasses, an older lady spending the kids' inheritance(!), and even a "no budgie smugglers" design urging older men against wearing Speedos.

"I love the 'spending the kids inheritance one'," said Hill. "I could send any of these emojis to my friends and they'd know what I mean."

Hill came up with her ideas as part of an outreach project for the BBC, about how the media portrays people and places around the country.

It could be over a year until we find Hill's emojis on our smartphones, since the Unicode Consortium only releases new ones every year.

Hill's is only the most recent crusade aimed at increasing the diversity of our emoji keyboards. Rayouf Alhumedhi, 15, launched a campaign for a hijab emoji in September and Google employees launched a drive for gender-diverse professional emojis earlier this year.

Even if Hill's ideas aren't approved, at least she's got us talking about how the media represents older people.

However many anti-ageing creams we buy, we're all getting older, so the media's fixation on youth does no one any favours. We wish Hill the best of luck with her campaign.
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