Do pregnant man and pregnant person emojis celebrate gender-neutral parenting or just a bad taco experience?

Last September, with little fanfare, the Unicode Consortium, which rules on new emojis (who knew?), welcomed pregnant man and pregnant person emojis into the world as part of the long-anticipated Emoji 14.0 rollout.

“The new pregnancy options may be used for representation by trans men, non-binary people, or women with short hair — though, of course, use of these emojis is not limited to these groups,” wrote Jane Solomon, senior emoji lexicographer for Emojipedia, a consortium member, in a Sept. 15 blog. “Among the potential uses of Pregnant Man and Pregnant Person is also a tongue-in-cheek way to display a food baby, a very full stomach caused by eating a large meal.”

Their development, Solomon added, was part of “an ongoing effort to standardize the options available on the emoji keyboard, making it more consistent and inclusive at the same time.”

Also as part of that rollout was Person with Crown, intended to show royalty without being gender-specific.

Fox News took note of this development recently after Apple released the new emojis as part of its iOS 15.4 in mid-March and the American Family Association denounced them and claimed (erroneously) on Fox News that the Person with Crown emoji was meant to represent a third gender.

“Apple joins the ranks of corporate giants such as Disney and Netflix in the list of companies creating a stir as they promote gender confusion through their products,” the AFA statement added.

So what does our Editorial Board Roundtable think? Are these new emojis a blow for inclusiveness, whether they portray a man with taco stomach, a short-haired pregnant woman, a pregnant trans man or Arnold Schwarzenegger in “Junior”? Or is this a dastardly corporate conspiracy to try to confuse family values by pretending men can get pregnant? Our Editorial Board Roundtable offers its thoughts.

Leila Atassi, manager, public interest and advocacy:

Here are some emojis I find truly disturbing: creepy clown, puker, smiling pile of poo and any reminder that bathing suit weather is approaching. Yet, I recognize that these express someone’s experience – just as pregnant man obviously does, too. The world doesn’t revolve around any one of us. Make room for everyone among the emojis.

Ted Diadiun, columnist:

I can’t decide who is sillier: The people who came up with this emoji in the first place; people who would use it as anything other than a joke; or people who are getting worked up over it as a “threat to society.” C’mon folks … don’t we have more important things to worry about?

Thomas Suddes, editorial writer:

People should lighten up. Period.

Eric Foster, columnist:

Truthfully, who even knew this was an emoji until you saw this roundtable? Or Fox News reported it? Nobody really cares about which emojis are available. This is just yet another threat to society manufactured by Fox News to keep the culture war running hot, the ratings high, and the money train rolling. Choo. Choo.

Lisa Garvin, editorial board member:

This is inclusiveness taken to a ridiculous extreme. A pregnant male is biologically impossible, and a pregnant person is a female, period. There are plenty of gender-fluid emojis available to represent the population without being ludicrous. I predict the pregnant man will become a “fat guy” emoji, much like the eggplant signifies certain male anatomy.

Victor Ruiz, editorial board member:

People refuse to accept that their identity is not the only identity on our planet. These emojis show the immense diversity that we have in our world. The great thing about these emojis is that you can choose to use or not use them, and choice is a value that we all cherish.

Mary Cay Doherty, editorial board member:

The Unicode Consortium, Apple, and even the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention seek to radically redefine “man” and “woman” by divorcing gender and sex from biology and hitching them exclusively to self-identification preferences. “Pregnant man” and “pregnant person” references use the veil of inclusivity to advance this dangerous agenda. Americans should reject and denounce these factually inaccurate, anti-woman emojis.

Elizabeth Sullivan, opinion director:

These are just emojis, folks, exclamation points with cartoon characteristics. Nothing more. They’re little expressive drawings, not an attempt to rewrite the laws of biology, or a fiat from the government to start looking for pregnant men, or shaming fat-bellied ones. We’ve really lost our bearings if we see conspiracy behind lighthearted memes that simply recognize our diversity.

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