Emojis are sexist, says P&G in latest Always #LikeAGirl spot

P&G's celebrated #LikeAGirl campaign has turned its critical gaze on emojis, with an online spot highlighting how symbols relating to sports or working life only show men.

Always: latest 'Like A Girl' spot tackles sexist emojis
Always: latest 'Like A Girl' spot tackles sexist emojis

The spot, directed by Lucy Walker, shows different girls reacting to the fact that female emoji figures are shown painting their nails, cutting their hair or receiving a head massage. Meanwhile, male figures get to surf, swim, ride horses, cycle and become police officers.

According to an Always survey of more than 1,000 young women aged 16 to 24 years old in the UK, almost half believe that female emojis are "stereotypical". A similar proportion believe the symbols are a limited representation of female interests, while 70% believe they shouldn’t just show clichéd interests like having a hair cut.

Why pluck out emojis in particular? The rise of messaging platforms and the visual web means emojis have become the lingua franca among teenagers. More than 70% of girls use emojis multiple times a day, while 82% use them on a daily basis, according to Always.

Michele Baeten, associate brand director and Always #LikeAGirl leader at P&G, said: "Of course, societal limitations are broader than just emojis, but when we realised that stereotypical, limiting messages are hiding in places as innocent as emojis, it motivated us to demand change.

"Girls are downright amazing, and we won’t stop fighting all the limitations and knocks in confidence they experience at puberty until every girl feels unstoppable."

This is the third spot in Always’ Like A Girl campaign, which hinges on the sanitary brand’s observation that a girl’s confidence plummets during puberty.

The original spot, directed by Lauren Greenfield and created by Leo Burnett, won plaudits for shifting the conversation on gender equality. It was released on June 2014 and immediately went viral before airing during P&G’s Super Bowl ad slot in 2015.

A second spot followed last August, with P&G describing the campaign as a "movement".

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