Rayouf Alhumedhi: The Teenager Behind New Hijab Emoji
“I wanted to be represented, as simple as that. I just wanted an emoji of me.”
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“I’m really happy with what it looks like,” Alhumedhi told CNN on Tuesday. “I saw so many ideas, different colours and styles, but I didn’t know what it would finally look like. I’m just so excited because it finally came out after all the work, all the writing.”
The idea of proposing an emoji of this kind occurred to her five years ago, in Berlin where she was living with her family for five years, after moving to the German capital from Saudi Arabia.
It was when she and her friends were creating a Whatsapp group that the realisation dawned upon her that there was no emoji to represent women wearing hijab especially when there were so many women across the world who regularly wear it.
She resolved to take the matters into her own hands and drafted a proposal on her laptop and sent it to Unicode. “I did it very quickly. I did not understand how big a deal this was,” she explains.
Following this, Jennifer 8. Lee, a member of the Unicode emoji subcommittee, put Alhumedhi in touch with Aphee Messer, who worked with the teenager to design the emoji.
The Unicorn Consortium received a lot of flak for releasing an emoji that promotes patriarchy and perpetuating stereotypes.
Despite the stir they are creating, Alhumedhi is hopeful that it will promote tolerance too. She says,