Emasculating Emojis?

So I came across a The New York Times article titled “Should Grown Men Use Emoji?”

I was a bit taken aback, for a couple of reasons. One being that the Times really did a story on the sexuality of emojis. #WelcomeTo2015, right?

After my initial feelings of surprise/flippancy passed, I thought this article might actually raise some interesting points. I’ve always thought the use of emojis was kind of feminine – I mean, I use them, of course, but not to the extent of some of my female counterparts. And some most emojis I’ve never even considered using.

We talked in class about whether the emoji was devaluing human language or conversation. I think the general consensus was that emojis aren’t a detriment to literacy, but simply a supplement to or an alternate/simplified form of standard language. I’ll throw a couple in here or there, usually either as a joke or to keep from sounding dry or apathetic.

In the article, a Columbia University professor argued that some men shy away from using emojis because women typically use them more frequently. He explained that women tend to be more overtly expressive in language, but men could benefit from using them more.

I’m not sure how exactly using emojis could be beneficial, but it’s tough to argue that the emoji has’t found its way into our culture, and not just among women.

Check out Roger Federer’s Twitter. Or Drake’s high-five emoji tattoo (it is a high-five, by the way. Not prayer hands.). Or Atlanta Hawks (and former UVA) player Mike Scott’s impressive collection of various emoji tats.

One of the most interesting insights the article provided was into the art of using emojis in romantic communication. I’ve talked to some female friends who have reported feeling creeped out by suitors who use too many emojis in text conversation.

And I agree – whenever I see or hear about a guy being a little too emoji-heavy, I cringe a bit. But I guess the same goes for girls, too. If I’m trying to have a conversation over text with a girl, and she goes a little overboard with emojis, I’m probably gonna be a little uncomfortable.

At the end of the day, I think emojis are meant to be used in jest. They’re obviously not going to be used in any type of business-related talks with associates or in any important conversations with professors (except for JR, maybe). They’re little cartoon images; they’re supposed to be fun and they should be viewed as such by men and women alike.

When it comes to the frequency, though, I’m gonna have to side with the anonymous Reddit user cited in the Times article: “Like anything else, moderation is key.”


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