Where does come from?
The family emoji, approved under Unicode 6.0 in 2010, is meant to represent a family unit. The default family emoji depicts a father, mother, and son, all in the supposedly racially neutral color of bright yellow. However, in 2014, after thousands of social-media users and even celebrities like Miley Cyrus signed a petition calling for greater representation in emoji, Unicode added skin tone modifiers in 2015.
Since then, also based on popular demand, Unicode has made available a great number of family sequences to represent more diversity in family types (e.g., a mother and daughter, two fathers and two sons, a father with a daughter and a son) all in various skin tones.
Wasn’t sure if it was real but still great👨👨👧👩👩👧👧👩❤️💋👩👨❤️💋👨👨👨👧👦👨👧👦👩👧👦👩👧👨👧👪👨👩👧👧JB
— John Barrowman MBE (@JohnBarrowman) August 20, 2018
While major vendors like Apple or Android haven’t implemented interracial emojis (though technically available), it was among the top 30 requested emoji of 2016 according to Emojipedia. Microsoft, however, noted the clamor. Its 2016 Windows 10 Anniversary Update came with a simple fix to make sure everyone felt represented: 52,000 different possible family emoji, though they have to be copy-and-pasted in as opposed to accessed directly in a native emoji set. It’s this sheer number that has so far deterred the likes of Apple, as they haven’t figured out how to fit them all on their emoji keyboard.
Who uses ?
Most often, the default family emoji is used to represent family in general, whether nuclear or extended. Typical examples involve a family picture or the birth of a baby.
— keolebile Mmoke🇿🇦💐💕💐💕 (@Keolebile) August 13, 2018
Still can’t believe that your finally here with us, my little Nathan mommy and daddy love you! 💙 👪 pic.twitter.com/gj3ifLoQz4
— Lezlie 🐾 (@TaizTello) August 11, 2018
Often times, the family emoji isn’t in reference to a biological family but rather a community such as a close group of friends or a baseball team.
Be with people who feels like home. 👌
HS fam 👪💕 pic.twitter.com/9wT1hu200m
— Kimmy (@KimmyNambatac) August 11, 2018
last day of cheering on these boys😥 it's been an amazing 6 years with the baseball family👪💞 pic.twitter.com/xWXCCKyoeB
— Payton Dietsch (@payton_dietsch) July 3, 2016
Sometimes, the family emoji transcends the literal idea of family and instead is used to simply represent the idea of unity and togetherness, from political ideology or to a common culture.
@ABC, the Leftists are hypocrites and don't deserve to be respected! #GoTrump 🇺🇸 #WeAreTogether 👊 🇺🇸 👪 🇺🇲 A dark day for Trump. The darkest day for the presidency since Watergate. https://t.co/n38R3Ermuc via @NBCNews
— Helio Bueno (@heliobueno) August 22, 2018
Only Zulu people will say "Uthi Fuck You kumina"
😂Much Love For Zulu people👪😂
— Shy girl🤗 (@LADYEMILY96) August 22, 2018
In other situations, variations of the family emoji are used as a tool to advocate for or celebrate social policies, such as allowing for same-sex couples to adopt children.
same-sex adoption is now LEGAL in all 50 states!! 🇺🇸❤️💛💚💙💜💗👩👩👧👨👨👦👩👩👦👨👨👧
— chels (@igneousqueen) April 1, 2016