Always #LikeAGirl Encourages Girls to Rally for Change in Their Favorite Language: ‘Emoji’
The latest evolution of “#LikeAGirl” from Leo Burnett Chicago brings to light the blatant stereotypes within the current world of emojis
Girls send over a billion emojis daily—and 67 percent of those girls agree that the way women are portrayed in available emojis implies that girls are limited to what they can do, and 54 percent of girls believe that female emojis are stereotypical. Whether it’s a bride, a princess or a random tango dancer in a red dress, current female emojis lean heavily into gender stereotypes, and #LikeAGirl is back to ask girls how they want to see that change.
Leading the creative charge on this cultural movement is Nancy Hannon, EVP, executive creative director at Leo Burnett Chicago. She took a moment to share with us her overarching views on the mission of #LikeAGirl and how “Emoji” came to life:
How did you arrive at emojis for the creative basis of this latest evolution of #LikeAGirl?
The Always #LikeAGirl mission is helping girls stay confident, especially at puberty when their confidence plummets. We looked at how girls communicate with each other and realized emojis play such a huge role in girls’ lives — these icons are their universal language. Then it dawned on us that the current set of female emojis limits girls to stereotypical roles such as getting their nails done or dancing in bunny ears or wearing pink, but nowhere do you see female sports or job emojis.
It was an illuminating moment when we asked ourselves, how could this be? Girls send over a billion emojis every day and their own favorite language has a limited and stereotypical narrative. These subtle messages are damaging to a girl’s confidence — a societal “knock.” Always is focused on changing the conversation around issues that impact or limit girls’ confidence. Emojis should be as unstoppable as the girls they represent.
How does this campaign continue to counteract female stereotypes?
These “knocks” from society that impact girl’s confidence are insidious and often times go unnoticed—unless someone shines a light on them. They are subtle, but damaging. It blew us away when we discovered girl emojis are so limiting. It’s not that girls don’t want to do their nails or wear pink—many do—but girls want to do the other stuff too, like play sports and be professional, and more.
Data truly reinforces and fuels the mission for Always. Though the issue of societal limitations of girls is bigger than just emojis, we cannot accept that 67% of girls say available girl emojis imply girls are limited in what they can do.
We will continue the mission to help society realize all of the limiting messages that we are sending girls, and encourage everyone to rally around change.
There’s a true authenticity to #LikeAGirl. Creatively speaking, what are some of the ways you’ve been able to maintain this?
In the true spirit of social experiment, transparency and authenticity, we believe that the girls write the scripts. We are in service of their narrative. That transparency and authenticity is the cornerstone of the work we are doing to shine a light on the mission of helping girls stay confident, especially at puberty when confidence plummets.
How can people engage with “Emoji?” What does Always plan to do with all the emoji suggestions?
Always is asking girls to express what girl emoji they want to see, by sharing a picture, a video or tweet using #LikeAGirl to inspire young girls everywhere that anything and everything is possible.
What do you hope this campaign will contribute toward the overall mission of #LikeAGirl?
“Like a girl” went from an insult to a phrase that represents strength, talent and amazing things. We plan to build on the power of this amazing phrase and continue the mission to help society realize all of the limiting messages that we are sending girls and encourage us all to change.
I hope that someday we run out of society knocks that are damaging to girl’s confidence because that would mean we highlighted every limiting message that society sends girls and we have truly driven real societal change. Always will have completed its mission to help all girls stay confident at puberty and beyond — what an amazing world that would be.