The eggplant emoji is used by many—from comedians to Kardashians to teens—to symbolize male genitalia. Or, as Amanda Hess wrote for Slate last year, "Move over, banana: The eggplant has risen to become America’s dominant phallic fruit." And while there are surely some out there for whom aubergine is actually erotic, the majority of eggplant emoji users employ this member of genus Solanum not because they want to involve eggplant in their sex lives, but because it (sort of?) resembles a penis. This is to say that while the eggplant emoji may be employed to initiate, describe, or joke about sex, or sext, the majority of those using it are likely not doing so because they have the desire to involve eggplants in their physical sexual activities.
But this is either not understood or ignored by companies concerned with sexual health and pleasure. First, there came (get it!?!?) the Emojibator, a vibrator shaped, obviously, like the eggplant emoji. And then, today, Durex Global made an exciting announcement.
But wait! Don't get too excited and/or upset! Save that flame emoji tweet! The Mirror Online contacted Durex ("u up?"), which clarified that this is part of a campaign to call on the Unicode Consortium to make a safe sex emoji.
Last year, you see, Durex commissioned global research that found that 80 percent of 18 to 25 year olds "find it easier to express themselves using emojis and more than half of respondents regularly using emojis when discussing sex," and that 84 percent of the same demographic "said they feel more comfortable talking about sex using emojis." Durex then called for the creation of safe sex emojis. At the time, Karen Chisholm, Marketing Director of Durex USA, said, "Emojis of this sort will enable young people to overcome embarrassment around the discussion of safe sex, encourage conversation and raise awareness of the importance of using condoms in protecting against sexually transmitted infections (STIs), including HIV and AIDS."
From the Mirror Online:
"Durex knows there is no place for an aubergine when it comes to safe sex", a spokesperson told Mirror Online.
Phew. The spokesperson continued,
"It’s just as questionable, in fact, as a decision not to introduce a Safe Sex Emoji to empower young people to talk about sex, safely, in a language they are comfortable with."
Insert the response emoji of your choice here.