Emoji Identity

Dr. Jarryd Willis PhD
8 min readMay 3, 2021


My emoji gender identity has always been female, but it becomes gender neutral when I check something I sent across Laptop/iPhone

E: Why do you use the pregnancy emoji?
J: Because it’s the only one guaranteed not to change.

Anyone else notice this cross-platform emoji glitch?

For some reason the emojis I use when sending an email via my laptop transform when I check that same email via iPhone. So if anyone has seen me use the pregnancy emoji in any recent interactions, that’s why. The pregnancy emoji is the only one that won’t randomly become gender-neutral on me.

They need to fix that.

I identify as a X▲O Woman in MMORPG & in the emojis I use for email, text, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr, Discord, etc & my emoji choice should reflect that.

Right now I’m being coded out of my virtual identity across platforms.

An Intersectional Glitch: Colorism & Gender

Aside from changing my digital #genderidentity into something I didn’t select, this emoji morphing glitch also changes my hair color from a dark one to a much lighter one (and skin tone).

In this way, the emoji coding glitch has a #colorist outcome in addition to one that erases my preferred digital expression of self via the selection of emojis of a particular #gender.

GamerGirl’s Butlerian Lens

Individuals are motivated to construct their identity(ies) using the discourses available in their era(s) & society(ies) (Judith Butler, 1997; Foucault, 2008). In the Social Media, Bitmoji, MMORPG, & profile picture landscapes, the mechanisms of identity construction are as myriad as our multitudes of digital mediums.

GamerGirl shows how identity can be constructed via linguistic performance, behavioral performance, punctuation performance, attire performance, visual digital body performance, emoji performance, etc

working in assembly with the technosocial adaptations of various platforms.


July 18th Email

Even though wearing a mask significantly reduces infection risk (Chu et al., 2020; Lyu & Wehby, 2020; Tian et al., 2020), if you’re talking to someone infected at 6 feet away for 5+ minutes there is a risk of getting infected. The cumulative aerosols produced by a long conversation would eclipse that 6-foot spatial barrier between hosts. It’s the same time-dependent strategy behind using plexiglass protection: it protects you in the short term, but if someone is wearing Brittany Spears cologne or hasn’t showered in 10 days as part of a stinky t-shirt study, that plexiglass won’t protect your nose forever. COViD aerosols can travel in a time-delayed way like bad odor. So if you’re planning on having a long conversation perhaps move an extra foot away from each other for each minute that goes by. I realize this may be easy for me to say as an introvert but social distancing is truly key.

the low viral load reflective of mild cases (lower mortality) rather than the high viral load reflective of severe cases (higher mortality) (Liu et al., 2020; Elisabet Pujadas et al., 2020). I imagine that someone wearing a mask who unfortunately is standing behind an infected person at Walmart is likely to have a lower viral load than someone going to a crowded COViD party in Alabama where masks aren’t allowed. Also, congregating indoors with AC tends to increase transmission — and North America has the highest commercial AC usage in the world. Thus, ventilation systems & windows will be adapted for COViD. Anywho, it’s saturday night so time for xbox & GamerGirl life.

Best regards,

(Speaking of GamerGirl, it’d be nice to have some disaggregated data of transwomen & hormone replacement therapy. COVID down-regulates T-Cells (key component in COVID19 condition ARDS & the severity of lung damage) but estrogen up-regulates T-cell mediated immune responses AND acts on virus receptors. Thus, HRT transwomen should show better outcomes against COVID than cis-men. Cis-women may continue to show the best overall outcomes given that the X-Chromosome contains the largest number of genes that regulate the immune system (Schurz et al., 2019), women have greater immunologic diversity than men since one X comes from each parent (Libert et al., 2010), meaning that women generally have a lower viral load than men in the first place (Addo et al., 2014), higher adaptive & innate response to XY men to viral infections (Klein, 2012), & women benefit from vaccinations more than men (Flannagan et al., 2017; Umlauf et al., 2012; Zhang et al., 2008). Sadly, given that men already felt their masculinity was threatened by a tiny mask I doubt we’ll be seeing a line of Cowboys back in Texas lining up for exogenous estrogen therapy. Still curious about the effects of hormonal birth control… and coffee/starbucks).

Of Godsister

Jarryd: My constant inspiration. Few have the internal fortitude & resilience to weather tempests of this nature themselves, let alone shepherding family through them. If the universe offers any recompense that complements the redeeming value of unearned hardship, then I look forward to the day when Free Byrd’s cup runneth over. She is infinitely deserving of a fulfilling, self-actualized life.

Consumer Racism (assume everything is a direct citation)

Of gender & race… the intimacy of many sharing economy transactions heightens the salience of these variables (Schoenbaum 2016, 2018).

Race plays a notable role in positive or negative outcomes associated with collaborative consumption (Edelman and Luca 2014; Edelman, Luca, and Svirsky 2017). Specifically, consumers are likely to be affected by antipathy toward a given ethnic group’s services as a symbolic means of discriminating against that group, a pattern called consumer racism (Ouellet, 2007).

…sharing economy platforms should address racial and gender discrimination by reducing the intimacy of transactions, especially by making transactions more anonymous (Schoenbaum 2018).

This finding supplements research by Doleac and Stein (2013), who found that minority sellers suffered from lower trust and worse market outcomes than majority sellers.

Our work also confirms the existence of gender and racial discrimination on sharing economy platforms (Edelman and Luca 2014; Ert, Fleischer, and Magen 2016).


… is a way of identifying the multiply disadvantaging dimensions of laws, institutions, and norms. Crenshaw (1989) focused on the inadequacies of existing law and judicial precedent for “the conceptualization, identification and remediation of race and sex discrimination” (1989: 140).

the distinctive experiences of individuals who occupy multiply disadvantaged social positions give them privileged epistemic access to certain regions of social reality. (p. 1297)

For example, Collins refers to “race, class, gender, sexuality, and national belonging as mutually constructing categories of experience” (2003: 209), and Crenshaw refers to “intersectional experiences” (1991: 1244). Here the idea is that what it’s like to be, for example, a woman and black cannot be neatly articulated in terms of this or that single-factor social grouping (Barvosa 2008). Such experiential claims are, in turn, related to epistemic interpretations of intersectionality, which enrich and complicate feminist epistemological traditions such as standpoint theory (Collins 1990; Grasswick 2018).

Intersectionally Mobilized (Terriquez, 2015)

Sex Roles

From a very young age, male gender roles force males to reject a wide range of characteristics that would be considered normal behavior for females.

XY individuals “grow up believing they should not, indeed cannot, display certain emotions in public, forcing them to keep their emotions private.”
— Masculinity and Mental Health (Harland 2008)

Gender socialization & expectations:

For males, avoidance of femininity, physical competence, peer groups, aggression, autonomy, and achievement are all considered important features of being a boy.

For females, elaboration and identification with a maternal role, domestic role rehearsal, physical appearance, acceptance of lower social status, and flexibility of gender-typed behaviors are considered important for a girl.

The 2020 Election marks…

“a renewal of an American conversation where we’re struggling imperfectly to realize the full implications of the Jeffersonian promise of equality,” said Meacham. “It’s taken us too long, our work has been bloody and tragic and painful and difficult and, Lord knows, it is unfinished, but at our best we try.” — Jon Meacham

Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor

Others, like Justice Breyer, don’t dispute that the original meaning of constitutional provisions matters. But they insist that sometimes the original understanding can take you only so far — that on the truly hard cases, the truly big arguments, we have to take context, history, and the practical outcomes of a decision into account.

According to this view, the Founding Fathers and original ratifiers have told us how to think but are no longer around to tell us what to think. We are on our own, and have only our own reason and our judgment to rely on.” (AOHp89)

I have to side with Justice Breyer’s view of the Constitution — that it is not a static but rather a living document and must be read in the context of an ever-changing world.” (AOH p90).

…Fielder used the term to describe a paradigm shift from “the finicky canons of the genteel tradition and the depressing pieties of the Culture Religion of Modernism” to “quite another time, apocalyptic, antirational, blatantly romantic and sentimental; an age dedicated to joyous misology and prophetic irresponsibility; one . . . distrustful of self-protective irony and too great self-awareness.”

In this new age, notions of taste — high and low, classic and popular — melted like the last snows of winter. They were followed by a sort of omni-cultural spring in which the “exploitative” genres of the written word — science fiction, the western, horror, and pornography — could be mined for the purpose of forging capital-L Literature.

…‘truth becomes a function of time… Fidelity to yesterday’s truth consists precisely in abandoning it in assuming it into today’s truth’ (Teilhard de Chardin in Soares de Azevedo, 99).

modularity can frame history and recorded truth as replaceable if relativism is attested to ‘the idea that nothing is definitive, and that truth is dependent on [the versioned editions of] history’ (ibid).

June 2020 Facebook Note (while Notes Existed)

The deaths of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, & (on my birthday, which I celebrated with my mom & my dad named George) George Floyd & sparked the release of long-tempered passions within the hearts of a diverse array of our fellow Americans & people around the world. For many, those passions will slowly show deference to our neural necessity of homeostasis. And that is okay: the unbearable grief & anguish we feel in the face of moral atrocities — the image of yet another body like mine in the posture of death in the street — needn’t last forever. What is critical is that we focus our resolve at this moment on introducing certain ideas into the sphere of conversational legitimacy.

[We successfully did that with Racial Trauma]

In short, our emotions will reset. Right now an alarm is going off in our hearts but at some point our neural circuitry will begin to ‘cover its ears’ & we’ll turn our attention elsewhere. Thus, while we are within the womb of these overwhelming moments, let us strive to ensure that morally productive outcomes are yet borne from the labors of our collective civic virtue.

I have to side with Justice Breyer’s view of the Constitution — that it is not a static but rather a living document and must be read in the context of an ever-changing world.” (AOH p90).



Dr. Jarryd Willis PhD

I'm passionate about making a tangible difference in the lives of others, & that's something I have the opportunity to do a professor & researcher.