University Publishes Social Media Guidelines Including Not Using ‘Gendered Emojis’

Emojis.
Photo by David Becker/Getty Images

On September 28, Colorado State University’s social media team released an article outlining "10 Ways to Make Your Social Media Channels More Inclusive."

While many of the guidelines for "university-wide social media accounts" are standard or inoffensive, the first three are golden examples of PC culture run amok:

  • Use inclusive pronouns (they/them/theirs, students, Rams, everyone).

The caption for this post reads: "Enjoy the sun, Rams. #ColoradoState"

  • Use the yellow emojis when addressing a diverse audience.

The caption for this post reads: "Sun setting = it’s officially the weekend in #Ramcountry."

  • Avoid gendered emojis when possible. Instead use one of the variations of the yellow smiley faces or object emojis.

The caption for this post reads: "Winner, winner, chicken dinner. Here are your #StateOfSummer photo winners."

I have some critiques for the social media team.

According to LiveScience, "rams are male bighorn sheep...[that] often settle arguments with fights that include ramming their heads into others." I’m certain there are individuals on campus for whom the ram is a representation of toxic masculinity, the patriarchy, and heteronormativity. Calling someone a "ram" could be perceived as an act of violence.

Using only yellow emojis is basically a slap in the face of representation. A lack of emoji diversity could have a severe and negative impact on the mental state of minority students.

"Winner, winner, chicken dinner" is a vile caption that not only excludes vegans and vegetarians from the student body, but one which reminds them of the violence their animal brothers and sisters have to endure on a daily basis. Additionally, using the word "winner" implies that there is a "loser," and therefore a "lesser-than." Terminology that is less othering would be preferred.

If Colorado State University wants a truly inclusive social media presence, they need to try harder.

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