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FEELING FLAT

A humble blue ballet flat is challenging the reign of the 👠 emoji

By Jenni Avins

As women everywhere know, deciding between heels and flats can be fraught. But it’s nice to have options.

That’s the thinking behind the proposal for a new women’s shoe emoji, brought forth by Florie Hutchinson, a Palo Alto, California-based public-relations specialist, and mother of three young daughters. Hutchinson’s proposal, a blue ballet flat with a modest bow, would be the first shoe emoji demarcated for women that doesn’t have a high heel. (In addition to the red stiletto, there’s also a chunky-heeled boot and a mule sandal.)

The emoji dictionary may be just a few years old, but its wardrobe choices are sadly outdated. ”All of them smack of 1950s stereotypical norms,” says Hutchinson, who (full disclosure) has a PR client that makes flats. “There’s pink everywhere … It just needs to be re-thought to reflect women of today—professional, thoughtful, working women.”

Aphee Messer

In July, Hutchinson and graphic designer Aphee Messer—who also designed the “person with headscarf” emoji—submitted their application to the Unicode Consortium. They provided six color choices, and options with and without bows. (Messer said they were going for a Lanvin or Chanel look, though some of us might also see the Sam & Libby version we wore as schoolgirls.) Unicode opted for the blue version, with bow, and it’s now on the list of finalists for 2018.

And what of the red stiletto? “This isn’t ‘Down with the stiletto!'” Hutchinson says. “This is ‘Up with the flat.’ I think there are lots of women who love and look great in stilettos…I think they should freely use them and not be tarred and feathered. But I just don’t think it should be the default shoe.”

And really, we can all still use the sneaker.