Pop Culture

Congratulations: The Peach Emoji Is Back to Normal

November 16, 2016

Well, well, well. Would you look at that. After the sharp criticism they attracted for a slight cosmetic modification to their peach emoji for iOS 10.2, Apple has revised its design for the peach emoji. Yesterday, the company announced that the Unicode Consortium would officially revert the peach emoji to more closely resemble its original design. Initially, the peach emoji was a pixelated bulbous sphere angled such that, with time, it became the visual synonym for a human butt. The change came in response to the widespread consternation of Twitter denizens who objected to the proposed shift.

For those unfamiliar, a bit of background: the peach emoji is routinely deployed by "us kids" to double as a human butt. Yeah, you heard me. Fanny. Keister. Tuchus. “Gluteus maximus,” for you Marie Curies out there. It is not the only food emoji to have assumed a coital subtext. Consider the eggplant, the nightshade aubergine that some of us believe is shaped curiously like a... well, you know like what. In the developer preview for iOS 10.2, though, the peach looked rather unfamiliar from its original design—the fruit's axis adjusted a few degrees west, its crease less visible, its shapeliness more subtle. A great number of consumers took this to mean that the governing body for emoji, the Unicode Consortium, had bastardized a crucial aspect of our digital vocabulary, and done so with tone deaf abandon.

Hmmm. Not sure this holds water. As I argued earlier this month, this outrage seemed a touch overblown. For one, I still think its (now murdered) redesign resembles a butt. What's more, though, is that the peach emoji has steadily seeped its way into our vernacular over the years, burrowing so deep that I doubt people would stop using it to convey, uh, a butt due to some minor plastic surgery. Would this perceived loss of voluptuousness and curvature have caused a seismic shift in the way we speak to one another on our devices? I'm gonna go with no.

Yet I still maintain my original position that the original iOS 10.2 peach emoji… looks like a butt. (I am not alone.) Imagine the pain of the artist who designed it. It looks like no one listened to me. Unbelievable.

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Mayukh Sen is a James Beard Award-winning food and culture writer in New York. His writing has appeared in the New York Times, the New Yorker, Bon Appetit, and elsewhere. He won a 2018 James Beard Award in Journalism for his profile of Princess Pamela published on Food52.

1 Comment

Angela @. November 17, 2016
How funny. I don't see "butt" I see Hachiya persimmons. Always bugged me but now that I see the alternate use for the emoji I may warm to it ;-)