A “pregnant man” emoji and “pregnant person” emoji are coming to Apple iPhones with its latest update, iOS 15.4 sparking controversy.
The pregnant emoji aren’t new for some, since they arrived as part of an update that emoji-encyclopedia Emojipedia announced in September 2021. However, Apple’s version of the emoji were released as part of iOS 15.4 beta — a voluntary system update iPhone users can choose to install.
The update will come to all iPhone users later this year.
The push to include everyone in pregnancy has erupted in controversy, with some cultural commentators arguing that the effort to make the biologically specific phenomenon all-inclusive erases factors that make women distinctive from men and even dehumanizes women.
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Emojipedia faced some criticism when it first announced the pregnant man and pregnant person emoji in September of last year. The company said in a blog post that the new figures “may be used for representation by trans men, non-binary people, or women with short hair—though, of course, use of these emoji is not limited to these groups.”
The emoji can also be used as a “tongue-in-cheek way to display a food baby, a very full stomach caused by eating a large meal,” Emojipedia’s Jane Solomon wrote.
Both new pregnant emoji also come in five different skin tones. When selecting an emoji, users can hold their finger on the icon until it shows different skin tone options.
Emoji first came to Apple in 2016, when the pregnant woman emoji was released.
Emoji creators have “made an effort to be inclusive with gender, especially in recent years. The approach has varied depending on the situation, though the general goal is to standardize inconsistencies in legacy decisions,” Solomon wrote.
According to health website Healthline.com, people who were born biologically female but identify as men are transgender men who can give birth because they have the reproductive organs necessary to do so — especially those who do not take or have stopped taking testosterone. The same goes for those who identify as non-binary.
It is unclear how many men have gotten pregnant or delivered babies in the United States. At least 22 men in Australia gave birth in 2018, The Daily Mail reported, citing the country’s Medicaid data.