Like many of my friends, I use a messaging app called Telegram. Today a few of us noticed that starting a message with certain emoji caused a cartoon image to pop up, and we found out through their blog that this was a new feature called ‘stickers’. I’m not entirely sure what the point of them is, but Telegram have introduced their first 14 stickers portraying: “people we respect most. These are great artists, poets, actors, scientists and leaders. We’d like to give them credit for their contributions to human civilization, and we hope that millions of Telegram users share our respect for these outstanding individuals.”
Scrolling through the list, what do you notice? Yup, aside from Mahatma Gandhi and Marilyn Monroe, it’s a very white and male list. These are the dead people that the guys who run Telegram respect most (their words), and I suspect Monroe is only included because she’s sexy. Yup, it’s 2015 and some folk are still operate a little bubble where diversity is a dirty word… or just one they’ve not even considered. Until now.
In their defence, the team at Telegram are now looking for suggestions of famous people from history for the next round of stickers – Martin Luther King, Bob Marley, Malcolm X, Princess Diana, Margaret Thatcher and Audrey Hepburn are apparently “in the works” – and my first ideas were Ada Lovelace, Marie Curie, Rosalind Franklin, Nelson Mandela, Steve Biko, Billie Holiday, Rosa Parks and Josephine Baker. I’ve tweeted this little list at them but reckon that you guys can probably do a lot better. Let’s show the Telegram team that it’s not actually that tricky to come up with a diverse list of influential historical figures. Pop your suggestions in the comments and let’s see how many we can get.
UPDATE: Telegram have added even more women to this set and artists can submit their own sticker sets, so now there’s even more choice!
RT @lipsticklori: Blog Post: @telegram stickers & #diversity. Can you help me come up with a better list? http://t.co/nI1fKna7wM
@lipsticklori @telegram some women for your list: a disapproving Maggie Thatcher, a tea-drinking Jane Austen, a depressed Sylvia Plath
Telegram stickers are sexist and racially biased.