Apple’s nerd face emoji could undergo a major redesign—that is, if an English schoolboy gets his way.
According to the BBC, 10-year-old Teddy Cottlel has launched a petition to change the popular icon, which depicts a bright yellow smiley face with thick-rimmed glasses and protruding front teeth. The Oxfordshire boy says the emoji and its title are “offensive” and reinforce stereotypes about the bespectacled population.
“We want to change this—Apple are making it absolutely horrible for people wearing glasses,” he told the BBC. “They’re making people think we’re nerds and it’s absolutely horrible. It’s making me feel sad and upset, and if I find it offensive there’ll be thousands of people around the world that find it offensive too.”
Teddy, who also wears glasses, said he became disappointed with the emoji while texting one of his cousins, and expressed his frustration to his teacher, Lisa Baillie.
“I love his inquisitive mind, and the fact he fights for what he believes in,” said Baillie, who helped Cottlel launch the online petition. “He’s quite vocal about it but in quite a grown-up way, and I think that should be supported, encouraged and commended as well.”
Teddy said it would “feel amazing” if Apple decides to revamp the emoji. He even came up with his own version that better complimented him and his fellow spec-wearers.
“It’s got thin lenses and thin frames…and then it’s got a little smiley face instead of the horrible rabbit teeth,” Cottlel said about his mockup, which was dubbed the “genius emoji."
“I like wearing glasses because they make me see a lot better, and they look good and stylish," he said.
As of Thursday night, Teddy’s “No Nerd Emoji” petition had garnered more than 600 signatures from a variety of countries.
“I have put together this petition as I am upset and angry by the Nerd Emoji,” Cottlel wrote on the campaign page. “I think the nerd emoji is offensive and insulting to all those people in the world who wear glasses. I think people who wear glasses are cool and I am worried that people who are getting glasses for the first time will think they are going to look like rabbits or rats.”
The petition includes a number of encouraging comments, including one signator who wrote, "I wear glasses and so does my boy. Removing the teeth and rebranding to genius, is genius! You make me proud to be part of the glasses wearing community!" Another supporter commented, "I believe in promoting body positivity and I would like to support a brilliant initiative."