You’re not fooling Instagram when you put that eggplant emoji in your photo captions, and they know you’re not talking about your mom’s moussaka recipe. In 2015, when the photo-sharing site launched its’ “search-by-emoji” feature, the eggplant was noticeably absent — largely because of all the thirst-traps and straight up dirty pics that people kept tagging as #EggplantFriday.
Everyone knows that the eggplant emoji doesn’t have anything to do with the edible plant or with your most recent trip to the farmer’s market. (Unless the farmer sends nudes; in that case, there’s probably some crossover). In 2018, when Dictionary.com started to add definitions for individual emoji, it officially spelled out the fact that the eggplant has been adopted as a near-universal symbol for male genitalia.
“As a dictionary it’s our job to have reference content for the terms or communication tools that people have questions about,” Lauren Sliter, Dictionary.com’s head of content strategy told Time. “And people have questions about what the eggplant emoji means.”
The bigger question is why the eggplant became a shorthand stand-in for, you know. And the answer is…well, nobody’s quite sure. First We Feast did a deep-dive into the eggplant emoji’s history, and tried to determine how its freaknasty meaning was established. The site concluded that it could be because most of us don’t have any real connection to eggplants, so it was easier to use the emoji in a completely unrelated context.
“It’s precisely because Americans had no cultural association with eggplants prior to the emoji revolution that it was the perfect euphemism,” the site wrote. “[T]he eggplant is a vegetal blank slate. How many people have even seen an eggplant—especially the Japanese eggplant, a longer, skinnier variety than the genetically-engineered oddity commonly found in North America—let alone harbor deep personal feelings about them?”
And a urologist added that, uh, it’s the right shape to accompany your sexts. “”If you look through the standard emojis on the iPhone, the eggplant [a skinny Asian variety versus the fat ones often found in the US] is the most phallic,” Dr. Ryan Terlicki told VICE. “The banana has an associated peel and the cucumber is already cut in slices.”
For whatever reason, the eggplant emoji is no longer just an eggplant – but we wouldn’t mind getting that moussaka recipe, all the same.
This write-up was inspired by a round we ran this past Monday on our Twitch pub quiz stream. It was a whole round on what other countries say when taking pictures instead of “cheese.” Find out the inspiring question by watching it NOW.
Back when the world shut down in 2020, we weren’t about to let that stop us from bringing you the best trivia in the business. Thus, the Geeks Who Drink Twitch Pub Quiz was born!
Since then, we’ve resumed our traditional live, in-venue pub quiz operations but we continue to bring you our virtual trivia via Twitch. And, you know, we’re not planning on stopping anytime soon.
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