It looks like emoji characters (“emoticons” in English) continue to occupy a lot of Unicode social media bandwidth. Ars Technica has noted that U+1F595 refers to the “REVERSED HAND WITH MIDDLE FINGER EXTENDED”. That’s the U.S. gesture for “F*ck You” (which I am sure has spread elsewhere). It’s right between U+1F594 REVERSED VICTORY HAND and U+1F596 RAISED HAND WITH PART BETWEEN MIDDLE AND RING FINGERS. Star Trek fans will know this is as the Vulcan “Live Long and Prosper” gesture (but it is also used in some Jewish services). All three are from the “Miscellaneous Symbols and Pictographs” block in the Unicode Charts.

depiction of 3 characters
Image from Unicode Charts


Ars Technica has reported that Apple and Google have declined to provide fonts supporting this character for iPhone and Droid, but Windows 10 will not only support it, but allow it to be displayed in multiple skin tones (use at your own best discretion).

For once, I agree with Microsoft. First, it doesn’t seem right to deprive people of the right to any emoji. I have heard people shout out “F*ck you” in the most lovingly affectionate ways as well as the more obvious precursor to a social media death match. Who are we to judge when it can be used (besides the lack of emoji won’t proscribe anyone from writing Fuck you!!!!!

Second…this gesture is not always obscene. In grad school, a Malaysian hall mate pointed out that her mother used this gesture to mean ONE item. This wasn’t an issue until her mother used it in the U.S. to ask for ONE item and confusion abounded. This ambiguity is why the character is named after the finger position and not to any meaning. Many characters in Unicode have ambiguous meanings depending on location and semantic domain, and this is one of them.

I’m hoping that the lack of this middle finger emoji in different systems is U.S. only that a jailbreak will be found…real soon. In the meantime, I can also recommend the U.K. gesture reverse victory sign (U+1F594).

Share →

Leave a Reply

Skip to toolbar