Eggplant Emoji (🍆 ), also referred to as the aubergine, is an ideogram depicting a narrow, oblong species of Japanese eggplant, often used in online and text message conversations to represent male genitalia or as a sexual innuendo. While the emoji set is standard worldwide, this association is generally confined to the United States.
The eggplant emoji was added to the official Unicode emoji set in 2011, and was adopted to the standard keyboard of all iPhones that year. According to a history written by First We Feast, the sexual association began almost immediately, although it is unclear why. First We Feast writes:
There’s still the question of why the eggplant made the jump to the dark side. Even if we rule out the banana for its grade-school awkwardness, why not the corn cob, the snake, even the Easter Island head? It’s precisely because Americans had no cultural association with eggplants prior to the emoji revolution that it was the perfect euphemism.
In April 2015, Swiftkey performed a study measuring the rates of use of different emoji per country. The study found that the highest rates of use of the eggplant emoji were in the United States and Canada, and that in both countries, the eggplant accounted for approximately 0.1% of all emojis sent.
Most social networks do not allow you to search by Unicode characters; however, the hashtag #eggplantfriday, commonly used by men to allude to or display their genitalia on Fridays on social networks has over 125,000 associated posts on Instagram as of October 2015, and receives about 100 new Twitter uses each Friday. While many users have embraced the eggplant emoji as a way to allude to sexual content without actually displaying it, some critics have asked if its agreed-upon meaning could lead to non-consensual sexting.
Instagram Search Bans
On April 29th, 2015, Instagram announced that, while beginning to allow searches of emoji-related hashtags, the social network would not allow users to search for the eggplant emoji. According to CNN, "A spokesman for Instagram said the eggplant emoji was made unsearchable because it was "consistently associated" with photos or videos that violate the social network's community standards," including their bar against nudity. Users responded by creating the hashtag #freetheeggplant, modeled after the similar #freethenipple hashtag campaign; as of October, 2015, over 1,100 posts are associated with that hashtag on Instagram.
 First We Feast – THE COMPLETE (AND SOMETIMES SORDID) HISTORY OF THE EGGPLANT EMOJI
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