A Hawaii-based woman has seen a tweet she posted last night go viral.
Ari, a lesbian in Honolulu, re-shared a tweet depicting a Japanese woodblock print from the 17th century. It purports to show two women having sex. One has tied a traditional tengu mask around her waist. She penetrates her partner using its long nose.
Shunga woodblock prints were known for often depicting erotic scenes, and these sometimes included images of same-sex lovemaking.
Amused by the image, Ari tweeted: ‘Bro. That’s why we have this emoji 👺 shook. We must all now use this emoji to represent a strap.
‘We shall mark this day down in Lesbian history.’
Much to her surprise, fellow lesbians worldwide seemed to have jumped upon the rallying call and are embracing the tengu face mask emoji.
— horchata_lover (@RochaBernice) April 19, 2018
I always wondered what that was honestly😂 pic.twitter.com/DXXTU1U04q
— RobYn🍓 (@robynismobbin) April 19, 2018
At the time of writing, it had 13k re-tweets and over 32k likes.
A few hours after posting the first tweet, Ari jokingly tweeted, ‘I feel honored to have started a new lesbian tradition.’
‘Over the years I’ve learned to handle the homophobia’
Ari told GSN she was blown away by how the emoji tweet had been received.
‘I’m actually extremely surprised on how far the tweet has gone, I feel like I didn’t tweet any different than I usually do!’
So far, the vast majority of comments have been positive and funny, although a few homophobic messages have begun to creep in.
‘I’ve had a few but I feel like it comes with the territory and over the years I’ve learned to handle the homophobia but I’m outrageously thankful that it’s been mostly positive.’
The tengu mask emoji – sometimes called the Japanese goblin emoji – is based on a mythical creature from Japanese folk stories. It was often depicted as a cross between a canine or bird-like monster.
This is not the first time the LGBTI community took claim of an emoji. Last year a poster to Reddit pointed out that the ‘thinking’ emoji looked like someone signing the word lesbian.