Up until 2016, the Rose emoji only had two days in the sun: Mothers’ Day and Valentines’ Day.
Since before the election of 2016, however, rose emoji began popping up in droves on social media, not as aesthetic, but as symbols.
Placed next to usernames and in bios, the rose emoji signals more than an undying love for American Beauty: it indicates membership in the Democratic Socialists of America.
The DSA, which boasts a Twitter following of more than 70,000, first started to amplify their social media presence after Bernie Sanders began his campaign for the presidency in 2015, a DSA spokesperson told Mashable.
Shortly after the Sanders campaign began, two members of the DSA social media committee came up with the idea to start pushing the use of the rose emoji, “as the rose is traditionally a symbol for democratic socialism.”
The red rose “has always been an important symbol with anti-authoritarian associations,” prominently displayed at early May Day celebrations in the 19th century, and later adopted by Democratic Socialist parties in the U.S. and abroad.
The DSA began asking their followers to incorporate the rose emoji into their profiles to show that they were “not afraid to stand behind democratic socialism and [the DSA].”
Comedians, journalists, and authors are among the influential ranks that have incorporated the rose emoji into their tweets and bios, creating a visual web of Democratic Socialists throughout the internet, but more importantly, throughout different factions of society.
If Donald MF Trump can get elected President, *you* can stand up & say you’re a socialist. I did. And it felt #great. Join @DemSocialists🌹
— rob delaney (@robdelaney) March 17, 2017
These members are not to be confused with former contestants on The Bachelor, who, very frustratingly, also tend to use the rose emoji in their bio, but we digress.
The rose emoji’s presence in social media can be at least partially credited with the rise in membership at the DSA: over the past 2 years since its implementation, their membership has quadrupled.
After Bernie Sanders’s explosive campaign made universal healthcare a topic of national conversation, membership rose by almost 2,000, a representative told Mashable.
But the real growth occurred after Donald Trump won the presidency, which skyrocketed membership up to 21,000. The DSA also credits movements like Occupy Wall Street and Black Lives Matter for their membership.
Joining the DSA costs $45 in dues for the first year, and $60 a year after that. Low income individuals can join for $27.
Students and people under 25 are asked for dues of just $20, their demographic being both important to the movement and the driving force behind it.
“The collapse of the economy in 2008 led many millennials to anti-capitalism… we have great digital organizers that have got thousands of them to commit to a socialist organization,” a representative for the DSA told Mashable.
Committing to a socialist organization may be the stuff of your grandfather’s nightmares, but with a majority of Americans supporting a single-payer, federally funded healthcare system, it’s no longer taboo. Their dreamy rose has started to grow real roots in the soil.