Next time you feel the need to express yourself on Facebook, you may have one less emoticon to work with. There is a new petition on Change.org urging Facebook to remove the status update emotican “feeling fat” because it promotes body shaming on the social media site.
Time reports about the petition created by the international organization known as Endangered Bodies. The organization wants people to embrace the idea that bodies come in all shapes and sizes. They believe the “feeling fat” emoticon only promotes body shaming and self-destructive behavior in an environment frequented by impressionable young women and men.
Ohio graduate student Catherine Weingarten is serving as one of seven Endangered Bodies ambassadors from around the world in charge of the petition which has already garnered almost 16,000 signatures. They are telling Facebook that “fat is not a feeling” and should not be included in the emoticon options on the site.
The “feeling fat” phrase really strikes a cord with Weingarten who herself struggled with an eating disorder when she was younger. She explains, “This issue is so important because being a young person, Facebook is kind of the way we live.” She adds, “For me, when I see the words ‘I feel fat,’ it takes me back to when I was struggling, and I don’t want people to not take it seriously. When people see that on Facebook, I want them to realize that it’s not just a light, cute sort of thing for everyone.”
Though Weingarten’s petition signatures are growing, Facebook recently released a statement to People that they stick by their “feeling fat” emoticon. The statement reads, “People use Facebook to share their feelings with friends and support each other. One option we give people to express themselves is to add a feeling to their posts. You can choose from over 100 feelings we offer based on people’s input or create your own.” The statement also adds that Facebook works with the National Eating Disorders Association in an effort to help those that are suffering with eating disorders.
UPDATE 3/10: Since original publication of this post we learned that Facebook has removed their "feeling fat" emoticon. Endangered Bodies was thrilled that their petition was able to garner so much attention. Weingarten recently issued a statement to ABC News about the removal of the status update. She said, "As someone who struggled with body image, I feel so happy that I am eliminating one form of fat shaming and body hatred on the internet. I hope that this shows that there is space for body positivity in our mainstream culture and that we really can make a difference."
What do you think of the “feeling fat” emoticon on Facebook?
Are you happy to see it has been dropped from the emoticon menu?