Facebook ‘Feeling Fat’ Body-Shaming Emoticon Gets Booted At Last

12 Mar 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Facebook dumps ‘feeling fat’ option after online campaign.

Facebook has removed the “fat” option from its list of “feelings” available as part of its status feature, apparently in response to a Change.org petition which gathered almost 17,000 signatures. “Fat,” which had been listed as an emotion alongside others such as “lazy,” “entertained” and “cute,” was accompanied by an emoticon that shows rosy cheeks and a double chin.

Campaigners claimed victory when thousands of people joined a petition to remove the “feeling fat” emoji from Facebook and forced the web giants into the climbdown. Playwright Catherine Weingarten and a group campaigning against negative body image, Endangered Bodies, argued that “fat” is not, in fact, a feeling, and that the status option – along with an illustrative emoji face with a double-chin – was derisive to overweight people and damaging to those struggling with body image. “As someone who has struggled with and overcome disordered eating, I know what it’s like to “feel” fat.

That emoticon has remained, albeit relabeled as “stuffed.” “We’ve heard from our community that listing ‘feeling fat’ as an option for status updates could reinforce negative body image,” Facebook said. I have spent years of my life consumed with negative thoughts about my body, and far too many days starving myself in an effort to lose weight. “But even worse than the skipped meals and the hours spent obsessing in front of the mirror was the fear of what others thought about me and my body. A petition on Change.org by Ohio grad student Catherine Weingarten had declared “fat is not a feeling,” and gathered more than 16,000 signatures demanding the emoticon be removed. “When Facebook users set their status to ‘feeling fat,’ they are making fun of people who consider themselves to be overweight,” Weingarten wrote. “That is not OK.” Or if they do, they can’t use one of the social network’s emojis – smiley face-style characters which feature caricatures of emotions and states of mind to tell the world via a status update. We’ll continue to listen to feedback as we think about ways to help people express themselves on Facebook.” ‘Feeling fat’ was one among a large number of emoticons that a person on Facebook can use to complement their status updates.

The real danger is that people will think they’ve made a difference to the very real and serious issues around weight loss and they haven’t. “I may have eaten too much or may be having an expanding waistline day. The decision came after a campaign was kick-started on change.org — a popular website that allows users to file petitions and collect signatures to initiate a process of change. I’m not passing judgment on others.” The petition was started by Catherine Weingarten, of American campaign group Endangered Bodies, who admits she has had problems with her own body image in the past. “Facebook has the power to influence how we talk to each other about our bodies. I dream that one day the platform will encourage body positivity and self-esteem among their users but, for now, all I ask is that they stop endorsing self-destructive thoughts through seemingly harmless emojis.” It’s worked.

As a fat woman who loves the way I look, I object to others “But if someone who is lean comes to me saying they ‘feel fat’, I tell them I can help them get fit and strong, which may help them appreciate their bodies and stop being so down on themselves.

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