Feeling fat? Not anymore.
Among the 100 or so “feeling” emoticons that Facebook users could choose from to express how they felt during any certain status update was the option “feeling fat,” accompanied by an emoticon with puffy red cheeks and a double chin. It’s no longer an option, and probably for the best.
Catherine Weingarten, a grad student at Ohio State, and Endangered Bodies, a non-profit group set up to “challenge the current toxic culture that promotes negative body images” teamed up to petition Facebook to remove the emoji because “Fat Is Not a Feeling.” (Another woman, Rebecca Guzelian, below, started a similar petition in Australia.)
Weingarten explained her reasons for starting the petition, writing, “When Facebook users set their status to ‘feeling fat,’ they are making fun of people who consider themselves to be overweight, which can include many people with eating disorders. That is not OK.”
“Fat is not a feeling,” she continued. “Fat is a natural part of our bodies, no matter their weight. And all bodies deserve to be respected and cared for.”
The movement went viral with the hashtag #FatIsNotaFeeling and, in just one month, over 16,000 people signed her petition. With that kind of support, Facebook had to take notice.
And they did. Facebook responded to the petition, saying, “We’ve heard from our community that listing ‘feeling fat’ as an option for status updates could reinforce negative body image, particularly for people struggling with eating disorders.”
“We’re going to remove ‘feeling fat’ from the list of options,” the agreed. “We’ll continue to listen to feedback as we think about ways to help people express themselves on Facebook.”
You’ll have to explore your emotions a little bit more now.
“This success shows us that people together can challenge the cultural messages that are so damaging to our ability to love ourselves and live comfortably in our bodies,” Weingarten wrote in a “Victory!” update. “As someone who struggled with body image, I feel so happy that I’ve helped eliminate one form of body shaming hatred on the Internet.”
Now watch how Kelly Clarkson responded to a fat-shaming journalist: