Social media: Facebook has removed a controversial “feeling fat” emoticon after thousands complained that it promoted body-shaming.
The emoticon, which featured chubby cheeks and a double chin, was previously listed as an option for status updates. It came under fire recently thanks to a Change.org petition from Catherine Weingarten of Endangered Bodies, a group that aims to “challenge the current toxic culture that promotes negative body image.”
Weingarten argued — and many agreed — that “fat is not a feeling” but a natural part of our bodies, and all bodies deserve to be respected.
“As someone who has struggled with and overcome disordered eating, I know what it’s like to ‘feel’ fat,” she wrote in the petition. “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.”
“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,” Weingarten continued. “That is not ok.”
Some 16,771 people signed the petition asking Facebook to remove the emoticon, and the social network listened. In a statement Tuesday, Facebook confirmed that it has removed the “fat” option in their list of emoticons.
“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,” the social network said. “So we’re going to remove ‘feeling fat’ from the list of options. We’ll continue to listen to feedback as we think about ways to help people express themselves on Facebook.”
Weingarten said she is “thrilled” Facebook decided to remove the emoji. “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,” she wrote.