Facebook's feeling fat emoji has been getting some significant backlash, with over 16,700 people signing an online petition which wants to have the emoticon eliminated from the site altogether. The petition is on change.org, and was set up by Catherine Weingarten, pictured above, along with the group Endangered Bodies. According to the page, the petitioners are demanding "that Facebook remove the “fat” emoji from its status options and stop encouraging negative body image among girls."
Facebook is the most popular social networking site in the world right now. With 890 million users each day, it has the power to influence how we talk to each other about our bodies. I dream that one day the platform will actively encourage body positivity and self-esteem among its users, but for now, all I ask is that it stop endorsing self-destructive thoughts through seemingly harmless emojis.
Also on the petition's page, Weingarten shared her own personal story;
Scrolling through Facebook the other day, I saw a friend’s status set to “feeling fat,” accompanied by an emoji with chubby cheeks and a double chin. I think it was supposed to be funny, but seeing this status made me feel angry.
As someone who has struggled with and overcome disordered eating, I know what it’s like to “feel” fat. 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.
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. Join me in asking Facebook to remove the “fat” emoji from their status options.
Fat is not a feeling. Fat is a natural part of our bodies, no matter their weight. And all bodies deserve to be respected and cared for.
Facebook has defended the emoticon in a statement to ABC News, saying;
'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.'
So over to you my readers. Do you think feeling fat should be one of these 100 options? Or do you agree that it should be removed?