Facebook has been allowing users to use emojis to express when they are happy, upset or sick, but it's also been allowing users to say they're "Feeling fat," complete with a round face and double chin. Body image activists say this emoticon leads to people thinking it's OK to body-shame, according to reports.
Endangered Bodies, a body-positive group, is now campaigning to rid Facebook of the emoticon which it says can be harmful to those battling eating disorders, the Washington Post reported. By normalizing "feeling fat," it can make it seem OK to make it a pejorative. The group has started a Change.org petition to remove the option from its emoticon list. So far, it has 13,000 signatures.
The petition was first started by 24-year-old college student Catherine Weingarten. "Just growing up, I struggled a lot with an eating disorder,” she told the Washington Post. “It’s one of those things that my younger life is defined so much by, someone asking if I lost weight. I was so focused on the way people looked at me and being attractive, that that’s all I could see.”
Weingarten said that when she was younger, she and her peers would talk to each other about their unhealthy eating habits or feelings. She said that asking Facebook to take down the "feeling fat" option would make it less "culturally acceptable," the Washington Post reported.
“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 wrote about the petition. “That is not ok. Join me in asking Facebook to remove the ‘fat’ emoji from their status options.”
So far Facebook said it had no plans to remove the emoji but has been talking to activists. “People use Facebook to share their feelings with friends and support each other,” a Facebook spokeswoman told the Post. “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.”