UPDATE: Facebook has confirmed it’s removing the option.
“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. 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,” a Facebook spokesperson tells me.
ORIGINAL ARTICLE: It appears that Facebook has listened to petitioners who feel its ‘feeling fat’ emoji encourages “negative body image among girls.”
‘Feeling fat’ is no longer an option in the drop-down menu.
You can still type it in yourself, as Facebook’s enhanced status allows for a free-form submission – but gone is the actual ‘feeling fat’ option, which featured its own emoji with “chubby cheeks and a double chin.”
“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,” says the petition, which has amassed over 16,000 signatures.
“Fat is a substance that every body has and needs. Fat is also an adjective – a descriptive word about a physical attribute. Just like tall, short, black or white, it should not be misused to shame oneself or others. However, the fashion, beauty and diet industries have an interest in making us feel insecure about our own bodies and over time “fat” has become a negative word, not a simple statement of size. There is nothing neutral about it. The stigma and criticism of fat and the elevation of thin make them stand-ins for other kinds of words, feelings and moods,” said Endangered Bodies in a blog post about the petition.
“Endangered Bodies sees this fear of fat and idealization of thinness throughout society as a form of weight stigma, which can have a serious impact on the millions of people dealing with negative body image. Body-shaming and weight stigma are associated with lower self-esteem and disordered eating, an issue that Facebook – being a social platform – needs to take seriously.”
The group also called on Facebook to remove the ‘feeling ugly’ emoji option – but as of now that one still remains.
Facebook did issue a statement a few days ago, but it didn’t really say much.
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.
I’ve reached out to Facebook to confirm it’s pulled the emoji, and will update accordingly.
Image via Change.org