Facebook Finally Removes Its Body-Shaming Emoticon

Illustrated by Gabriela Alford.
Facebook lets its users share almost anything they choose. With the help of a seemingly endless "feelings" selection — from “feeling festive” to “looking for the meaning of life” — it's hard not to find an option to match your mood. However, there is one emoticon that's less innocuous than the others: “feeling fat.” Endangered Bodies, a global initiative created to “challenge the current toxic culture that promotes negative body image," recently called for Facebook to remove its “feeling fat” option. Catherine Weingarten, creator of the U.S. "Fat Is Not A Feeling" petition, explains in the post, “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...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.” By describing fat as a "feeling," Weingarten explains, Facebook is normalizing body-shaming and reducing the experiences of those who have suffered from body-image issues and/or eating disorders. The petition was met with support: It gathered over 16,000 signatures and eventually prompted Facebook to officially remove the "emotion" from its list of options. In an emailed statement to TIME, Facebook acknowledged the "feeling fat" status "could reinforce negative body image, particularly for people struggling with eating disorders." This campaign falls in line with other body-image movements in popular media, including Dove's #speakbeautiful project (which calls for a positive change in how we talk about our bodies on social media), the #freethenipple campaign (which aims to end censorship of women across the globe) and the hashtag trends #bodypositive and #bodypositivity (which have been recently encouraged by Lindsey Demeola, a popular YouTube vlogger). We applaud the efforts of Weingarten, Demeola, and all women who are seeking to make social media a kinder, gentler, more supportive place for everyone. They've got us "feeling hopeful."

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