Fat Shaming? Facebook Jettisons ‘Feeling Fat’ Emoticon After Online Backlash

You can’t please everyone, and Facebook is finding that out the hard way… again. Facebook has buckled under pressure from a Change.org petition that called on the social network giant to remove the “Feeling Fat” emoticon. The petition proclaimed that “Fat is not a feeling” and called for the rosy cheeked, double-chinned emoticon to be banished.

Well, Facebook heard the cries of over 16,000 supporters of the petition, and removed the emoticon. In a response the petition, Facebook wrote:

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.

Catherine Weingarten initiated the takedown of the “Feeling Fat” emoticon, writing, “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.

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“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.”

Now that Weingarten has “won”, she returned to her original Change.org petition to write, “I’m thrilled that FB decided to remove the ‘feeling fat’ 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.”

It’s interesting to note that while the “Feeling Fat” emoticon has met an untimely death, other perhaps equally offensive terms like “Feeling Ugly” still remain.


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