Tens of thousands of activists are demanding that Facebook remove the “feeling fat” and “feeling ugly” emoticons from their status-update options because those phrases are perceived as making fun of people with eating disorders and endorsing “self-destructive thoughts.”
“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,” states a recent Change.org petition, written by Catherine Weingarten of the Endangered Bodies initiative. “That is not ok.”
“Join me in asking Facebook to remove the ‘fat’ emoji from their status options,” continues the petition, which had a whopping 15,568 supporters at the time of publication.
Weingarten suggested that Facebook change the option to “feeling bloated,” according to an article on Value Walk.
(The “feeling fat” emoji has chubby cheeks and a double chin. It’s not clear exactly what a “feeling bloated” face might look like.)
Another petition, written by Rebecca Guzelian also of the Endangered Bodies campaign, demands that the social-networking website remove not only the “feeling fat” emoticon, but also the “feeling ugly” one.
“Having these word choices completely normalises using derogatory descriptive terms in the place of real feelings,” states Guzelian’s petition, which also has more than 15,000 signatures. “How can a person feel ‘fat’ or ‘ugly’ when these aren’t actually feelings?”
“They describe physical characteristics, NOT feelings,” Guzelian continues. “What’s worse is that these adjectives are judgemental and forced on us by society to make women (and increasingly men) feel negatively about their otherwise healthy bodies!”
Weingarten’s petition explains that the “seemingly harmless” “feeling fat” emoticon is actually definitely a super important issue because its very existence is “endorsing self-destructive thoughts.”
“Fat is not a feeling,” her petition clarifies. “Fat is a natural part of our bodies, no matter their weight.”
There is no word on whether or not the “feeling blessed” option is offensive to atheists, if the “feeling tired” option is offensive to narcoleptics, if the “feeling crazy” option is offensive to those who suffer from a mental illness, or if the “feeling old” option — often selected by college seniors freaking out about their last semester— is offensive to people who are actually old.
Facebook has no plans to change its emoticons anytime soon, according to an article in the Washington Post.