It’s not often that a tech giant takes action in response to a single online petition, but Facebook has done just that by taking down the “feeling fat” emotion option from its status update options.
The online petition on Change.org, launched by two young women from Endangered Bodies London and signed by over 16 000 supporters, protested the ‘feeling fat’ emotion, saying it promoted body shaming. It also called for the social network to remove the ugly emotion as they felt it promoted a low self-esteem particularly among young people.
Here’s the opening paragraph from the petition.
Fat. Ugly. Unworthy. Useless. Unhappy.
Those are words we, like many teenagers, once repeated to ourselves as if it was our mantra. It took years to stop attacking ourselves verbally, and once we finally thought things might be looking up, Facebook decided to push us right back down.
Facebook responded in a statement sent to Endangered Bodies.
“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,” it read. “We’ll continue to listen to feedback as we think about ways to help people express themselves on Facebook.”
Facebook replaced fat with “feeling stuffed” but kept the same emoji.
However, the feeling ugly emotion is still there and neither Facebook nor Endangered Bodies address this.
“We’re pleased to see that FB has removed the ‘feeling fat’ emoji,” Endangered Bodies stated in an update on Change.org.
“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. As individuals who struggled with body image, we feel so happy that we’ve helped eliminate one form of body shaming hatred on the internet.”
[Sourc and image – Endangered Bodies via Change.org]