“Feeling fat” is no longer an emoji option in your Facebook status. The gargantuan social network removed the emoji after more than 16,500 people endorsed a change.org petition to eliminate the status because “fat is not a feeling” and is potentially mocking or insensitive to people with eating disorders.
Catherine Weingarten, 24, who wrote the compassionate petition on behalf of the Endangered Bodies group, shared her personal battle overcoming an eating disorder and rallied for Facebook to “stop encouraging negative body image[s] among girls.”
“I dream that one day the platform will actively encourage body positivity and self-esteem among its users, but for now, all I ask is that it stop endorsing self-destructive thoughts through seemingly harmless emojis,” Weingarten wrote in the petition.
An Ohio University graduate student, Weingarten is speaking to a growing endemic among women in colleges and world wide. According to a study on college campuses by the National Eating Disorder Association, eating disorders have increased from 23% to 32% among women over a 13 year period. As of 2014, 2.1 billion people globally are overweight or obese with a 50% increase in children and adolescents.
Rebecca Guzelian from Australia, also associated with the Endangered Bodies, contributed to the petition. “Did you know that Facebook lets you tell all your friends just how much you hate your body?” Guzelian asked.
Facebook complied with the petitioners and wrote the following statement to Buzzfeed:
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.
There are still hundreds of other emoji options for Facebook users to select from that don’t contribute to a culture of body-shaming.