#FatIsNotAFeeling: Facebook removes 'feeling fat' status option after online petition

#FatIsNotAFeeling: Student Catherine Weingarten launched the Change.org petition against Facebook.

#FatIsNotAFeeling: Student Catherine Weingarten launched the Change.org petition against Facebook. Photo: Facebook

After heavy online pressure and a Change.org petition that garnered over 16,000 signatures, Facebook have removed a double-chinned 'feeling fat' emoticon from their status option drop-down box, acknowledging that it "could reinforce negative body image".

The company also reportedly removed a "feeling ugly" emoticon from the drop-down menu.

"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," Facebook noted in a statement yesterday. "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."

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The tech giant's decision is a win for online activists who've publicly campaigned for the removal of the status option with a Change.org petiton.

Urging followers to rally around the hashtag '#FatIsNotAFeeling', the petition was launched during last month's National Eating Disorders Awareness Week by Catherine Weingarten, a 24-year-old student from Philadelphia, and the body image group Endangered Bodies.  

"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," Weingarten wrote on the petition's website. "Join me in asking Facebook to remove the 'fat' emoji from their status options.

"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."

In a new post published yesterday, Weingarten noted being "thrilled" at Facebook's decision.

"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," she wrote. "As someone who struggled with body image, I feel so happy that I've helped eliminate one form of body shaming hatred on the internet."

Source: The Verge