Facebook renames 'feeling fat' emoji amid protests

"When Facebook users set their status to 'feeling fat,' they are making fun of people who consider themselves to be overweight," said Catherine Weingarten of Endangered Bodies.
By Ben Hooper Contact the Author   |   Updated March 10, 2015 at 10:08 AM

COLUMBUS, Ohio, March 10 (UPI) -- Facebook appears to have removed a "feeling fat" emoji from its website after a body image group protested the double-chinned image.

The puffy-cheeked, double-chinned emoji remained on the site Tuesday as a status update option, but the text was changed from "feeling fat" to "feeling stuffed."

The move came after a body image group gathered more than 16,000 signatures on a petition calling on Facebook to remove the "feeling fat" emoji.

The former 'feeling fat' emoji on Facebook has been changed to 'feeling stuffed.' Facebook screenshot

Catherine Weingarten, 24, an Ohio State graduate student and member of international body image group Endangered Bodies, said she started the "fat is not a feeling" petition on Change.org because she sees the "feeling fat" emoji, which is among dozens of "feelings" icons available to Facebook users, as a form of body shaming.

"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," Weingarten told ABC News.

"I think we all need to be a little more careful about how we talk about their bodies and learn how to use a more body positive vocabulary," she said.

Endangered Bodies said chapters in Argentina, Australia, Brazil, England, Germany, Ireland, Mexico and the United States have joined the campaign. The group issued a statement on its website.

"Fat is a substance that every body has and needs. Fat is also an adjective -- a descriptive word about a physical attribute. Just like tall, short, black or white, it should not be misused to shame oneself or others. However, the fashion, beauty and diet industries have an interest in making us feel insecure about our own bodies and over time 'fat' has become a negative word, not a simple statement of size. There is nothing neutral about it. The stigma and criticism of fat and the elevation of thin make them stand-ins for other kinds of words, feelings and moods."

Facebook issued a statement in response to the petition, but did not comment on the removal of the "feeling fat" emoji.

"People use Facebook to share their feelings with friends and support each other. One option we give people to express themselves is to add a feeling to their posts. You can choose from over 100 feelings we offer based on people's input or create your own," the statement read.

Weingarten said Facebook would send a powerful message by removing the offending emoji.

"With 890 million users each day, it has the power to influence how we talk to each other about our bodies," Weingarten said of Facebook. "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."

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