These days you can boycott just about anything: bad school lunches, unfair rules, and now Facebook emoticons. Activist group Endangered Bodies has started a campaign urging the social network to get rid of the word “fat” as an option for the moods feature. The group feels that the option is hurtful and encourages body shaming.
Endangered Bodies is a non-profit organization which empowers women to embrace their bodies and defend them against the shaming the so often occurs in the modern world. The group has gathered seven worldwide ambassadors to manage a change.org petition, according to Time Magazine. The roster includes an Ohio based student, Catherine Weingarten, who recently made a statement about the importance of the petition.
“This issue is so important because being a young person, Facebook is kind of the way we live.”
The emoticon being petitioned is a one with large cheeks to represent “fat,” and also serves as the emoticon for the emotion “feeling stuffed,” which unrealistically insinuates that all people who are large have the tendency to over-eat. Regardless of the falsities that the emoticon represents, Endangered Bodies is petitioning it because “fat is not a feeling.” Weingarten explains her organization’s stance in fuller detail.
“I always had this idea of ‘I’m fat,’ ‘I feel fat,’ but when I was saying that, that wasn’t actually how I was feeling. I was feeling angry at myself and like I wasn’t good enough, but I simplified it to ‘I feel fat.’ Through therapy, I was able to work through it, and now I feel like, ‘Wow I never felt fat. I felt like I wasn’t good enough.’ “
The whole ordeal is getting a lot of attention in the health industry as well as the attention of Facebook itself. The social network has made statements supporting their emoticon and not making any promises to get rid of it.
“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.”
Catherine Weingarten and the other six activists continue to work towards their goal to remove the “feeling fat” emoticon. Weingarten recently expressed that she sees Facebook’s response as a positive, even though they did not speak of removing the emoticon.
“I’m optimistic. Just the fact that people have been talking about this so much, it’s clear that it’s struck a chord with a lot of people.”
No further responses have been made by Facebook regarding the petition. Endangered Bodies continues to raise awareness of the petition and have taken the internet by storm with videos and other forms of informative media. The change.org petition currently has over 15,000 signatures, but needs over 9,000 more to reach its target level of support.
[Image via Change.org]