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Facebook Removes the ‘Feeling Fat’ Emoji

Facebook finally got the memo that fat is not a feeling.

The social media website has removed its “feeling fat” emoticon amid protests and a petition on Change.org that has garnered nearly 17,000 signatures. The emoji is just one of many “feelings” that the site offers to accompany status updates, including “happy,” “anxious,” “sick,” and “blessed.”

The petition, created by an Ohio State University grad student named Catherine Weingarten and members of the body image group Endangered Bodies, was created last week after Weingarten saw the puffy-faced and double-chinned emoji appear on a friend’s status. Weingarten was a little less than amused and didn’t think anything about the image was humorous at all. According to her, the use of the image is 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,” she 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.”

Weingarten also admits that she suffered from an eating disorder when she was younger, which is why she feels that the term “I feel fat” is toxic.

“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,” she says. “I was feeling angry at myself and like I wasn’t good enough, but I simplified it to ‘I feel fat.'”

A few days ago, Facebook issued a statement to ABC News stating that, though the emoticon proved to be pretty controversial, there were still no plans to remove it. 

“People use Facebook to share their feelings with friends and support each other,” the statement read. “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.”

By Tuesday, however, the option was changed from “feeling fat” to “feeling stuffed.”

Shortly after the change, Weingarten shared her excitement with ABC News.

“As someone who struggled with body image, I feel so happy that I am eliminating one form of fat shaming and body hatred on the internet,” she said. “I hope that this shows that there is space for body positivity in our mainstream culture and that we really can make a difference.”

Now, if only Facebook could get rid of that “feeling ugly” emoji. 

Danielle is a senior at the University of Georgia majoring in English and minoring in Sociology. You can usually find her dividing her time between being Campus Correspondent of Her Campus UGA, binge-watching Grey's Anatomy on Netflix and daydreaming about being one of Beyonce's backup dancers. If you want to know more about Danielle, you can follow her on Instagram (@danielleknecole_) or Twitter (@DanielleKnecole).
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