"Fat is not a feeling": Why one girl is petitioning Facebook to ditch the popular emoji
Everyone has the occasional "fat day." Thanks to hormones, salty snacks, and skinny jeans, it's just part of being a woman. Who hasn't moaned to their girlfriends about feeling fat after a long night of Mexican food and margaritas? But for women who struggle with disordered eating, body dysmorphia, or a poor self-image, these fat days can morph into soul-sucking, body-image-destroying weeks and hearing other women talk about their fat woes is anything but therapeutic. Even worse, this type of "fat talk" is contagious, leading to an epidemic of fat days and bad feelings, according to a recent study published in the journal Sex Roles—which is exactly why Catherine Weingarten started a petition to ban the "feeling fat" emoji from Facebook.
Weingarten was incensed after seeing a friend post the chubby-faced emoji. "As someone who has struggled with and overcome disordered eating, I know what it’s like to 'feel' fat," she writes on her change.org site. "I have spent years of my life consumed with negative thoughts about my body and far too many days starving myself in an effort to lose weight. But even worse than the skipped meals and the hours spent obsessing in front of the mirror was the fear of what others thought about me and my body." (Read what 10 Celebs Say About Body Image and Aging Gracefully.)
In fact, a 2014 study found that the more a girl used social media like Facebook and Instagram, the higher her risk was for eating disorders. (Even #fitspiration can become unhealthy at a certain point.)
"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," she writes.
And the researchers agree with her, calling fat talk "terribly harmful." Even girls who reported they liked their bodies, showed an increase in body dissatisfaction after listening to a friend talk about how she hated her own body. "Fat is not a feeling. Fat is a natural part of our bodies, no matter their weight," Weingarten concludes. "And all bodies deserve to be respected and cared for." (See the New Doll Promoting a Positive Body Image.)
We couldn't agree more! Click here to sign her petition and let Facebook know how you feel—and that it isn't "fat"!