People who "feel" fat can express that emotion on Facebook with an emoticon that features a little face with puffy, rose-colored cheeks.
However, Catherine Weingarten, a student at Ohio University in Athens, and the organization Endangered Bodies have launched a petition to ban the tiny symbol because they claim "fat” is not a feeling, and they believe the little emoticon makes fun of people who think they are overweight.
"Just growing up, I struggled a lot with an eating disorder," Weingarten told The Washington Post. "It’s one of those things that my younger life is defined so much by, someone asking if I lost weight. I was so focused on the way people looked at me and being attractive, that that’s all I could see."
The petition on Change.org reads:
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As someone who has struggled with and overcome disordered eating, I know what it’s like to “feel” fat. 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.
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. 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 response to the petition, a Facebook spokesperson told The Washington Post, "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."