Is Facebook promoting body-shaming?

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Facebook is known for its lack of sensitivity, with the social networking website recently being criticised by its transgender users for locking them out of their accounts for failing to use their legal name. Now, the site has been accused of promoting body-shaming and causing self-destructive thoughts because of its “feeling fat” status and emoji.

Currently, the site has a list of emotions that enable users to share how they are feeling with others. Users can choose to select “feeling fat” amongst other emotions, causing a petition to be set up in order to have it removed.

Endangered Bodies, a global group who helps to prevent girls and women from being turned against their own bodies, said that the status and emoji should be removed in order to prevent people from having self-destructive thoughts.

Many users feel the same way, with some taking to Twitter and using the hashtag #fatisnotafeeling to express their opinion. The petition, which can be found on Change.org, currently has over 15,000 signatures.

“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,” said Catherine Weingarten, who started the petition with Endangered Bodies. “That is not ok. 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.”

 

She continued: “Facebook is the most popular social networking site in the world right now. With 890 million users each day, it has the power to influence how we talk to each other about our bodies. 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.”

It appears that the social networking website is already aware of issues such as eating disorders. It currently has a help page for users who are concerned that a friend may have an eating disorder and currently works with the National Eating Disorders Association to provide advice.


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