Sometimes our cultural ideals take root so deeply that we just accept them without question. We go on putting up with–or even perpetuating–the norm, maybe without even realizing. That’s just the way it is. Right?
Take just a few weeks ago, for example. Facebook launched a “feeling fat” emoji, featuring a double-chinned smiley face with rosy, full cheeks. The emoji was listed among other feelings–happy, sad, stressed, mad, calm. At BodiMojo, we fully encourage teens (and everyone, for that matter) to tune in to their emotions. We believe it’s important to ask kids how they’re feeling. We also believe, however, that fat is not a feeling.
That’s why we commend the Endangered Bodies global initiative for calling Facebook out and starting the international petition to remove the “I feel fat” and “I feel ugly” status options emoticons. They argued that Facebook should not facilitate digital body shaming:
“Endangered Bodies sees this fear of fat and idealisation of thinness throughout society as a form of weight stigma, which can have a serious impact on the millions of people dealing with negative body image. Body-shaming and weight stigma are associated with lower self-esteem and disordered eating, an issue that Facebook – being a social platform – needs to take seriously.”
We echo the sentiment that the majority of adolescents (especially girls) struggle with body image and that Facebook need not become one more forum for such negativity. As the petition video from the UK states, “We do enough comparing as it is, we don’t need a status update to make it even easier to feel bad about ourselves.”
After gaining nearly 17,000 signatures to their petition, the activists at Endangered Bodies rejoiced in victory: Facebook has since changed the “feeling fat” emoticon to “feeling stuffed.” Bravo, Endangered Bodies and petition-signers! These small strides make a difference.
What other cultural norms need tackling?
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