The eight chapters of Endangered Bodies (Argentina, Australia, Brazil, England, Germany, Ireland, Mexico, and the United States) and a local group in Colombia have come together to create one global campaign, asking Facebook to remove its body-shaming ‘I feel fat’ and ‘I feel ugly’ emoticons and status options.
Fat is a substance that every body has and needs. Fat is also an adjective – a descriptive word about a physical attribute. Just like tall, short, black or white, it should not be misused to shame oneself or others. However, the fashion, beauty and diet industries have an interest in making us feel insecure about our own bodies and over time “fat” has become a negative word, not a simple statement of size. There is nothing neutral about it. The stigma and criticism of fat and the elevation of thin make them stand-ins for other kinds of words, feelings and moods.
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.
Facebook explicitly states that one of its five core values is building social value. By definition, it strives to be a place for social encounters, where people can meet in a friendly atmosphere with new and old friends. We are thus asking Facebook to act on this value. Contributing to the infrastructure for body-shaming is doing the opposite. Research already suggests that Facebook use in general is associated with increased risks of body anxiety and eating disorders.
Facebook should use the impact it has on people’s lives positively by not promoting body-shaming in any way. Bringing emotional literacy to the complex way we feel about ourselves and not collapsing it into good and bad, worthless and valuable linked to fat and thin will give us much more opportunity to know and speak our hearts and minds.
Nine young women from around the globe have joined forces and voices with Endangered Bodies to make Facebook a better place, a platform that doesn’t negatively impact the self-esteem of its users. With a united voice, but in four different languages and nine different individual tones, we petition Facebook to remove the ”I feel fat“ and ”I feel ugly“ status options and emoticons. By sharing their very personal stories and individual experiences with body image, each of our petition starters presents us with a lot of reasons and arguments why we need Facebook to be a body-shaming free zone!
I’m a versatile writer and editor comfortable working with a wide variety of subjects in English and Spanish. My preferred areas of focus are feminism, body image, and activism, but I have experience writing and editing in areas such as medicine, web design, the American justice system, literature, anthropology...