FEATURE

Endangered Bodies International Campaign #Fatisnotafeeling

Global FB Share

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.

By the Endangered Bodies Global Team

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!

Listen to their individual stories and sign the petition closest to you at the Endangered Bodies global blog.

SUCCESS: On March 10, 2015 Facebook responded to our concerns and removed its "I feel fat" emoticon. Their official statement can be found here.

Share

Bio

Sharon HeadshotSharon grew up in a suburb of Toronto, Canada and earned undergraduate degrees in Psychology (B.Sc.) and Exceptionality in Human Learning (B.A.) at the University of Toronto. In her last year of study, she was a regular guest on the radio program Life Rattle where she orated several of her short stories, many of which addressed body image and violence against women. After graduation she devoted her energies to a career in social work, in roles that included supporting families and individuals with intellectual and physical handicaps, co-facilitating eating disorder support groups, and acting as a literacy assessor and educator for homeless women. Upon reaching burnout, she decided to re-evaluate her professional goals via traveling, studying alternative healing arts, and writing.

MORE...

Bio

Sharon grew up in a suburb of Toronto, Canada and earned undergraduate degrees in Psychology (B.Sc.) and Exceptionality in Human Learning (B.A.) at the University of Toronto. In her last year of study, she was a regular guest on the radio program Life Rattle where she orated several of her short stories, many of which addressed body image and violence against women. After graduation she devoted her energies to a lengthy career in social work, in roles that included supporting families and individuals with intellectual and physical handicaps, co-facilitating eating disorder support groups, and acting as a literacy assessor and educator for homeless women. Upon reaching burnout, she decided to re-evaluate her professional goals via traveling, studying alternative healing arts, and writing. After backpacking throughout Mexico, Southeast Asia, and much of South America, she found her second home in Buenos Aires, Argentina. It was there she committed herself to writing. She studied the craft, joined a writer's group (Thursdays@Three), and experimented with various styles of fiction and non-fiction, which led to her participation as an author, editor, and presenter at the International Book Fair in Buenos Aires in 2008 and 2009 representing the US Embassy.

Today, she is a freelance writer and editor who has worked with a wide variety of subjects, including but not limited to medicine, web design, the American justice system, wind technology, anthropology, psychology, and the English and Spanish languages. She has authored textbooks and several online courses for colleges and universities throughout the U.S., Canada, Europe, and Latin America. From authoring white papers to copy editing university-level exams, from ghostwriting for bestselling authors to development editing quarterly and annual reports, Sharon's experience is far-reaching.

She especially enjoys combining her love of the written word with her passion for body image activism and feminism. She regularly writes for Herizons, Canada's leading feminist magazine, and most recently, has contributed to Fifty Shades of Feminism (Virago), an anthology of "fifty women young and old - writers, politicians, actors, scientists, mothers - [who] reflect on the shades that inspired them and what being woman means to them today."

In 2009, Sharon joined the London-based AnyBody team, part of the international movement Endangered Bodies, which inspired her to organize Endangered Species: Preserving the Female Body in Buenos Aires, one of five international summits held in March 2011. Subsequently, she founded AnyBody Argentina, the Buenos Aires chapter of Endangered Bodies, which fights against sizeism and promotes healthy body image for Argentine girls and women, issues that Sharon writes about in both English and Spanish. From 2009-2014, she was co-editor for AdiosBarbie.com, a website that promotes healthy body image and identity for people of all sizes, ages, races, cultures, abilities, and sexual identities and orientations.

Since January 2013, Sharon has been a member of the Global Advisory Board for the Dove Self-Esteem Project, advising on issues affecting today's young people with a specific focus on improving their self-esteem and body confidence. Sharon also contributes to various resources for parents, mentors, and youth leaders, and in addition to writing original, extensively researched articles for the Dove Self-Esteem site.

Close

Proud Contributor to:

Fifty Shades of FeminismPublished in March 2013, Sharon contributes "Owning the F-word" to this anthology of "fifty women young and old - writers, politicians, actors, scientists, mothers - [who] reflect on the shades that inspired them and what being woman means to them today."

Twitter feed