FAT is not a feeling Debunking the Myth: FAT Is Not a Feeling

In 2015, Facebook added a list of feelings, along with matching emoticons, to choose from when updating your status. Sadly, among those feelings was “fat”. The emoticon associated with the “fat” feeling was chubby-cheeked with a double chin. As you can imagine, this caused an uproar. Members of the eating disorder community voiced their concerns that this was a digital form of body shaming.

Fat is not a feeling. Fat is a natural part of our bodies. Most likely, when a person states that they “feel fat”, they are really saying that they are uncomfortable in their body. Emotions have nothing to do with our body shape, there are people who have larger bodies and are happy, and there are people who are thin and miserable.

Facebook Is An Influential Voice

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. After the uproar from the eating disorder community, over 16,000 people signed a petition to demand Facebook remove fat as a feeling. A spokesperson from Facebook stated in an email:

“We’ve heard from our community that listing “feeling fat” as an option for status updates could reinforce negative body image, particularly for people struggling with eating disorders. So we’re going to remove “feeling fat” from the list of options. We’ll continue to listen to feedback as we think about ways to help people express themselves on Facebook”.

Two Different Things

An emotion is described as a conscious mental reaction (as anger or fear) subjectively experienced as strong feeling usually directed toward a specific object or situation and typically accompanied by physiological and behavioral changes in the body. Fat is described as a natural oily or greasy substance occurring in animal bodies, especially when deposited as a layer under the skin or around certain organs. These are two very different things.

So next time you “feel fat”, try replacing the word “fat” with actual feelings such as hungry, anxious, angry, or lonely.

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