Facebook Emojis Take Body Shaming to Whole New Level

The fat-shaming smiley face

Facebook Emojis Take Body Shaming to Whole New Level

Do we take our emojis too seriously? Are we too sensitive when it comes to the little smiley face? More than 15,000 people think so, judging by the petition that is urging Facebook to drop its "fat" and "ugly" emojis from status updates.

Feeling "fat" and "ugly" are both currently listed among other emotions, like "amazed" and "discouraged." According to the body-positive group, Endangered Bodies, the smiley face icons promote body-shaming and foster "self-destructive thoughts."

Simply by virtue of adding the portly or hideous smiley face, users are inadvertently poking fun at people.

The emojis are yet another seemingly minor way in which we are made to feel bad about our bodies.

"Fat is not a feeling," reads the petition. "Fat is a natural part of our bodies, no matter their weight. And all bodies deserve to be respected and cared for."

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(Clearly these people have not experienced the post-Thanksgiving dinner phenomenon.)

Personally, I do not put much value in the power of emojis, yet as a writer I understand—and am continually humbled by—the power of words. Choose the wrong word, or omit another, and you risk skewing the entire message. Maybe it's the same with smiley faces. 

After all, with 100 preset feelings to chose from, maybe feeling "full" after that big turkey dinner should be the obvious and only choice.

So, while the existence of such petition seems at face value ludicrous and petty, I'm willing to concede that it is utterly necessary.  Then again, as people we still wield the ultimate power to put ourselves down. We don't need the help of emojis to do that.

You tell me: Do the emojis we use matter, or is this the most petty petition ever?  

Image Source: YouTube


World Book Day Fail: Boy Dresses as Christian Grey

Harmless fictional fun or grossly inappropriate?

World Book Day Fail: Boy Dresses as Christian Grey

In honour of World Book Day, Liam Scholes thought it would be fun to dress up as Christian Grey, complete with eye mask and cable ties, for his school celebration. 

How is it that an 11 year-old even knows about the bondage lord of fiction?

As the all-time biggest bestselling novel in Britain, it's hopelessly naive to think that children don't have some basic awareness of Fifty Shades of Grey, if not of its actual explicit sexual content.

Needless to say, the Manchester school wasn't impressed, and insisted that Scholes adapt his costume to pay homage to a different fictional character—James Bond—if he wanted to participate in the planned festivities. Trouble is, how is a murderer and serial womanizer an improvement on Grey? Scholes' mom, herself a teacher, "agreed to disagree" with the school, and recoiled at the obvious double standards of its decision.

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In aiming to promote and encourage reading, it seems the school missed the moral of the story. Headteacher Lynn Nicholls defended "the school’s high standards in terms of student behaviour, welfare, and safeguarding."

Um, really? So while Grey was strictly off limits, James Bond was OK. There were various witches and warlocks on show. And it was somehow deemed acceptable for a teacher to dress up as blood-splattered Dexter. How is a serial killer considered a safer bet than a sexual fiend? Beats the hell out of me (sorry). 

Aren't there plenty of age-appropriate heroes and heroines to choose from (Hello Potter! Hello Herimone!) without resorting to an adult catalogue? Maybe school officials need to go away and read a few more children's books before the next event...

You tell me: is dressing as a fictional character harmless fun, or do these educators need schooling in what's appropriate? 

Image Source: Video via Guardian


Female Exec Apologizes for Being "Horrible" To Moms

Executive says, "Women are hurting their future selves."

Female Exec Apologizes for Being "Horrible" To Moms

Katharine Zaleski is sorry. “I didn’t realize how horrible I’d been [to moms]—until I had a child of my own.”

Overnight, a missive in which the former Huffington Post and Washington Post manager apologizes to former mom colleagues has gone viral. While there is plenty of uncomfortable realism in Zaleski's statements, some have smelled a rat. The timing of Zaleski's mea culpa, after all, comes while she is conveniently promoting her new startup, PowerToFly.

Zaleski claims she is putting paid to her regrets, by aiming to change the landscape for working women for the better.

As a young childless woman, Zaleski used to question the commitment of mom colleagues, and mistakenly measured productivity by the number of hours a woman clocked at the office, the times she stayed late or tagged along to "bond" over drinks.

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"For mothers in the workplace, it’s death by a thousand cuts—and sometimes it’s other women holding the knives," wrote Zaleski in her piece in Fortune. "I didn’t realize this—or how horrible I’d been—until five years later, when I gave birth to a daughter of my own."

Seeing that the current work culture is largely incompatible with motherhood, she "didn’t want her [daughter] to feel trapped like me." 

In this respect, Zaleski is hardly the exception to the rule. How many of us have firmly grasped the demands of motherhood until we suddenly found ourselves changing diapers?

Corporate culture is so competitive, it can become a case of us versus them—women versus women, even.

"The way I acted in my twenties had a lot to do with denial," admits Zaleski. "If I didn’t embrace or recognize the mothers on my team, then I didn’t have to think about what my future would be like. I see the same behaviour in young women I talk to who are in charge of hiring, especially in the tech space ... They’re hurting their future selves. Just like I did."

Of course Zaleski's timing suggests an agenda of self-promotion for her new biz. But when that new business is all about making things better for working moms, shouldn't we get behind her regardless of her past crimes against moms?

After all, if PowerToFly lives up to its mission statement, women in tech (and hopefully, eventually, other sectors) won't be driven out of the workforce or subtly 'penalized' for starting a family; they will find more opportunities to work and mother without having to resort to an either/or solution.

Image Source: YouTube