Tuesday, August 7, 2012


Before diving into this one, let me say first that I understand that there are a few sites that are called Pro-Ana that claim to be supportive environments for those seeking treatment for anorexia. I question the terminology. The name itself could be triggering, as it implies there is something positive about being anorexic, but supposedly there are non-judgemental environments that call themselves Pro-Ana. Unfortunately, the term usually does not refer to these types of sites, if they actually do exist, and people don't often associate a supportive environment with anything Pro-Ana related. What, you think we are that stupid? To be clear, what I have posted below does not address these kinds of supposedly supportive communities. I'm talking about the sites that blatantly encourage destructive and unhealthy behavior. Perhaps the best criticism of ALL of these types of websites comes from ANAD. They state that Pro-Ana sites "can pose a serious threat to some individuals, not simply because they promote eating disorder behaviors, but because they build a sense of community that is unhealthy. They lure the impressionable and persuade them that the Pro-Ana community is providing caring and nurturing advice." 

Even at my worst, I was smart enough to know that what I was doing was unhealthy and dangerous. I was caught in the addiction though. Can you imagine a pro-alcoholic website? How messed up would that be? Yet there are people who actually think promoting thin in excess is OK. I would NEVER want to inflict what I went through on anyone, period. 

Of course I could probably leave it alone after stating that these websites are ridiculous, but I'm all fired up about it today and will say a bit more.

I have finally taken the plunge and stuck my nose where it doesn't belong. Yes, I looked at a few of those "Pr0-AnA" websites, many of which are really nothing more than a few women with bloated egos trying to pass regular dieting tips off as something extraordinary. One bit of "advice" on a website I saw was for people trying to lose weight to drink more water. Oh yes, because that has never been suggested in any diet regimen before. Brilliant! Another one suggested not following a diet plan. Hey, that almost sounds reasonable. Oh wait, that might be because I saw the same bit of advice in a health magazine. Stick "Pro-Ana" in there for some controversy, and everyone is bound to take a peek though. I did not see mention of orange juice flavored cotton balls, which is a good thing.

There are a few really sicko websites that actually do openly promote anorexia, complete with pictures, but there are others claiming they are aren't quite like that. Both are fucked up and should be ignored. Let's face it, nobody in their right mind would actually think promoting the hell that is anorexia is a good idea, but, oh wow, if someone can make a buck on incorrectly used terminology, stir up a fuss or generate some attention, WOOHOOO ! Jackpot!! why not? Yes, I'm talking to you, Thinspiration people. Well, here's why not, because there are plenty of truly sick individuals out there who don't need to be told that being thin is the only way to succeed and be accepted in life. And wow, let me tell you from first hand experience that thin, especially the kind of thin associated with anorexia, does not equal happy. Those who really struggle with anorexia know the torment and desperation of being stuck in an illness with little to no hope of ever reaching any kind of a normal life. Forget striving for happiness, most anorexics are desperate and would be content to be out of their suffering. They are generally MISERABLE and long not to be happy or to look good in a pair of jeans, but to just be out of their mental anguish. It's not surprising that many anorexics commit suicide, so anyone trying to inflict this "lifestyle" on someone else, for real or in jest, is truly evil or certifiably nuts.

There are only a few times I think free speech should be tampered with, but I also realize that shutting down some of these idiotic websites would be a violation of someone's rights. However, just because someone has the legal right to do something doesn't mean they should. The Westboro Baptist Church protests come to mind too. Still, these kind of Pro-Ana sites can be so incredibly damaging to young girls and boys and also to those susceptible to eating disorders. It's sad that anyone would stoop to these levels. Sometimes it's better to keep unhealthy thoughts in your brain and not subject the world to your own problems by promoting a disorder that kills more people than all other mental illnesses combined. The whole concept is revolting to me. As someone who nearly died from anorexia, I can tell anyone willing to listen that being thin isn't a nice little side effect of the illness. Anorexia wrecked my body, my mind and my spirit. It caused me to convulse in seizures, lose my hair, ruin my skin and partially shut down my organs. It took YEARS and years of struggling and HARD work to even BEGIN to recover. Sure, I'm in a much better place now, but I'm among the lucky few. I'm all too aware of the statistics out there. There are so many things wrong with referring to diet tips as "Pro-Ana," and the whole "thinspiration" bullshit is equally disturbing. Call it what it is at least, a sad and pathetic cry for attention at the expense of some who may really be suffering.

For parents who are rightfully worried about these absurd trends in websites, I might suggest looking into filtering software for your children.

And dear Kate, I beg to differ with your "Nothing tastes as good as skinny feels" motto. The kind of skinny I experienced was painful and lonely. Maybe if you got your nose out of the yay long enough, you might realize how off base this saying is, but since everything feels pretty damn fine on the white stuff, you will likely keep spreading this crap.

Those who judge others based solely on their weight need help. I just read an article about people and the media calling some of the women competing in the Olympic games fat, as if this is even accurate or relevant. For fuck's sake! Apparently, if you're not air-brushed, exceptionally beautiful and emaciated, you're up for criticism, no matter how successful you are in what you do. The sad and scary thing is that some people are starting to call normal or even thin people fat. What the hell?

Well, that was my little rant for the morning. grrr

In much funnier news, I have wasted a tremendous amount of time with a few friends on facebook coming up with new movie titles by replacing one word of an existing title with the word bacon. My recent contribution was "Bacon flew over the cuckoo's nest." It's loads of fun, and my friend now has quite a long list of pretty hilarious titles. Creating these movie names is also highly addictive, and I can't seem to stop thinking in bacon now.

Now for something a little bit more uplifting, something I am working on today, even though it's not easy at the moment:

ETA: you know what's unbearably sad? Most of the blogs and forums associated with Pro-Ana are filled with talk about scales, what people have eaten and how much they exercised- all the things I was so desperate to escape in the throes of my illness. Thank FSM I am out of that nightmare now. 

No comments:

Post a Comment