Pro-Anorexia (Pro Ana): The New Online Predator

The Often Overlooked Threat

Two years ago, googling "pro-ana" brought up a host of news articles and blog posts condemning the pro-anorexic movement. Today, your search turns up hundreds of forums and sites geared towards the promotion of the so-called "lifestyle." The public outrage over websites extolling eating disordered behavior has died out, but the threat continues, and our daughters, nieces, and sisters are exposed to it every day.

Thousands of young women log on every day to glean tips and tricks from their fellow disordered, post "progress" pictures and update their weight stats. Do you know what they're looking at?

Images like these are displayed as "thinspiration" for aspiring anorexics.
Images like these are displayed as "thinspiration" for aspiring anorexics.

Pro-Ana Sites

Sites like Pro-Ana Nation, Fading Obsession, and Mi-Ana Land claim to provide "support" for those struggling with eating disorders, when in fact what they do is perpetuate the spread and severity of the epidemic. In response to the outcry several years back, many of these communities have simply gone underground, while others have added disclaimers, such as this one, from the Pro-Ana Nation:

"This site is not intended to encourage people to develop eating disorders. You may be asking what the purpose of this site is, then. First and foremost, it is to offer support to others who struggle with anorexia and bulimia... There is much public concern over individuals, particularly young girls, visiting websites, chat rooms and message boards in hopes of learning how to ‘become' anorexic. The simple truth is, it won't work. They can mimic disordered eating behaviors in order to lose weight but this does not constitute an eating disorder."

On the same site, one can find exercise tips, low-calorie food suggestions, and instructions on how to eat less while avoiding compensatory bingeing.

Despite "pro-anorexic" sites' attempts to wash their hands of blame, there is hard evidencethat eating disorders are addictive. The Pro-Ana Nation itself quotes a statistic stating that 35% of occasional dieters become pathological dieters. Under the owner's "reasons" for being anorexic, she lists, among other things, "Because starving myself is an addiction." And there is no denying that, even if these sites are not creating more anorexics, the wealth of information they divulge on behaviors and how to better hide them certainly creates worse cases out of those who might not have been so without it.

Experts Weigh In

A recent study at Stanford University found that patients who used pro-eating-disorder sites were sicker longer. Even sites like House of Thin, which claim to be pro-recovery are harmful. In the Stanford Study, patients who used both pro-eating-disorder and pro-recovery sites were admitted to the hospital more times than nonusers.

Also, eating-disorder patients can get new, often harmful ideas from pro-ana and pro-mia sites. According to the research, 96 percent of respondents who visited pro-eating-disorder sites said they learned new weight-loss or purging techniques; so did 46 percent of respondents who visited pro-recovery sites. Seven out of 10 users of pro-eating-disorder sites said they used the new techniques they learned; a third used new diet pills, supplements or laxatives.

The same study (conducted by way of anonymous surveys mailed to 698 families of patients between the ages 10 of 22, treated for an eating disorder by the Adolescent Medicine Division at Stanford between 1997 and 2004) surveyed parents and children regarding website use and behaviors. In a large majority of cases, the parents had no idea their daughters were using the internet to further their illness, nor what kind of eating-disordered web content was available.

"It's one of the few times in history that someone has come out and said that a very dangerous illness is a good idea, and here's how to do it," says Christopher Athas, vice president of the National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders.

Website owners claim protection based on first amendment rights, but doctors and parents alike want some sort of accountability. In November of 2006, the Academy for Eating Disorders requested that the government pass laws requiring a warning before entering a site, similar to those on pages with pornographic content. But until more of the public realizes the problem and mobilizes against it, experts fear, nothing will be done.

News Report on Pro-Anorexia

More by this Author


Comments 57 comments

DAngelo Bone profile image

DAngelo Bone 22 months ago

It is one of the dangers of free speech and open internet. People have the ability to find methods for creating, using or finding drugs and all the more. It becomes a case of the blind leading the blind, it's "support" in the same way that alcoholics would support each other in a bar.

Anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa and other eating disorders and highly serious issues and very dangerous.


Ell 2 years ago

My friend die of this


Marilyn Gilbert 4 years ago

you need Jesus christ in your life....according to the bible, your body is the "temple of the holy spirit" don't be a 3000 lb fATTIE....don't starve your self to concentration camp levels...be moderate and get off your behind and spread the gospel of Jesus Christ" WE WANT A HUGE POPULATION IN HEAVEN... and as few as possible residing eternally in hell


Maddie Ruud profile image

Maddie Ruud 4 years ago from Oakland, CA Author

I appreciate you sharing your thoughts, TFFT, and I recognize the feeling. I used to consider myself a "lifestyle anorexic" as well. But the fact remains: malnutrition is not healthy. Being anorexic and being healthy are mutually exclusive, by their very definitions.


Too Fat For That 4 years ago

Hi,

I know a lot of anorexics hate being anorexic, and want to stop. But some are genuinely happy the way they live, and who's to say what is good and what isn't? Many anorexics are careful to stay healthy, and if they like seeing their bones, that is their choice.

I am one of these. I HATE food. Pro Ana sites don't seek girls out. Girls who want pro ana support google these sites. Not girls who want to stop. Please respect people's choices. Thank you.


This is sick 4 years ago

Sick


Louis 5 years ago

2000 calories a day keep the doctor away! Food is delicious, nutricious and not malicious. One of these days anorexic people are going to die and they won't be so beautiful then.


Painted Seahorse profile image

Painted Seahorse 5 years ago from Woodstock, GA

Thanks for sharing this information. It's sad that these sites would compound an ED sufferer's problems.


justspeakingthetruth 5 years ago

Reading the responses to this article is very irritating! Do you know how ignorant you sound? Saying things like "these images are horrible", "why would you want to look like that?" and "please don't do it"...to someone who doesn't have and eating diorder or distorted perception of appearance yes the images are "horrible". But to someone who is suffering its glamorous. That's the point in this article. These images aren't glorified and looked up to because they are horrible. Its horrible because the diseased are looking and comparing themselves to others physically who and how can be the thinnest. To ask why you would want to look like that is like asking a diabetic why they don't want to eat pixi sticks or a paraplegic why he can't just walk. Its like asking an alcoholic why he can't just hold the bottle and not drink it. Its pretty much like asking the obese why they aren't skinny, and why the dead can't just wake up. Sure maybe these examples aren't the most rash..but it would come to surprise many of you just how rediculous it sounds when you tell an anorexic to just eat a hamburger.


Jorge 5 years ago

I support to all people which is suffering this disgusting illness


Thinspiration 5 years ago

this girls are not healthy at all. they really should use thinspiration tips in a more healthy manner!


Me 5 years ago

I know that these sites seem all bad. But to be honest they have helped me a lot. Many of the sites have useful recovery forums where we all encourage each other to eat more and help to support people when they are feeling the pain of the recovery, because any person recovering from an eating disorder will know that it is not easy and I myself found myself plummeting further into depression during recovery because of my body image and the feeling of low self worth. So sometimes these sites can be helpful. I do not condone some of the content of these sites as it can be harmful, but they can also be helpful.


El Justiciero de Bulimicos 6 years ago

Shit man, this is really ugly, walking skeletons.


advent 123 6 years ago

My girl friend is a Christian who loves people. I met her when I was going through my cancer scare. So I will always love her. Because she loved me. Even when I was finding difficult at work, she loved me. I have done and will do anything for her, because she gave me something to run for.

I met her with baggage but in life who doesn’t. I told her all of my faults and flaws and she loved me unconditionally. fy

She recently developed an ED stemming from unresolved issues in the past.

Some of the issues were:

Not being listened to at school

Being overweight in the early stages of her life

Mother and family not allowing her to make mistakes

Being compare to high flying family members

Peers getting married ……………….

Recently she had trouble at her last job where she didn’t know how to deal with rejection from work college, a long distance relationship etc.

I love my girl friend so much, and have been dating for the past 2 years with the hope of getting married soon. If I had the money I would have married her earlier.

I didn’t see the signs of her struggling because she was on tour with her job. I just want every man out there to listen and pay attention when your lady speaks, even if you don’t understand.

Just listen. She has the ability to fix things for herself but you need to love her, support her, and listen.

The mother is very controlling and I felt like a complete failure when I came out of the cancer scare, and could deal with work stress, but she loved me.

When I was getting bullied and harassed at work my girlfriend supported me. I always gave her the best of what I had, because she gave me God and hope in dark situations.

But things just got difficult because she felt that her family was not supporting her, and she felt at times like an outsider looking in, because of her points of view wasn’t her. I thought I was supporting her by giving her solutions when she just wanted me to listen.

I know that I could have made more of an effort to get to know her family but my family just isn’t like that.

When she was on tour I would travel the world to see her and would make myself available whenever she needed me. Even when she would travel back late at night to her hotel room I would be on the end of a phone.

Our main arguments were not being able to see each her more often and why are you not going to church.

It’s difficult when you get into a relationship with someone and people keep on trying to control your lives especially when you old enough to buy a house.

Parents you need to understand one size doesn’t fit all when dealing with you children. Some are strong and some are emotional. Some need love and some just want acceptance.

Boyfriends listen out for the silent cry for help from your lady. If she starts tell you that she finding it difficult doesn’t try and fix it. Just listen and let her fell that she in control of her own life. Be strong and find help for her. Learn about EDs not just for her but for everybody. This problem is a lot bigger and affects so many people. Please if you care about life do something today, don’t wait until it too late.

We all want to be in control in a world where everything we do is outside of our control.

Example:

People’s perception of self

How you view self

What defines you?

Relationships

Love/loss

Pain/anguish

Hurt...........

I am current battling to understand what EDs' are so that I can help my girlfriend. I need to know because it affects every one whether we want to believe it or not. Think about it.

As long as you watch TV our views of self are reflections of what you think, see and hear.

If you don’t have the support network around you, then you will find it in food, drug and sex.

That why food and drugs are always listed together on the government adgender because they know it is profitable, addictive and can be used to control people.

My girlfriend has loss a lot of weight and it broke my heart after not seeing her for 2 months. She said, "Have I lost weight".

I said, " Yes and I love you because you loved me".

It’s like she was in control and then the avalanche effect to over. Weight just seems to drop off.

Her mother worried like anything, I’m scared I might lose her. My family is praying daily for God to restore her back to health.

The last time I saw her she keep on talking about how much she would like to eat food, but she just can’t seem to eat it. She always kept on telling me how tired and faint she felt. After a mouth full of food she would feel really bloated. Its hard. Please don’t put people through this.

It’s hard for me. The last conversation we had was:

I hope your well xx

I mean it xx

Please guys/girls I know it’s hard to stop but your flirting with death every time you give in to that beast in your head. It starts to control you, and eventually you will lose control but it’s hard to stop because your body will have a learned behavior. Please I really love her and would give my life to see her right now.

I hate those dam TV shows, music industries and stupid people who promote self harm as being a thing of fashion.

I would love to see every day people on the TV. You know real people, not this force fed crap which we have been told it fashionable.

Any way she is away for 2week with limited contact to family, and her phone is with her aunty how I don’t get alone with.

I miss her but need to make sure I can support her because she is my best friend, lover, and soul mate.

If you want help call

Sufferer's Helpline: 01934 710679

Parent Helpline: 01934 710645

http://www.anorexiabulimiacare.co.uk/

You still have a choice.

Signed Boy friend who loves you dearly

Please read

Please Please listen by a survivor

When I ask you to listen to me and you start giving me advice, you have not done what I asked.

When I ask you to listen to me and you begin to tell me why I shouldn't feel that way, you are trampling on my feelings.

When I ask you to listen to me and you feel you have to do something to solve my problem, you have failed me, strange as that may seem.

Listen! All I ask is that you listen. Don't talk or do - just hear me.

Advice is cheap; 20 cents will get you both Dear Abby and Billy Graham in the same newspaper, and I can do for myself; I am not helpless. Maybe discouraged and faltering, but not helpless.

When you do something for me that I can and need to do for myself, you contribute to my fear and inadequacy. But when you accept as a simple fact that I feel what I feel, no matter how irrational, then I can stop trying to convince you and get about this business of understanding what's behind this irrational feeling.

And when that's clear, the answers are obvious and I don't need advice. Irrational feelings make sense when we understand what's behind them.

Perhaps that's why prayer works, sometimes, for some people - because G*d is mute, and he doesn't give advice or try to fix things. G*d just listens and lets you work it out for yourself.

So please listen, and just hear me.

And if you want to talk, wait a minute

for your turn - and I will listen to you.

by Author Unknown and adapted by A.E.S.T.


adorababy profile image

adorababy 6 years ago from Syracuse, NY

I think these PRO anorexia sites highly need help. They are in need of an intervention.


John D Lee profile image

John D Lee 6 years ago

I was looking at some of these sites just now - some of the most disturbing stuff i have EVER seen online. Shocking and saddening.


Fez 6 years ago

Those pictures are actually fucking horrible, i love curvy women, i don't like them skinny at all!!! I like them a little curvy its definitely more sexy :p I don't understand why people want to be anorexic, i hate those fucked up people.


brandyBachmann profile image

brandyBachmann 6 years ago

this article is an eye-opener, thanks for sharing this info.

i don't know why & when society have imposed the "if your thinner, then you're more beautiful" notion. the women way back in time were not skinny, they were usually plump but their men admired and praised their beauty. what i'm trying to say is, love your body. yes we can make improvements but not to the extent that we're totally different from what we look like before and become a mimic of somebody else. learn to love your body, appreciate it, in the end it's the inner beauty that really matters the most.

my heart goes out to those people who suffered and is suffering either of these eating disorders, and to there families as well, i hope in time you'll be able to get through with it, and continue supporting them, it would mean big to them.


mbwalz profile image

mbwalz 6 years ago from Maine

Those photos are amazing. Having struggled with bulimia, I can't even imagine web sites exacerbate this problem with anorexia.

Thanks for the hub.


SALLY 7 years ago

why would anyone want to look sooo dead!! being that thin is not pretty who tells this girls that they look beautiful. no one should anorexiano one!!!!


EvaLis Adolfsson 7 years ago

this is terrible!


John foster profile image

John foster 7 years ago from South Africa

Having lived with anorexia for over 24 years, seeing my late wife eventually pass away from the effects that anorexia had on her life, and then seeing my 15 year old daughter step straight into an anorexic lifestyle, I have managed to get an insight into the disease that few others have.

Anorexia and bulimia are best treated if caught in the early stages. Early detection and treatment will save a family from a nightmare of hell caused by anorexia.  I have posted the early warning signs for parents to look out for at www.threepointweightloss.com together with some tips on how to handle anorexia and bulimic sufferers. Some of the ways that we react to and handle the situation can cause an increase in determination by the sufferer. Banning pro ana sites does not help. Force feeding does not help. Lot;s of love and support goes a lomg way.

To anyone who has a problem with eating disorders, or who has family or loved one's with eting disorders, please read the tips and hopefully they may help you to prevemt a worsening of the situation.

Maddie, as usual a great hub that is useful to many.


kat 7 years ago

to be honest im not gonna lie, i sometime think im fat and i do wanna lose weight i aint gonna lie

but you people who think that anorexia is something that should be publisised and is ok need to be shot

ANOREXIA IS A DISEASE AND SHOULD NOT BE PUBLICISED!!!!!!!!

young children from the age of 10 see these sites and think its ok and it isn't.. your all pathetic and need to get over yourself.. your not fat and if you think guys like it your wrong and lets be honest here that who your doing it for and don't say it isn't coz your only lying to yourselves.

im going to africa this year coz im a christian to help kids who have AIDS and are dieing from starvation... these children ahed 3+ are deing and not because they want to.. you are lucky enough to live in environment that has so much food where these people eat once a week. YOUR fucking selfish and you make me feel sick to think that .. you need to take a good hard look at yourself and grown up.... i don't care weather you hate me coz tbh i don't paticualry like you and i don't even know you people who are anorexic..but you will never have my sympathy!!!


CGE 7 years ago

I think I'll keep my fat!


toni 7 years ago

I have health problems that cause excessive weight gain. Im only 20 and am on antidepresiants due to my weight and the effect it has had on my life. I need a gastric bypass but due to the local area where i live my `postcode` doesn't fund such surgeries. My case is no being put to the director of health as an appeal to get me the operation.

I came across the pro Ana sites and was shocked at how the girls looked and began wishing i was the same. I actually contemplated following some of the diets and tips as i saw it as a `thinspiration`. T o me anything is better than the way i am. I watched the programme of fearnes and afterwards wasn't as keen to try the diets after. Im still waiting to hear if my appeal will work for me to receive the operation i need. I feel for these girls and can imagine what there going through as i am at the other end of the scale when it comes to food and the effect it has on the our bodies.

These girls need support i just hope that they get it in other forms than these pro anna sites and that eventually the number of them will die down.

xxxx tonixxxx


DONNA 7 years ago

DONNA GROVES!-i've just had 2show my 9yr old daughter these pics 2try&frighten her in 2 eating,frm her reaction it seems 2have helped(well 4now anyway)NINE yrs old,wot is this fekkin world comin 2 when i cnt get my CHILD 2eat,4all of u anorexics that wana meet in groups&think u look fantastic&wana support each other,u make me sick,it's becoz of u older anorexics that my daughter got this idea 2b super slim,my daughter has been shown nothin but love,that failure is ok,evry1 is beautiful wether they r scarred,disfugured,or just paranoid,evry1 is equal&yet still my daughter feels fat,ugly&unworthy.4those of u that want/seek help,i wish u the best,u deserve it&4those PATHETIC few that promote it&club 2gether i consider u as vile as peado's,u do the same,steal innocence&normality.the "modelling"pics are a disgrace&the photographer/agent/organisation who arranged them shld b strung up,thanx 4makin my parenting so much fekkin harder than it is 2begin with,sorry 2vent my anger on this pg,i d hope sum1 understands,REMEMBER esmerelda LOVED quasimodo,regardless!!!!!!!!!!!.once again,im sorry if i've offended,my 1st real chance 2vent my spleen!!!!.love life.xxxxxxx


holly best  7 years ago

i feel so sad for people who are pro-anorexia becaues i think that us girls doit for man and we should not have to do it for them

holly

xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx


Emma 7 years ago

Diseases like this will sadly, continue. Pro ana sites and such a like cannot be completely control, cannot not be completely stopped, nor can they be blamed. There is so much in magazines and on televisions of these images of skinny, flaw-less almost 'perfect' women (and men). It gets into the heads of young girls (or boys) and young people, as if image is the most important thing of all. And if we are honest it is this, that is the main cause of all this trouble. Anorexia and conditions such a like has become such a problem, and somehow in some way 'popular'. It should never have turned out this way. This so called 'perfection' is everywhere, all around us. And no it should not be about fat or skinny, tall, short, ugly or pretty, it should be about the person as they are, the actual person inside the body and not all this image lark. Someone can be 'beautiful' and still at the same time be such and ugly person. But not everyone is going to think like that, there are those who are only interested in image, and will turn those away who do not fit their 'perfection' ideals. And so this circle of discussion can only go on and on. These days it all seems to be about body image and 'perfection'. It is a cruel world, but its not going to change, not unless enough people are willing to stand together and say 'no'. Its one thing taking pride in your appearnce, its quite another to take it to such extremes and to tell others that they should be following the same path. What happened to free will and I don't know, a queit life? No one can get peace from this 'perfection', its everywhere and its wrong.


you don't know me.. 7 years ago

can i just say, being fat or skinnyor pretty or uggs aint what perfection is, it's who you are. what do all you girls and boys put ur self through such pain? u can loose weight the easy way eat healthy and go to the gym? don't you want to love a normal life like everyone else? these pictures her horriffic! its disgusting i am only 15 and would never put my self through this. you lot are so brave for what your going through but it don't have to go through all the pain, an can i just say to angie above we don't have hidiouse bodys we just like to keep in shape and eat healthy and some people like to be fat thankyou!.


Josh 7 years ago

While eating disorders are certainly harmful, parts of this article troubled me somewhat. In particular the section the section: "In the Stanford Study, patients who used both pro-eating-disorder and pro-recovery sites were admitted to the hospital more times than nonusers." This study is quoted, and because it comes from Stanford it is immediately trusted. What it said is meaningless. There is another group of anorexics who are admitted inpatient more than any other group...those who are admitted for their disease. It may be that visiting pro-recovery sites worsens an eating disorder, or it may be that those whose suffering is worse reach out to more and different resources. Tips and tricks may be given or implied at either type of site, but I strongly believe that before anyone goes to the site, he or she is already struggling. I was diagnosed with anorexia in the past and hospitalized on and off. I remember in college talking with some people, and if the topic of eating disorders came up, frequently someone would make a comment like "I used to be anorexic." All too often this meant that they skipped some meals, dieted, and looked at some thinspo pictures for a few months before deciding that it was bad and they did not want to be anorexic anymore. I was hospitalized a few times, and of all the people I talked to, none of them first visited a website, or first talked to a friend. My point in all of this, is that I do not believe the sites are leading to, or necessarily even increasing, eating disorders. I believe that eating disorders are just as likely to be leading to increased activity on sites as increased activity on sites is leading to eating disorders.


Jen 7 years ago

As a child I was an ugly duckling. I used to think that if I lost weight guys would be ore interested. I used to think if I had long hair, guys would be interested. I used to think if I could get rid of my freckles, guys would be interested. I grew up, I lost my puppy fat, My hair grew, and i cover my freckles up with make up, I am still single, and now guys tell me that they fear to approach me because I am too groomed and too perfect.

Although us women like to think that guys want perfect super model style women. They Don't. My ex boyfriend loved me for who I was, not that I was stick thin and gorgeous. Remember the grass is always greener on the other side. Don't change your life for any one. Instead of wasting your time worrying about what you look like, help the needy and do something that will entertain you.

Eat to live, don't not live your life around food, for one, its BORING!


chrissie 7 years ago

i have just seen the fern cotton prog and seen some of the other pro ana webs slag it off this is the first i knew about such sites and i have an 11 yr old who is on her way to anEDand this prog has been a big help i cant help but cry cos i know u all have some one who feels the same as me WHY u are beautiful this is an ugly disease mand takes u with it be strong and fight on


amy michelle 7 years ago

look at them why wood u wont to look like them??


KERRY 7 years ago

to all girls thinking this is the only way, please don't do it. my cousin had this eating disorder as a teenager she is okay now, but cant have the one thing she wants most in the world now and thats a baby, due to the damage she did to her body by not eating. everybody is beautiful in their own way. i am very happily married to a man who adores me, i have a beautiful 11 year old son, plenty of friends and i am a size 22. please eat.


blondepoet profile image

blondepoet 7 years ago from australia

This is outrageous.Omg,I am a ex-sufferer and thanks so much for bringing this to our attention


Anina 7 years ago

I think it is very important that people, parents of teenage girls especially to be very careful what they label as an "eating disorder" and how they react to it. I've discovered that because of the broadcast paranoia and the intended "scare factor" people are quick to jump to the conclusion that anyone who doesn't eat regularly is an anorexic. I can assure you they are not. However I know how hard it was to, for example spend a lunch period in high school studying for an exam and have several teachers who saw me demand to know why I was not in the cafeteria eating. Then they would start quizzing me about the last time I ate, how much I ate, how often I ate, etc. It was ridiculous.

I suppose my point in saying this is, if you suspect a possible problem, instead of automatically assuming you know exactly what the problem is, take a step back and observe them for a while. Talk to them, see what's going on in their lives because I promise you there are a lot more reasons for a person not to eat then just anorexia.


Hendrika profile image

Hendrika 8 years ago from Pretoria, South Africa

Those are horrible photos and I think every parent should take note and be on the lookout for anything close to an eating disorder! Thanks for highliting a very serious and important subject.


Kika Rose profile image

Kika Rose 8 years ago from Minnesota

Ugh. I think I'm going to be sick... Those photos were morbidly disturbing and disgusting. Hearing about people with EDs just makes me want to cry and hug them. I know I have my own problem with food (I over-eat a lot, and munch on junk when I'm bored), and I wish there was something like AA for people with my problem in my community. The sad part is, even with diet and exercise and weight-loss support systems, I've never been able to lose weight; but at the same time, eating the way I do doesn't make me gain weight, either. I'm stuck here in the 170-180 range. :-\

For those struggling with EDs, please understand you're not alone. There are many different types of EDs, and many women (and men) battle their disorders every day, in every community. I just wanted to say that I support everyone putting forth an effort to free themselves of their disorder(s), and that I love you and cherish you. It may not seem like much to you right now, but it's better than the worthless feeling I get almost every day. Hearts to everyone.


ecoartgirl profile image

ecoartgirl 8 years ago from somewhere in this world

Frightening!

Best wishes to all who are in the process of recovering from this all-consuming disease.


skatoolaki profile image

skatoolaki 8 years ago from Louisiana

A very informative article; thank you for sharing. I have often worried and wondered about these pro-ED sites. It's so troublesome to think how many parents aren't aware they even exist.

Also, from a former/recovering self-injurer, I wish you the best in your own healing & recovery from an ED, Maddie. I know how difficult it can be to put an end to self-destructive behavoir.


wychic profile image

wychic 8 years ago from Sheridan, Wyoming

Yikes....I have to say the originals of those photos weren't a whole heck of a lot better. Who would have guessed the post-concentration camp look would become a fad?


unspoken 8 years ago

That's so scary


Maddie Ruud profile image

Maddie Ruud 9 years ago from Oakland, CA Author

Kim:

I don't know if it matters whether or not the pictures are "fake." The fact is, they are still being circulated and idolized. If you look at the originals on the site you provided, those models are still pretty thin. It is worrying in and of itself that photos of models whose BMI's are already well below the average woman's are being doctored further, to be used as "thinspiration."

Nevertheless, thanks for thinking critically, and sharing that site with us.

Maddie


kim 9 years ago

You do know those pictures are fakes, right? Well, the first two are at least. I'm not sure about the others. The pictures, along with the originals, are shown at http://www.snopes.com/photos/people/models.asp


dudley1 profile image

dudley1 9 years ago from Belleville, IL

Those are some really shocking photos! This is some really good information.


Maddie Ruud profile image

Maddie Ruud 9 years ago from Oakland, CA Author

Dear "me,"

I think that it is wonderful that you feel understood by your online community, but I would like to point out that recovery-geared forums are NOT what this article is lambasting.

Regarding pro-recovery sites, I would still be careful. Even when the intention is not to share "tips and tricks," they may be gleaned anyway through the course of discussion, as statistics show that 46% of visitors do. You may be in that 54% who is not triggered. If you are, I'm pleased for you.

In any case, thank you for sharing your thoughts and contributing a new point of view to the discussion. I wish you the best in your recovery.

Maddie


me 9 years ago

this BS, pro-ana forums do not promote EDS, I go on a number of them & Know that with or without them I would be struggling with an ED, what these forums do is offer support and acceptance for people struglling with a disease, most people on them have no one else to talk to, what the forums offer is non-judgemental support where people really understand what your going through.

We don't spur each other on or share tips or tricks, we support each other and hopefully help each other to recovery.


Princessa profile image

Princessa 9 years ago from France

Wow... shocking pictures and a very interestig and informative article.


Maddie Ruud profile image

Maddie Ruud 9 years ago from Oakland, CA Author

Bea:

Point taken. Links removed. I thought it might be educational for parents, not thinking about the other traffic it might draw.

Thanks for the feedback.

-Maddie


Kat 9 years ago

There is an AA type support network. It is a subgroup of OA (Over Eaters Anonymous). While not all OA groups have a group devoted to these eating disorders, some do. If you don't have a group, you CAN start one. If you'll contact the Overeaters Anonymous central office Here's their website: http://www.oa.org/ They even have online and telephone meetings. http://www.oa.org/online_meetings.html

YOU ARE NOT ALONE.


Bea 9 years ago

I'm not the only one who noticed this and worried, so I figure I should say something. But wouldn't it be safer to get rid of the links to the sites?

Ironically enough, the first pro ana site I ever visited I linked to from an article. List the names if you really wish, but I do think it's counter-productive to post links.

-Bea


Maddie Ruud profile image

Maddie Ruud 9 years ago from Oakland, CA Author

FM:

Thanks for contributing your point of view. If you've read my bio, you know that I am going on 8 years in my own battle with an eating disorder. And while I don't think you can contract a disease (like an eating disorder) from a website, I think that, for those already ill (or on their way) additional information can make a serious difference in the severity of one's illness, as well as its duration.

We are not freaks. And we are not alone. But there are more constructive ways to feel that way than to encourage each other in our unhealthy behaviors. There is a fine line between validating someone's experience and normalizing it to an extent that encourages stasis.

All the best,

Maddie


FM. 9 years ago

My illness would continue with or without these sites. To be quite honest, I wish I could find a place in the real world that had people who understood how I felt. The rehab programs I've been through, both IP and OP, have never really helped me, only made me want create a place where I could really heal, and find people who were going through the same thing, like AA. This is just my experience.

There are many risks with these sites, yes. Forums often are an outlet where mechanisms are discussed, but it's not often that they're dishing out 'tips'. In fact, it's usually discouraged and looked down on. I don't believe that you can 'develop' an eating disorder from visiting these places, but the information that they contain is unhealthy to be exposed to, or practice in any way, shape or form. But it's reality for me and many others, and I hate to feel so alone in my situations or emotions.

Have you ever wanted to know you're not a freak?


Margaret Tye 9 years ago

Excellent article exposing the underhand methods used to promote anorexia.


Marye Audet profile image

Marye Audet 9 years ago from Lancaster, Texas

thanks..I struggled with this for years...and still struggle with the bady image aspect..it is important information.


Patty Inglish, MS profile image

Patty Inglish, MS 9 years ago from North America

Thanks for helping make more people aware of this situation.


linmac profile image

linmac 9 years ago from NE Scotland

The photos are frightening :-(

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