Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Pro-anorexia Sites Not So Bad After All?

Interesting article by Amanda Hess abut pro-anorexia sites on Slate: Let Them Blog: The panic over pro-anorexia websites and social media isn’t healthy.

The consensus has been that these sites are dangerous and triggering for those with eating disorders. The sites often give thinspiration or “thinspo” tips and photos, basically encouraging people’s eating disorders as a lifestyle instead of as an illness.
Pro-ana blogs are easier to understand when you stop seeing them as propaganda organs and start viewing them as expressions of mental illness. In a paper published last year, psychotherapist Tom Wooldridge describes one patient with anorexia who used pro-ana blogging as “a psychic retreat” where she could “withdraw from overwhelming emotional pain.” Some sites are less autobiographical diaries and more portraits of anorexia itself: Posting thigh gap after thigh gap to Tumblr helps some girls release the pressure of the images that anorexia pounds relentlessly into their heads. One pro-ana blogger, who blogs under the handle AnaGirl Empath, cautions that pro-ana’s more extreme manifestations are “creative alliterations” that should not be “interpreted literally.” As the French sociologist Antonio Casilli put it last year, “Criminalizing these websites means [criminalizing] mental illness—a double burden for sufferers.” 
This change in focus could be healthy for those who suffer from any kind of mental illness, not just eating disorders.

If more sufferers felt free to write their experiences in any way that comes naturally to them while they are in the throes of an illness, how therapeutic that could be.

For the readers searching for tips on fasting and getting thinner, all they need to do is go to just about any Internet site.

Perhaps the harm is coming from somewhere else...

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