• Quote of the Day
    "You have it easily in your power to increase the sum total of this world's happiness by
    giving a few words of sincere appreciation to someone who is lonely or discouraged."
    Dale Carnegie, posted by Cat Dancer
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I know that they are bad. We hear that from everybody. But well I don't see why the whole world wants to condemn them when in a way it is a choice made by the person and no one else. It is not like they were forcing them to go on it .. They made the choice and maybe they are just not ready to change. I find it stupid that they (I don't know who but the people that stop them)*erase those sites (although they will never be able to completely) when sometimes it helps the person realize what is really going on and realize what they really want it is all very confusing. Sure I admit to have gone on some at points in my e-d but I never really blame them. If I went this low I chose to listen to what was said - nothing was forced upon me..

yours truly
Ashley-Kate
 

David Baxter

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They are dangerous and morally wrong, Ashley, because they encourage people to use rationalizations and what the criminologists call "techniques of neutralization" to justify behavior that is unhealthy, destructive, and even life-threatening.

It might surprise you to hear this but there are web sites in existence where child molesters get together and do the same thing with respect to sexually abusing children. That too is morally and ethically reprehensible. That too is dangerous (to potential victims) and unhealthy.

I see pro anorexia sites (and pro suicide sites, etc., etc.) as basically the same.
 
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The thing is it is not to me. I see those sites as wrong because they are manipulating children and people that are frail in the cases of pro suicide ones and they promote death in some ways. As for pro ana sites, they don't reject you if you choose to get better. They accept your decision and that's about it. Sure they give some tips and help others who try to lose weight but they don't tell the other person that she is fat or anything. I don't see it as that bad.

Ashley
 

David Baxter

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You are 18 (almost?), Ashley.

Can you imagine the effect that might have on an 11 or 12 year old girl or boy who is just beginning his/her anorexic/bulimic "career"?
 

Eunoia

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I don't think I blame them in that they brought on the ed, but I do think that they can have a very negative effect on someone who already has a very bad self-image and can make someone who is already in the midst of an ed spin even more out of control- why? b/c they provide you w/ information on how to become a "better" anorexic or bulimic, b/c they pretend to support you in your efforts, yet as soon as you have doubts or 'fail' to meet up to 'their' standards, they'll do anything to get you back on track or you're 'out'- now what kind of 'friend' or genuinely caring site would do that?! It CAN be life-threatening, and it is a community build on misery, not happiness, not genuine caring for each other. That's what holds them together. As I said, I don't blame those sites for my ed, BUT I do know that I learned A LOT back then from those & other sites & from books (intended to help actually but they can often do the opposite). Their appeal makes perfect sense to me in a twisted way, but they're not right hun.

You know how some people (including myself) have thought of ed's as a 'lifestyle'? Well, it's not. It's a sure way to wreck your life, but as David said, you learn to rationalize it. Those sites do a very good job of that. Some of them are straight out vicious to anyone not 'pro'-ana or -mia, and others are at least respectful of those who choose to 'revover', but either way, I think the danger is their great potential to make those already bad even worse and those w/ an unhealthy body image and/or low self-esteem catch up to the first ones... as you said, it's free choice more or less, but if you give that kind of information and 'support' to someone who is desperate to find any support for their thoughts/ behaviours it has great potential to be damaging...
 
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But that is exactly it, Eunoia. It is not just those sites that contribute to e-d but also those books or stories or statistics of information but mostly to me stories. Even if the person came out of it the only thing an anorexic will read into is all the ways that person used and the weight she or he was at and there height.. everything.. it is of no help but they can't ban everything in the world...

Ashley-Kate
 

Eunoia

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I know they can't ban everything in the world. and at one point, we didn't have the internet, and there weren't pro-ana sites, yet there were still eating disorders. but those sites are not helping in any way, they're only contributing to the problem. And for one, those sites are to encourage ed's, where as the books are not- now, if we read them to gain more information on how to become 'better' at having an ed, that's something no one can prevent- it's just like taking an exercise class or going to the gym w/ your friends, doing it so you can lose weight and burn calories where as they may actually do it to genuinely be healthy- we can't ban gyms no can we? can I protect myself from what someome will say about their 'latest diet trick'? no. but none of those are existing only for the purpose of encouraging ed's- where as those sites are. Even if you think they're not bad or to blame for your own struggles, I think what I was trying to say and David said too is that there are so many people out there who will be negatively influenced by those sites, even if they choose to go to them- really, it IS one thing we CAN try to control, where as you said, there are so many things we can't control, but this one thing, we can and we should.
 

Diana

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Another thing that these sites do is glorify eating disorders. Particularly anorexia. They show pictures of really skinny models and actresses as role models. Some of these models and actresses might be anorexic, and others might not be, but that very skinny image is provided as a goal to achieve. And, some people because of their body types just cannot achieve that goal without being really sick. They also sell products like jewelry to keep their websites up. The special jewelry is seen as signifying that you belong to a special group - a secret group that not everyone will know you belong to.

Maybe some people think of pro-ana sites as not being that bad, because the person who visits these sites is only choosing to do this to themselves - not manipulating others. But, in developing a kind of group, many people are harming others as well as themselves. It's like having a community that promotes alcoholism. It's a lifestyle choice right? Imagine websites that gave alcoholics tips on how to hide their bottles and the breath on their alcohol, and how to appear to only drink moderately in front of others. Would this be a good thing? I'm sure if these sites existed people would try to have them banned. That doesn't mean that whiskey ads should be banned from every magazine. Some people can enjoy the whiskey and drink it responsibly. Just like low-fat recipes shouldn't be banned. Some people can benefit from eating some low fat-meals without developing an eating disorder.

I think you have to think about WHY these sites are up. What purpose or intent do they have? They don't talk about their dissatisfactions and frustrations as being problems.
 

Peanut

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After reading this post I looked at the pro ana sites to see what exactly they contained (what all the fuss was about). Then, the next day I was reading Us magazine and it seemed like some of the content was very similar to the sites. The magazine had a handful of the thinest celebrities, listed their height and weight, and how the attained their ultra thin figure (as if being that thin was everyone's goal). I was struck by the similarities between the proana sites' "thinspiration" and the pictures in the magazine. It almost seems like the magazines are just as bad as these sites because they are more seductive and you might not be as aware of the influence of the magazines' body ideals, versus the sites where you know exactly what the angle is.

It was just a thought I had.
 

Eunoia

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I agree that those magazines aren't helping either, and constantly bombard the general public with pretty much the same "thinspiaration" messages, however, that's not their sole purpose and many people read them and don't think too much about it. Pro-ana sites exist for only one purpose. Magazines might bombard you with photpgraphs, diet tips, and as you said, celebrities' weights & heights- they glorify being thin- and often healthy on the same page, but they don't encourage eating disorders. Pro-ana sites have the photographs, diet tips, celeb weights & heights AND many of them have tips on how to lose weight NO MATTER WHAT, hide an ed, lie to those around you- true some of them are more "sophistacted" than others and don't encourage ed's and have health warnings etc. but the point is they provide a community for those w/ ed's. Now, I do have to say, in itself that's not too far off from say a forum on ED's but I think this comes back to what Diana was saying, that the reason for their existance is what makes them so dangerous- here, it's to support those w/ an ED or those who have questions about them etc. Pro- ana sites support the "maintenance" of an ED- and that's something quite different.

They are triggering sites- putting ideas into people's heads who are inclined enough and vulnerable enough to look at them in the 1st place and then for those who already have an ED and are finding support in their loneliness, in making sense out something that doesn't make sense- and reading up on tips on the site. Yes, there are those people who can just look at them interest- wise like you said, but I think of it this way: if one child is being abused it's too many. If one person can be prevented from developing an ed it's worth the cause. I think the problem is that for someone who has an ED there is always that part of you that wants to get better but also the part that doesn't- and the latter part feeds on inspiration (thinspiration), tips, encouragement... even just finding someone to relate to. I can go to one of those sites with the best intentions and objectivity I can gather, yet those good intentions are usually not enough to not at least take in a little bit of what you see- it doesn't take a whole lot to change the balance so to say. Ever read the "warning signs" upon entering those sites- especially for those in recovery? That's exactly why. Now how many people are actually strong enough to keep themselves from going further if they've already made it to that point? It's easy to put trust into something you know or a promise of some kind. I agree that taking down the sites isn't going to eliminate ED's, as I said before there were ED's long before the internet. But they don't help in fighting the battle.

I see them dangerous for two kinds of people: those who are vulnerable in some sort of way & those who have an ED. Some of those tips on the sites can cause you to die- something that most people don't know if you don't know any better- and most people don't- after all it's a "tip" to get close to that goal, and many people have done it. If it really would just be about the photographs then those sites would have not started to shut down (even though others appear as we speak) and magazines & the media in general would have been "shut down" as well- so clearly it's about more than just the pictures (but no, they don't help either). Eating disorders don't develop out of pro-ana sites- but they feed off them in contributing to all the other factors involved in developing one.
 

Peanut

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Maybe the difference is that the magazines could perhaps incline one towards unhealthy body ideals, which could in turn, incline someone towards unhealthy eating behaviors, while the proana sites are there to help an ED 'flourish' so to speak. But I still think, based on my own gut reaction to compare the people's weight with my own, and knowing that at least some other people probably feel the same way, that it could potentially be damaging. Mainly because you may not be fully aware what is going on when you read the magazine. Plus, it has come out that a lot of celebrities do have eating disorders and they are pretty much idealized right up until they publicly admit to having a problem.

Oh, and lest we forget the Victoria Secret mannequins that actually have their rib cages sticking out in the storefront window.

Like I said though, it was just something that happened to strike me when I was reading the magazine right after looking at those sites. It got me wondering if the proana sites were the problem or a symptom of a larger societal problem.

Please don't misconstrue my post though, I definitely in no way support those pro ana sites, I do think that they are harmful. I guess I'm just thinking out loud.
 

Eunoia

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actually, I think that what you and I were saying is along the same lines... I totally agree w/ you, I think the message that the magazines are sending are internalized, even if unconsciously, at least you would think they do after seeing those images day after day, virtually everywhere... I think they're all "symptoms" of a larger problem.

funny that you bring up the mannequins, when I worked in retail it always amazed me to find out what size people were wearing b/c you would associated a higher # with a "bigger" person but that wasn't always true, a lot of it depends so much on height as well and genes and bone structure... or whether the person is an athlete for example.... and yet, you're right, mannequins were extemely small sizes, for sure not the size of the "average" person. that also reminds me if a post on here about barbie dolls... lol.
 

Peanut

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I think the message that the magazines are sending are internalized, even if unconsciously, at least you would think they do after seeing those images day after day, virtually everywhere

Exactly, and I think what is scary is that it is happening unconsciously, and sometimes by the time you realize it a lot of damage (like to self esteem and body image) has already been done!
 
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what i find pathetic in magasines is that to top off all the weight listings they have it is not even acurate it is assumed .. they don't know the exact numbers so they assume that the person weighs lower than what they really are or higher and then when someone with an eating disorder sees this they use it to compete sometimes i find that magasines should not write down how much people weigh weather or not it is true cause all is does is cause harm we don't need to know how much a certaine actress weighs ... magasines tend to not help in certaine situations and end up adding fuel to the fire .
yours trully
ashley-kate.
 

Diana

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Yes, I agree with all of you. Dieting and losing weight are advertised profusely because of societal values and ideals. These messages do become internalized and can cause harm to an individual, especially to someone who is vulnerable to developing an ED. In the same magazine where they promote thinness, they also promote recipes for chocolate cake, alcohol, exercise machines, etc, etc...even eating disorder awareness! Messages of all kinds are always out there. Some people might argue that if violent movies are allowed to be shown, then proana sites shouldn't be banned. Some people may be tempted to act violently after seeing a violent movie. These same people would also find inspiration to act violently without seeing the movie (probably). However, in most cases the sole purpose of the movie would not be to turn people into killers - the purpose would be to entertain through action, effects, fear, sympathy, etc. Unfortunately, some people will be badly effected by seeing violence, and let's face it, some movies do glorify violence. In fact, this is an area in which many people argue against singers' albums being sold, particularly rap singers.

I do believe in freedom of speech and in art that shows different emotions, feelings, and realities, whether this is through writing, singing, acting, etc. BUT, what I don't believe is right, is purposely creating and promoting a community of people who get together via groups, internet, etc so that they can learn how to cause harm to themselves or others in more efficient ways. Wow, when I put it that way, it does really seem horrible to me.

The thing is, I'm sure many of the people who are involved on the proana sites don't think of it this way. They just think of it like a regular forum or chat room where they're being understood and supported. The creator of the site might not even think of it as harming people. Perhaps they really believe they're all helping each other and that's what makes it really scary. I also think that maybe deep down inside, they're not even really trying to help each other - you can't feel affection this way - they're only instead trying to find ways to feed their own goals, desires and coping mechanisms and will continue to be miserable.
 

Peanut

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what i find pathetic in magasines is that to top off all the weight listings they have it is not even acurate it is assumed

Yes, you are right! Between listing the incorrect weights and heights, the airbrushing, and strategic posing, it is really hard to tell what the people even actually look like!

I came across another site that alluded to the pro ana sites doing similar things for their thinspiration. The picture would should a normal (albeit very thin) women, and then when you moved the mouse over the picture, it would change and model would have the 'anorexic' look, with the ribs protruding and everything. Probably a lot of those thinspiration pictures aren't even real.
 
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