Where Do You Stand On Pro-Anorexia Websites?

February 21, 2007 10:35am CST
Pro-anorexia, or pro-ana as it is known, is something which is featuring prominently in news stories in the UK at the minute. These websites feature tips and tricks on how to lose weight, pictures of thin models/celebrities (thinspiration) and diet plans. How do you feel about these sites? Do you think that they encourage young people to develop eating disorders? Do you think that they are harmful, or that they are just people exercising their right to free speech? I'm very interested to hear other's opinions on this.
3 people like this
6 responses
• United States
21 Feb 07
The way I see it, people who make these sites are exercising their right to free speech. I don't think they encourage people to have an eating disorder, since most people would not even find them unless they had an eating disorder to begin with (why would someone look up pro-ana or pro-mia unless they already were familiar with the terms and wanted to find these sites to get tips or tricks for their eating disorder?). I do think they are very harmful, though. I know that many people who use these sites think they are doing it for the support of other people who are struggling with the same issues, but in reality those who have an eating disorder and visit these sites just learn more ways to get stuck in the disorder, rather than finding ways to end it. Most of these sites have a very competitive side to them--I weight x number of pounds, I lost X amount of weight by doing this, etc.--that feeds into the eating disorder because the users want to feel like they belong, so they start to emulate the behaviors of those who are "successful".
2 people like this
21 Feb 07
Thank you for your reply. I think you've managed to sum up my thoughts quite well!
• United States
9 Feb 08
I consider it a free speech issue. Many sites have warnings and statements of "you are responsible for your own actions" on them, so it's not like you could not realize that things discussed may be dangerous to your health. Also, many sites that are commonly lumped into the pro-ana category really aren't pro in the sense of promoting. They are actually communities of individuals who already suffer from some form of eating disorder and just want to share their experience with others and find comfort in not being alone. EDs tend to isolate people, it's kind of a way to feel connected with people who know what it's like.
1 person likes this
@karen1969 (1788)
7 Jun 10
Well, I know one of my daughters goes on the pro-ana websites and I think they are appalling, as they try to encourage people to not just lose weight, but to adopt anorexic behaviour as an ideal way to live! I think they are potentially very dangerous as there is a group of people supporting the people who want to become anorexic. Really nasty sites, I think they should be banned.
@Samanthavv (1383)
• United States
10 Jan 09
I am actually an owner of a fairly large eating disorder site. These sites could be considered harmful by some, but so long as an individual comes to the site KNOWING that they are the only one who can control what they do and don't do... Then the sites can be very helpful. Having an eating disorder can be a very isolating experience. A sufferer may feel all alone, as though they have no one, and these sites help connect that lost feeling, and the feeling of isolation, because there are others going through the same thing.
@daababy (219)
• United States
14 Apr 08
I stand for pro-anorexia site.
24 Feb 08
Some of them are harmful, but my personal favorite has a section on purging, saying basically "Don't do it!" They help a lot. If we want to starve we'll do it anyway, regardless of whether we have websites and videos online.