Horrifying New Social Media Trend Promotes Eating Disorders
The terms “pro-ana,” and “pro-mia” have been around for some time, but only recently have the words “thinspiration” and “thigh gap” been seen circulating chat rooms, websites, and social media sites.
Pro-ana and pro-mia are terms for the promotion of the anorexia and bulimia eating disorders, respectively. YouTube pages and message boards are serving to unite the advocates of these eating disorders—many of whom call themselves “Ana” or “Mia,” according to The Fix—and promote the idea that thinness and the emaciated figures of models and Hollywood stars are the ideal goal (Helton, 2014). The recent thigh gap trend involves girls not wanting their thighs to touch, which is simply an unrealistic goal for certain body types.
A study conducted by Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in 2010 discovered that “91 percent of pro-ana websites were accessible to the general public” and 83 percent of search results for “pro-anorexia” and “thin and support” were websites that advocated eating disorders (Helton, 2014).
Due to the rise of this issue, social media websites like Instagram, Pinterest, and Tumblr have been making efforts to stop the promotion of eating disorders. Instagram blocked hashtags pertaining to pro-ana and while Pinterest and Tumblr still allow content, both sites display messages about the negative consequences of eating disorders (Helton, 2014).
Helton, S. (2014). Pro-ana: ‘Thinspiration’ and social media. The Fix. Retrieved from http://www.thefix.com/content/pro-ana-%E2%80%98thin%E2%80%99-inspiration-social-media
Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. (2010). Study examines pro-anorexia and pro-bulimia websites. Retrieved from http://www.jhsph.edu/news/news-releases/2010/borzekowski-e-ana-websites.html