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The dangerous comeback of pro-ana content

The odes to thinness are back on social platforms and have never been so insidious

The dangerous comeback of pro-ana content The odes to thinness are back on social platforms and have never been so insidious

In the era of forums and blogs, at the dawn of the internet, and before social networks existed as we know (and use) them today, the depths of the web, blogs, and forums were filled with pro-ana and pro-mia content. What did they consist of? A list of tips provided by so-called experts to... keep losing weight and keep feeling bad. Many people used them for motivation, to endure fasting, to worsen their condition, to delay the moment of recovery, to continue living in that unhealthy cloud created by eating disorders, which distort reality and make it appear different, twisted, and dangerous. Their negative impact on the mental health of the most sensitive individuals is well documented, with parents and educators being well warned.

Thinspo content on Tumblr

In the new internet and new social media sphere, at least initially, this content was banned. Pushed to the margins in the form of personal distress diaries, it was recognized and avoided, rarely leaving its bubble. Platform rules were useful in driving them out and further limiting them. They persisted on Tumblr, almost out of use. They proliferated in the form of photos of very thin girls, mirror selfies asking for further advice, in a chain of distress difficult to address, hiding in private groups, no less harmful but at least not casually accessible to anyone. Now, however, they seem ready to return, more insidious than ever, hard to recognize and exclude, and therefore, if possible, even more dangerous.



original sound - jessiepaege

Pro-ana today, from WIEIAD onwards

Online, food is constantly talked about. Dietitians, nutritionists, fitness enthusiasts, athletes, and models explain their diet, what they eat, how they train in minute detail. Bodies, both their own and others', are shown and commented on without asking too many questions, without setting too many limits. It’s not just cooking channels where recipes and preparations of various dishes are explained. It's about what is eaten daily and how calories are burned, creating content (the What I Eat In a Day) solely for this purpose. Amid a sea of useful and well-intentioned videos, lurks first and foremost the specter of pseudoscience, advice without a scientific basis, current beliefs, and trends that have no real foundation. Secondly, the specter of disordered eating, unhealthy habits, distorted self-image and others, the idea that thinness is a value, something positive in itself, to be achieved regardless of our health, genetics, the functioning of our bodies. On Twitter, dozens of accounts belonging to the so-called EDTW (Eating Disorder Twitter) collect photos of creators and ordinary people who define themselves as thin to mock and compare, in an obscene triumph of fatphobia and body shaming. If we add to this growing trend the arrival of summer and the dreaded beach body and the return of very thin bodies on the runway and red carpets - after a moment that seemed to open up to inclusion and non-conforming bodies - then the damage is done. Thinness is back, and we must protect ourselves and younger people.


its an eating summer


Girls react with sarcasm and hyperbole

Some users have noticed this alarming return and have decided to fight it with all their might. In response, content celebrating the importance of food and the energy it provides for living our summer, going to festivals, and enjoying the Brat Summer with friends is flourishing. Even more angrily and sardonically, some mock the girls and people creating this type of content, pretending to be extremely thin or calling themselves "a strand of hair," expressing the fear of being blown away by a gust of wind when boasting about skipping a meal or drinking 4 coffees instead of lunch or breakfast. It's not about belittling a serious disorder but dismantling it from within, ridiculing it through hyperbole and light-hearted content, a dangerous movement that needs to be guarded against. And while we are increasingly aware, younger people may not be.

@verysadtampon the wind was crazy today im surprised it didnt blow me away because im so tiny and petite and light #skinny queen of disaster with sparkles - ˚ ˚。° ⋆˚ ꒰ ྀི ˕ ก ꒱

Food education and self-image

While these exaggerated and highly ironic videos can be very useful in making us smile and think, it is also true that they will never be enough. We need to teach - everyone but especially young and impressionable people - that thinness is relative, that what really matters is health, that eating means living and fasting means - instead - feeling bad and harming the body in the long term. We must teach to distrust the advice of unreliable people, not to be affected by photos of extremely thin thighs, by tips on how to feel bad. It's incredibly difficult and certainly a long-term process. But if we commit, perhaps we can avoid repeating our old mistakes. Word of a millennial woman.