Please note: this post contains images that some people may find disturbing, particularly those attempting to recover from an eating disorder.
I am a huge supporter of Metropolitan Mum‘s Malnourished Monday which she describes as her own little grass roots campaign against size zero. Every Monday Deborah posts a recent image that incorporates the
size zero trend to show just how depressing and grotesque the whole look is.
I’m backing Deborah all the way any joining her grass roots campaign. I’ve already written about skinny mummies, about the bleakness of anorexia, and I’ve openly criticised Kate Moss’s recent comments.
So here’s my next addition to the campaign – Pro-ana websites.
You may have heard of them since there are over 4 million of them in existence despite calls for them to be taken down. They are generally run by eating disorder sufferers who have no medical training, a biased view towards their illness and no desire to even consider the option of recovery. Instead, they see anorexia as a lifestyle choice and actively encourage others to follow their example and self-harm through extreme starvation.
Such harmful sites actively encourage visitors to lose weight by offering potentially lethal weight-loss tips and posting images of emaciated bodies that are supposed to provide ‘thinspiration’.
Images like these, for example, taken from pro-ana sites easily accessible via Google:
As discussed in a earlier post, Kate Moss is heavily featured on these sites too, which is why her comments to journalists really do matter:
If you saw someone in the street looking emaciated, would you offer them weight-loss tips or encourage them in forums to eat less and less each day? Because that is exactly what is happening on-line.
Very few of these sites offer links to sites that promote recovery, such as B-eat. Nor to they list the negative effects of starvation which include organ failure and death.
Despite their harmful content, pro-anorexia websites are not currently defined as such by the UK Council for Child Internet Safety. The Royal College of Psychiatrists are calling for this to change.
In the meantime, your child, or someone you know could be accessing these sites. Many parents, teachers and others who play an influential role in their lives are unaware of the dangers of pro-ana websites.
There may be people out there playing an even greater role in influencing the course of our children’s lives than we are aware.
And they are only a click away.