Recently there has been quite a wave of news against Pro Ana and Thinspiration websites by mainstream media and bloggers alike. On the surface this may seem fair considering Pro Ana is associated with “Pro Anorexia” behavior and mentality but sometimes things are not always as they seem.
The recent news that Pinterest was going to ban any Thinspiration or “Thinspo” images made media outlets like the Huffington Post and others stand up and take notice. The feedback was predominantly positive regarding the ban, but did everyone do their homework?
The Other Side of the Coin
While there does seem to be a proliferation of sites promoting unhealthy habits such as starvation, purging, shame tactics and other behavior typical of anorexics, if someone were paying attention they would notice that there are other sites trying to communicate a healthy, positive self image using the same terminology.
For instance, we visited a site called Proana.info and saw that this site is promoting sensible eating habits and tips, pictures of women that are fit but not sickly, positive motivation techniques as well as encouraging readers to have an active fitness lifestyle.
Anorexic behavior has been around for decades, well before the introduction of the internet, those with eating disorders and other issues will always find their way to discovering tips for destructive behavior, whether they are online or not. For those that are desperate enough to consider an anorexic lifestyle, why not “prop up” and publicize sites that provide a safe and healthy environment for such people instead of showing confused women (and men) the sites that promote negativity?
Censorship-is that the answer?
Another consideration that has seemed to escape many that are celebrating the ban on these types of sites is the topic of censorship. On the surface it may seem like a good idea to consider a ban of these sites and topics, but when does it stop?
We can certainly sit down and in short order create a list of several items that may be dangerous or unhealthy, do we crusade against those types of sites too? High school rodeo is one of the most dangerous sports for youth, football has proven to lead to long term concussion damage, obesity has a myriad of health risks associated with it, people with guns kill other people, bungee jumping accidents have cost young people their lives and the list goes on and on.
By setting this type of standard you force groups to go underground where they will find the information (good or bad) that they are looking for regardless of the steps other sites have taken to prevent information from getting out.
What’s the Answer?
Just like with any controversial topic the best course of action is to provide resources and education. Also informational type sites that promote a healthy and positive message should be put in the spotlight instead of sensationalizing and drawing attention to sites that promote negativity.
Anorexia is a serious disorder that has to do more with control than actual weight loss. A person struggling with this is unlikely to be dissuaded simply because a blogger or a news site says so. The answer then is not to fight negativity with negativity but instead promote and spotlight Positive Pro Ana sites so that readers who are struggling with anorexia can be exposed to habits that will equip them with habits that encourage long term health and fitness!