isnaini_blogtemplate53_00 Broken Spirit: Ana and Mia

Saturday, May 13, 2006

Ana and Mia

I now know that Pro-Ana and Pro-Mia websites are old news, but I honestly hadn't heard of them until a couple of weeks ago. I was watching the news one night and heard of the rise in popularity of these sites among teenage girls, so out of curiosity, I decided to check some out. What I found shocked me.
I won't post the names of or link to any of the sites I visited, but I will say that the girls that run these sites and their members need serious help. They view anorexia, which they call "Ana", (bulimia is referred to as "Bella" or "Mia") as a "friend" and a lifestyle choice. They refuse to believe that they have a disease which is slowly killing them. On the contrary, these sites encourage these diseases, offering tips and tricks to fool family and friends into thinking they are eating and not losing weight. These sites also offer what they call "thinspiration", pictures of super-skinny celebrities and models, and even pictures of some of their members. The pictures are supposed to keep these girls focused on their goal of achieving so-called perfection when they feel themselves wanting to eat. There are also message boards where members can go to comfort and support one another, as well as other tools of encouragement such as the decision to wear certain colored bracelets (red for pro-ana and blue for pro-mia) and the daily reading of what is known as The "Thin" Commandments:

1. If you aren't thin you aren't attractive.
2. Being thin is more important than being healthy.
3. You must buy clothes, cut your hair, take laxatives, starve yourself, do anything to make yourself look thinner.
4. Thou shall not eat without feeling guilty.
5. Thou shall not eat fattening food without punishing oneself afterwards.
6. Thou shall count calories and restrict intake accordingly.
7. What the scale says is the most important thing.
8. Losing weight is good/gaining weight is bad.
9. You can never be too thin.
10. Being thin and not eating are signs of true will power and success.

Pretty sick, huh?
In all fairness, though, I did come across one particular site in which the owner willingly admits that anorexia and bulimia are not glamorous, that they are indeed deadly diseases. She herself suffers from anorexia, and has even dedicated an entire section of her site to recovery from the diseases called "The Flipside". She also makes some valid points about hypocrisy in society. People are quick to put down girls who are anorexic and bulimic, ridiculing their support of their own "lifestyle choice" yet society itself encourages thinness and demands perfection.
I mean, honestly, how many commercials do you see on T.V. promoting various diet pills, fad diets, and exercise equipment?
Radio, billboards, and magazines are no exception. The owner of the site talks about the yogurt commercial in which the woman buys the yellow bikini, hangs it on the wall, and looks at it every day as she eats the low-fat yogurt and dreams of fitting into this bathing suit (you've seen it, right?) I'm paraphrasing here, but she says something to the effect of, "Duh! We (anorexics) use the same kind of tricks!"
Apparently, buying clothes that are too small and starving yourself to fit into them is one of the various methods used to stay thin.
I do not condone these diseases in any way, shape, or form; however, I completely understand how they have come about. Society has placed an extraordinary amount of pressure (especially on women) to be thin and beautiful. All you have to do is pick up a copy of US magazine, or People, or Star, or watch a Victoria's Secret commercial, etc. to know what I'm talking about. Overweight people are ridiculed constantly in our media, and are rarely looked upon as beautiful people. It's easy to see how these impressionable young girls have begun to equate thinness with beauty. It's truly a sad world we live in now, in which hardly anyone cares about inner beauty.
I believe that anorexics and bulimics need hardcore therapy and the constant support and love of those who sincerely want them to recover. They definitely don't need to be bashed and made fun of:

That's not going to solve the problem. I blame society anyway, and until our views on what beauty truly is changes (which is highly unlikely to happen in this lifetime), unfortunately, there will be these kinds of diseases to contend with.


Blogger Janice (5 Minutes for Mom) said...

yes I have heard of these sites and been to some. it is very sad. these diseases are so serious.

I have been friends with, and worked with as a youth worker, girls with these diseases. It is brutal to watch it destroy them. But yet not surprising. The devil will use every tactic he can to destroy people.

12:09 AM  
Blogger PJ said...

I am so glad you posted on this. I wanted to, but I just couldn't think of the right way to go on it. You did a beautiful job. This is exactly what I was trying to briefly say in my blog the other day.

I hope everyone reads this.
Good job.

Happy Mother's Day.

12:58 AM  
Blogger Reverberate58 said...

I did not know about these sites. Some times I worrly about the stepdaughter because she is in constant fear of looking like her mother who is at least 250 or more. She nibbles but she does eat. I think choosing this lifestyle as they call it is a copout, especially if you buy into the thin hype. Yea we are pushed into this thought frame by society and commercials but even the ones that talk about it suggest you should see a doctor before taking the miracle stuff and most promote (even if it is in the small print at the bottom) that exercise is a must. There are healthier ways to get small and tiny than starving yourself. Bulimia and Anorexia are both disease of the mind and body. Just my thoughts.

Happy Mothers Day!

7:20 AM  

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