Won’t You Be My Thinspiration?

The term “thinspiration,” or “thinspo,” is widely becoming more popular in niche populations of young girls whose deadly obsessions with body and weight have taken over nearly every aspect of their lives.

Described as promoting images and videos of thin, often starving women as attractive, thinspiration is continuing to push its way into mainstream culture.

Striving for Starvation

More and more young girls worldwide are starving themselves to obtain the rake thin image portrayed as attractive in fashion and film. Many actors and models are considered more beautiful when they are skinny, and ridiculed when they put on weight.

Is the Internet to Blame?

The emergence of secretive “pro-ana” blogs and “thinspo” websites is a prominent signal that more and more girls are seeking support and validation for extreme weight loss. The websites highlight starving women suffering from eating disorders such as bulimia and anorexia as “heroes.” These sites strive to argue the idea that eating disorders are not disorders at all; rather, they are merely a lifestyle choice.

Many concerned parents and health experts suggest banning thinspiration sites. But policing the internet and restricting free speech is both impractical and illegal. In fact, even if these destructive websites were banned, thinspo advocates would surely become more covert in their mission to reach more women and young girls.

What are the Options?

Instead of pointing a finger at select pro-ana and thinspo websites as the culprit in driving deadly obsessions and behavior, it may be more beneficial to study the culture that promotes such ideas. After all, who is responsible for teaching our youth that starving oneself is beautiful? Challenging the use of careless comments such as “I’m so fat,” made by role models and public figures regarding weight may be a good place to start.

Future Steps

Alternatively, campaigns such as “Strong is beautiful” and “Strong is the new Skinny” are the start of a new social movement. As opposed to highlighting skeleton thin bodies, muscular, athletic body types are featured in photographs accompanied by genuinely inspirational sayings.

Advocates of thinspo and pro-ana websites may not be going away anytime soon, but neither are the newer, healthier campaign users. For many concerned individuals, this is a deadly war worth fighting.

No BODY Is Perfect is a Facebook page that represents the social voice for EatingDisorders.com, and its goal is to encourage and inspire women and men to overcome body image issues and receive support. Also follow @strongispretty1 and strongispretty.tumblr.com.

Eating Disorder Self Test. Take the EAT-26 self test to see if you might have eating disorder symptoms that might require professional evaluation. All answers are confidential.

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