|Pro-ana: Less is more|
Photo: Gideon Malais
A colleague recently brought to my attention a ‘pro-ana’ thread he had noticed on Twitter. He was horrified by what he read and I can see why. Twitter exchanges and message boards like this, consist of young women swapping tips on how to maintain a dangerously low weight and provide each other with ‘thinspiration’ pictures of sinewy celebrities. Pro-ana networks are a world of women with glossy hair, gleaming skin and sculpted cheekbones. There are no pictures of bad skin, thinning hair or infertility (difficult to photograph I accept), and there are certainly no stories about the death toll of eating disorders. I, like my colleague, initially recoiled from these groups. It’s hard to avoid concluding that they maintain distorted thinking, fetishise a dangerous aesthetic and uphold judgments of women based on their weight. I started to think about writing a blog about shutting them down. However, when my initial horror abated, I began to wonder why people access them and what needs pro-ana groups seek to fulfil.