I was on facebook when I noticed an album labeled “thinspo.”
For those of you who don’t know what thinspo is, it’s basically what people call thinspiration. It’s what people use to inspire them to get thin. But these pictures consist of emaciated girls whose ribs poke out. A lot of the girls in the pictures look happy. Some of them don’t.
How could thin = happy for some of us? Is our culture that messed up?
What those pictures represent to those girls is basically this.
Thinspo, or better known as Thinspiration is used by people who having eating disorders to keep them inspired. Thinspo is usually of photos of skinny or bony celebrities or models. It sometimes takes the forms of celebrities who have lost a great deal of weight. Thinspo can be anything. Book quotes, song lyrics or films.
Thinspo targets young girls who are obsessed with becoming skinny. They have influenced girls who are about to eat, to keep going and strive to get skinnier. Once someone has the idea of being skinny in his or her head it is very difficult to get it out. Even if that person has gone to therapy and has got treated for it, it will always be in the back of their mind.
These pictures are used as a goal for these girls. My friend had one picture of a girl who was all ribs and bones and wrote, “my goal” under it. These goals are not only impossible, they are extremely unhealthy. But try to tell that to someone with an eating disorder. They may know that they could die from this. But at the same time, thin has become everything to them. To let go of it means losing control. And they can’t lose control.
Only sometimes do they realize that they’re really losing control. To the ones that don’t…
I feel guilty because I never really talked to that friend. She was a Facebook friend, nothing more. But should I have been more of a friend to her? I talked to a girl who once knew here. This girl used to be quite active in her church. She used to be doing a lot better…
But that was before now. Now she wants to be skeletal. Now she posts pictures of her arms on her facebook where people can see the wounds.
Maybe it’s a cry for help. Maybe it’s a signal that I should do more than what I’m doing right now. Maybe I should be more of a friend to her… than just sit back and watch her fall.
In any case, here’s a petition you can sign to ban these sites. I signed it. I can at least do that, for her. If nothing else, I can pray.
If you doubt the seriousness of this, please take a look at this site. It’s a Pro-Ana site, which means that it’s pro-anorexic lifestyle.
This poem is on the front page:
In this section, they teach you how to lie to your doctors and other people so that they won’t suspect that you have an eating disorder.
Here’s just one of the tips.
As you lose weight, your skin will become dry and sallow and it will heal slowly. Make sure that you use LOTS of lotion where it is needed and take a multivitamin. If you lose enough weight, your body will develop lanugo, which is a very fine downy hair that covers your body. It can easily be removed with a mild depilatory followed by hydrocortisone cream.
This is merely a way of disguising the problem so that people won’t suspect that things are going on that shouldn’t be going on.
They also say that getting a pedicure is a way to distract yourself from the hunger and make yourself feel prettier.
Here’s something from another section of the site:
Anorexics usually have low self-esteem and sometimes feel they don’t deserve to eat. The anorexics usually deny that anything is wrong. Hunger is strongly denied. They usually resist any attempts to help them because the idea of therapy is seen only as a way to force them to eat. Once they admit they have a problem and are willing to seek help, they can be treated effectively through a combination of psychological, nutritional and medical care.
The pictures that you’ll see when you click “thinspiration” are nauseating. A lot of them are real girls. Several of them are celebrities like Paris Hilton. Lindsay Lohan and Angelina Jolie are other popular celebrities that are used to inspire these girls.
This is just one of the many sites out there that encourage this lifestyle. There’s also the many xanga blogrings and facebook groups. I even found a blog on wordpress that was very very recently started. Or check out the videos on youtube.
This is what got me started on psychology to begin with. Seeing this reminds me that there’s a very big need. And that I am needed, not as the solution but as part of it.