What is thinspo? Thinspiration is a play on words between “thin” and “inspiration” – it’s often shortened to “thinspo.” SO how can this seemingly healthy online trend (after all, there are pictures of good foods to eat, – fruits and nuts – healthy bodies, and workout moves), be so dangerous?
Thinspo on blogs like Tumblr, and until recently, Pinterest, help serve as a visual and interactive platform for Pro-Ana and Pro-Mia (Pro-anorexia and Pro-Bulimia) communities of young tweens and teens. While work out tips and pictures of fit women are posted, so are the opposite: pictures of rib cages, clavicles that can “catch rainwater,” and thigh gaps…and they’re all prized goals. Even photos from the far end of the health spectrum – food dripping grease and obese people – are posted, with the goal being to instill ‘disgust’ in the viewer. (And the end result being to stay away from it all).
This isn’t to say that everyone who posts items tagged #thinspo are anorexic or bulimic, but when the majority of posts trend toward maxing out your calorie intake at 400 calories a day, being 5’8″ and 106 lbs (and yet you think you’re still too fat), or wondering how you can hide your eating habits from your family, the glossy magazine photos posted of borderline emaciated models like Kate Moss take on a new – previously hidden – meaning.
It’s not being healthy that’s the problem – in fact, Pinterest users have supported a new movement that “healthy is the new skinny,” it’s the fact that unhealthy eating disorders are being perpetuated as acceptable by a mass mentality. Girls abiding by the “Thin Commandements” (they were originally written as sarcastic, but have been adopted by some as serious) or the Pro-Ana Pledge (also below) think that anorexia is a lifestyle choice, not a mental disease that could lead to death.
Luckily, posts on Tumblr and Pinterest are, for the most part, public (some Tumblr posts are private); so, if you know your daughter / friend / sister / cousin / classmate’s tumblr or pinterest handle, you can see the types of posts they’re reposting.
Examples of Thinspo are below; if you know someone who is being affected by a eating disorder, you can get them help. For treatment referrals, information, and support, you can always contact the National Eating Disorders Association Helpline at 1-800-931-2237 or www.nationaleatingdisorders.org.
Letter To Ana:
I offer you my soul, my heart and my bodily functions. I give you all my earthly possessions.
I seek your wisdom, your faith and your feather weight. I pledge to obtain the ability to float, to lower my weight to the single digits, I pledge to stare into space, to fear food, and to see obese images in the mirror. I will worship you and pledge to be a faithful servant until death does us part.
If I cheat on you and procreate with Ronald McDonald, Dave Thomas, the colonel or that cute little dog. I will kneel over my toilet and thrust my fingers deep in my throat and pray for your forgiveness.
Please Ana, don’t give up on me. I’m so weak, I know, but only you with your strength inside me will I become a woman worthy of love and respect. I’m begging for you not to give up, I’m pleading with my shallow breathes and my pale skin. I bleed for you, suffer leg pains, headaches and fainting spells. My love for you makes me dizzy and confused I don’t know whether I’m coming or going. Men run when they see the love I have for you and never return. But they aren’t important to me all thats important is that you love me.
If you stay with me, I will worship you daily, I will run miles a day, come rain, snow, bitter cold or searing heat I will run from the pain and in fright. I will do 1,000 sit ups a day and lie to my family about what I eat and how I feel. I will stop weeping when I feel your warm arms embrace my shivering body. I will numb the hunger pains with razor blades and your strength.
Today, I renew our friendship and resolve to be faithful to you year long, life long. I begin each year with a 3 day fast in honor of you. If you give me the strength to fade away I will love you and worship you forever.
When I’m finally faded to nothing, when you’ve given me the gift of ending this torturous life. I will float on to the next world and be thin and beautiful payment for my undying love for you in this world.
I ask only one more thing you, please Ana, remove me from this hell, from this world ASAP. Please take away this hatred for my pain and allow me to be free and light.
Love Always, Worthless One
The Thin Commandments:
EatingDisordersOnline reports that the Thin Commandments were “originally written by Carolyn Costin, MA, MEd, MFT, for people with eating disorders. They are tongue-in-cheek commandments that aren’t meant to be followed but to illustrate beliefs that lead people astray.”
Not everyone gets the memo.
- If you aren’t thin, you aren’t attractive.
- Being thin is more important than being healthy.
- You must buy clothes, cut your hair, take laxatives, starve yourself, and do anything to make yourself look thinner.
- Thou shall not eat without feeling guilty.
- Thou shall not eat fattening food without punishing oneself afterwards.
- Thou shall count calories and restrict intake accordingly.
- What the scale says is the most important thing.
- Losing weight is good/ gaining weight is bad.
- You can never be too thin.
- Being thin and not eating are signs of true will power and success.
- If you are thin, you will be loved and accepted.