Ok, when i first heard about the Pro-Ana (Anorexia) movement from a friend of mine a few months ago, i shrugged it off as something that's unbelieveable and ludicrous. As someone who knew and dated girls who had eating disorders ( side effects of knowing sorrority girls), i know how bad it gets for them and how hard it is for them to stop throwing up or not eating in order to get/ remain "thin". Hell, i know a bulemic girl who, in order to stop herself from purging, started doing coke so that she wouldn't eat. That was her own personal way of beating her Bulemia, and not only did it not work, it got her addicted to coke as well. So you can understand my reaction, when i read on yahoo news today , that not only the Pro-Ana movement is not a joke, and it's actually attracting followers.
Followers include young women and teens who wear red Ana bracelets and offer one another encouraging words of "thinspiration" on Web pages and blogs.
For an example of "Thinspiration", Go here!
They share tips for shedding pounds and faithfully report their "cw" and "gw" — current weight and goal weight, which often falls into the double digits.
The movement has flourished on the Web and eating disorder experts say that, despite attempts to limit Ana's online presence, it has now grown to include followers — many of them young — in many parts of the world.
Hell, they even devised a philosophy for it!
She and others point to the "Ana creed," a litany of beliefs about control and starvation, that appears on many Web sites and blogs. At least one site encourages followers to make a vow to Ana and sign it in blood.
The Ana creed, which i found at this website, goes like this:
Thin is beauty; therefore I must be thin, and remain thin, If I wish to be loved.
Food is my ultimate enemy. I may look, and I may smell, but I may not touch!
I must think about food every second of every minute of every hour of every day... and ways to avoid eating it.
I must weigh myself, first thing, every morning, and keep that number in mind throughout the remainder of that day. Should that number be greater than it was the day before, I must fast that entire day.
I shall not be tempted by the enemy (food), and I shall not give into temptation should it arise. Should I be in such a weakened state and I should cave, I will feel guilty and punish myself accordingly, for I have failed her.
I will be thin, at all costs. It is the most important thing; nothing else matters.
I will devote myself to Ana. She will be with me where ever I go, keeping me in line. No one else matters; she is the only one who cares about me and who understands me. I will honor Her and make Her proud.
You know, there was this girl i knew, who belonged to a Pentcostal church that believed that Anorexia and Bulemia are not diseases as much as they were demons that possess people, who can be healed from them by a proper exorcism or Baptism of the holy spirit
. The girl not only believed that, but also believed that the same was true about homosexuality, because apparently she was a lesbian before her Holy spirit baptism and now she is "cured", provided that she doesn't see her ex-girlfriend, whom she still has feelings for, you know, despite being cured and all. I naturally used to tune her out, but now, reading that Ana's creed, i wonder if she was on to something when it came to the demonic nature of eating disorders. This reads like an incantation or a personal prayer, and if we were in Inquisition time, this probably would be grounds for an Idolatry charge and would start a little barbeque where those girls would be the meat.
But here is the issue: I know that having those websites is dangerous, and that anorexia should not be encouraged, But... But i can't help but think that this is a personal choice that some people take and that we , while necessarily not have to respect it , might have to tolerate or at the very least no censor. It seems hardly unfair to point out at Pro- Ana websites and chastize them, while Obesity is far more rampant and kills far more people
. We can't tell people they can't be too skinny and allow others to be too fat. I mean Fat people have their own support system too: Fast Food TV commercials, Cooking programs , hell, there is even the Food network, which must be the equivelant of the Playboy channel in Ethiopia and North Korea. And on the other hand, i don't want those things gone: I like My burgers to be big, fatty and greasy, thank you very much; and i hate it when anyone wants to inform me "How bad it is" for me, you know? I can't help but think that this is exactly how they feel about their food choices, with the difference that they are on the other side of the spectrum. If anything, the distance between too skinny and healthy is probably far shorter then too fat and healthy, right?
I don't know, but even taking the "personal responsbility/life choice" angle, i still feel hugely uncomfortable about those Ana-followers. Maybe it's the fact that being overweight kills you on a much longer timespan then being anorexic does. Maybe it's the fact that the majority of anorexic girls are just that, young girls, who are easily influenced due to their young age and low/lack of self-esteem. Or maybe it's the fact that no overweight person i know is actually proud of being overweight to the degree that he/she developed a creed for it, but rather most of them are looking for ways to lose weight. I don't know which it is, maybe it's all three, maybe it's none of them. All i know is that this Ana worship thing really disturbs me.
What do you think?