Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Facebook groups promote anorexia  

This is upsetting.

Newsweek has an article up about the abundance of "pro-ana" groups that have been popping up on Facebook. If you don't know, "pro-ana" or "pro-mia" basically implies a group of people who promote eating disorders, often offering each other diet tips, exchanging pictures, and finding "thinsperation" from one another. Of course, the members in these groups are predominantly female, since it's mostly women who suffer from these disorders.

Some users will make a separate private profile specifically to join these groups, while others will join with their regular public profile, usually in hopes of getting attention from their friends who can see what groups they are a part of. Luckily, the Facebook team is working to delete as many of these groups as they possibly can, because Facebook rules state that a group cannot promote harm to oneself or to others.

As a result, many "pro-ana/mia" groups are trying to fly under the radar by removing the "pro-ana" from the title, or making the group private. I did some searching, and was able to find a few of them. They're incredibly upsetting - I don't look at these people with disgust, but rather with plain sadness. They're so desperate to look like the women on magazine covers that they will do almost anything - even participate in an "ana boot camp" that involves not eating anything for thirty days straight and posting your results. This is probably the worst group I found. Please don't look at it if it will trigger you in some way.

On the upside, there seems to be far more "anti-ana" groups than pro. But the pro sites need to be eliminated completely. Who knows if these girls were actually considering getting help... until they stumbled on a "pro-ana" site and were drawn to the sense of community, and the encouragement that they offer.

If you find any of these groups on Facebook, report them immediately.

What next?

You can also bookmark this post using your favorite bookmarking service:

Related Posts by Categories

7 comments: to “ Facebook groups promote anorexia

  • November 26, 2008 at 4:26 PM  

    While I do agree it's upsetting, saying that anorexia is just about wanting to look like super models is a very limited summation of the condition. A lot of what drives of the afflicted (those that actually have it, not the ones who are just trying to join up with a trend or "quick fix") is a desperate need for control. It's very similar to an OCD. Not eating gives them a sense of accomplishment, or being "good" or "strong" by not giving into hunger. There are a lot different reasons why these feelings occur, but it usually has much less to do with food and more to do with everything else.

  • November 26, 2008 at 6:41 PM  

    Danyell - While what you said is true, girls would become anorexic at a much smaller rate if it weren't for all the messages that to be worth something, a girl has to be thin, that the media is pumping out. They ARE desperate to look like the models because of this. Why do you think there are so few males with eating disorders?

  • November 26, 2008 at 9:27 PM  

    sometimes it's about finding someone who understands. I managed a pro-ana group for a long time, and it saved my life, as much as it hurt me too.

  • November 27, 2008 at 11:51 AM  

    Well, it was only a matter of time, I suppose. *sigh* How depressing.

  • November 27, 2008 at 12:31 PM  

    Danyell, yes, I shouldn't have generalized like that. I wasn't trying to imply that it's ONLY about wanting to look like supermodels - I realize it's about many other things as well.

  • November 28, 2008 at 6:54 PM  

    Anonymous - at least you have seen the error of your ways - at least it seems that's what you're saying. You could be saying "you're all a bunch of fatties who just don't get it" for all I can tell. Shame on you, for managing a pro-ana group, regardless...

    The link to the group heads straight to the home page, which means I guess that group has been removed. Yay!

  • December 2, 2008 at 11:47 AM  

    Wow, I guess it has been removed. I reported the group when I saw it, and Facebook seems to have moved fast to remedy it.