April 29, 2010


One thing that has really frustrated me ever since I joined LiveJournal seven years ago is the prevalence of communities devoted to "thinspiration". Thinspiration is the triggering material that people with eating disorders use to inspire them to become thin, often photos of emaciated celebrities. The people that are members of these "thinspo" communities (and other thinspiration websites and blogs) don't see themselves as having an illness that could kill them, they view it as a positive lifestyle choice and post encouragement for each other to keep up disordered eating habits.

I find myself becoming upset and concerned about how many devoted members (many of which are young teenage girls) are going out of their way to exacerbate their disorders or even creating the disorders if they didn't already have an eating disorder. I understand the fact that they do not view their eating disorders as an illness or a problem, so perhaps my problem isn't with them. Perhaps my problem is with the fact that these sites, blogs and communities are allowed to exist when they do no good at all.

We can argue that these websites also provide an environment where people with eating disorders can talk and feel understood. I think it is important when dealing with mental health issues that we don't feel like we are in it all alone, but those communities can be provided without containing triggering material.

Perhaps I just have problems sitting by and watching while people pave a path of self-destruction when recovery is a viable outcome for so many. I find myself angry that we live in a society where our physical appearance is so important to the way others treat us and the way we view ourselves. It really is a bit of a cliche to say that it is all because of the media, but perhaps it isn't untrue. Everywhere around us we see thin celebrity poster girls for clothing ranges and hysterical propaganda about the obesity epidemic. In this day and age there is a petrifying fear of being fat.

We aren't taught to love ourselves and each other for who we are, no matter what we look like, we're taught to see fat people as being bad and unhealthy people. We're teaching our children from an early age to worry about being fat. We're teaching them that to be beautiful you must be a small size and wear certain clothes.

We are all individuals and we are all beautiful, no matter what we look like.

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