Social Networking & Pro-Ana Groups

Like many of us, I have a Facebook account, and use it to keep in touch with friends and family. Three weeks ago, I (boldly) included my blog on my profile, with the knowledge that anyone could take a look — part of my desire to live authentically.

Maybe I’m naïve, but I didn’t know what else Facebook was being used for until I came across this article in Newsweek titled “Pro-Anorexia Groups Spread to Facebook”.

Having just read Perfect Girls, Starving Daughters and having just met MamaV, who works to raise awareness about these online communities, I was particularly intrigued at what is happening in the social media sphere.

Intrigued and saddened, I should note.

I’ve gone to a few of these pro-ana and pro-mia sites since our Chicago jaunt where I learned what they were. And truthfully, I had to ‘X’ out of each page, each time.

I just felt so sad, so sick to my stomach reading those words, unable to comprehend what is going through these womens’ heads … and fearing what it must be like to feel this way.

For all my body issues, for all my disordered eating behaviors, I simply cannot fathom the idea of starving myself … or of sharing tips with others for how to do it.

But the sites are out there, and now they’re on Facebook (even if they’re private).

All I’ll say about this article … It’s sseriously a scary new world out there.

How about you? As a society, what do you think we should do about these sites, if anything?

6 thoughts on “Social Networking & Pro-Ana Groups

  1. Oh, that’s so sad. Things like this make me worry about kids like my 17 yo baby sister.

    She’s a beautiful girl – about 4’10” with an itty bitty waistline and maybe a total weight of 110 pounds soaking wet. But she’s a double D, and thinks she’s overweight because she can’t see her feet. She’s got the lowest self-esteem of anyone I know and I notice she rarely eats in front of others and constantly talks about her weight. Plus, she trolls the internet constantly, so I’m sure she’s come across some of this stuff.

    There are so many awful websites out there though, just waiting for susceptible people to find them – I don’t have a clue about what should be done but it makes me so sad.

  2. Isn’t that so tough, Kristen? We wish others would see themselves as they are, and it’s so hard to do. Maybe you could ask her if she’s seen these kinds of things and what she feels when she sees them? That’s what MamaV is all about — raising awareness that these sites exist; not ignoring them or shutting them down, but trying to open dialogue among families and friends.

    Mara, I thought that way too at first — but it seems they just find other ways to proliferate. 😦

    Alison, I see what you mean!

  3. Thanks for the great entry regarding the growth of pro-ana groups on social networking sites like Facebook. The Center for Eating Disorders, home to Dr. Crawford, who is interviewed in the Newsweek article, just wrote a blog entry about this growing problem. To read about what CED thinks about this issue or to view the link to the Newsweek article: http://eatingdisorder.org/blog/2008/11/25/newsweek-highlights-the-dangers-of-pro-anorexia-groups-on-social-networking-sites/

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