Pro Ana Mia Websites

Pro ana mia websites are designed to encourage and support those suffering with eating disorders, such as anorexia and bulimia. These site claim to provide -thinspiration- to anorexics. This article defines pro ana and pro mia websites and the motivation behind them.

Like any disorder, it is important to note that there are cases where those affected by eating disorders do not wish to be helped. In some cases, she or he may not even identify the issues as a disorder at all. This is increasingly common as some view anorexia and bulimia as “lifestyle choices” rather than disorders or a form of addiction. Those who are interested in promoting anorexia and bulimia often do so on websites that are growing in number.  Pro ana websites are used to denote those devoted to anorexia. Pro mia is a less used term that refers to sites that have a positive view of bulimia.

Content on pro ana mia websites

For the most part, pro ana mia websites are devoted to providing places where those with eating disorders can find solidarity and community. Some sites attempt to present themselves as support groups and recovery sites, but, for the most part, pro ana mia websites are aimed at helping people maintain their lifestyles, and interact with others who are making the same decisions.

Content usually contains dieting tips, recipes for “cleansing” solutions, suggestions on suppressing hunger pains, and tips on exercise. Additionally, pro mia websites may include tips on self-induced vomiting and on more effectively and efficiently using emetics and laxatives. Other content usually includes personal advice on maintaining an anorexic or bulimic lifestyle, as well as stories from members of the community. Often members of these communities share their stats, posting how much weight they have lost and offering their body measurements.

Many pro ana mia websites also include what is known as “thinspiration.” This includes pictures of celebrities who are skinny, either naturally or through severe diet restrictions. Some pictures include pictures that show protruding bones. Some users can post pictures of themselves, to show their progress, or to serve as “thinspiration” to others. There are also “reverse thinspiration” images used to inspire disgust. These are often pictures of those afflicted with obesity, or pictures of exceptionally fatty or greasy foods. The idea is to create a sense of horror with regard to weight gain and eating.

Motivation for pro ana mia websites

Pro ana mia websites offer places where those with eating disorders can band for acceptance. Many view themselves as unrightfully persecuted by doctors, friends and family members who hound them about their disorders. Those who want to be anorexic or bulimic view their disorder as a lifestyle choice, and are looking for acceptance and friendship. Pro ana mia websites offer that, providing a place to go where they are accepted for what they want to do. In order to help motivate each other, members of these sites offer encouragement and validation. Some of these sites share the idea that anorexic and bulimic behaviors are positive things related to:

  • Purity in the body
  • Self control and discipline
  • Rejection of sin
  • Aestheticism
  • Spirituality

The idea is to seek a place where those with anorexia and bulimia can feel “normal”, and gain acceptance from others. Many of those with eating disorders who become involved with pro ana mia websites become socially isolated from their families and their offline peers. Additionally, these websites provide a support system and encouragement. Members fast together, and challenge each other to feats of weight loss and refusal of food.

Professional opinions of pro ana mia websites

Most of the medical and dietetic professionals in the country disapprove of pro ana mia websites, insisting that they encourage a disorder, and insist that anorexia and bulimia are disorders worthy of medical and psychological attention. Many of them insist that “lifestyle choice” is an inaccurate representation of conditions that can be very damaging to the health.

If your child has been visiting pro ana mia websites, it is a good idea to find out why, and to try and encourage him or her to avoid the sites. Those without eating disorders can be drawn into that world even if they initially plan just to seek for dieting tips. It is important to help your teen develop a healthy body image, and to teach her or him healthy habits so that an eating disorder is not developed.

Related Article: Warning Signs of Eating Disorders >>