Friday, March 27, 2009


To respond to one of the comments recently left regarding the 'safety' of pro-ana sites, as well as addressing the important question as to whether or not shutting down these sites is good or bad, I have some food for thought (no pun intended).

I do agree with 'Lady Camela's' comment that, yes, these sites do provide a safe community for girls who are experiencing alienation and stigma in the 'real' social world. In many ways, cyber space is one of the few spaces where many people dealing with EDs can come together and discuss, support and deal with the traumas they are encountering. It is, as you pointed out, a fine line between support and distruction. And yes, I do agree that one must want to recovery before seeking real and professional help. With this in mind, I might also address the issue as to whether shutting such sites down is good or bad. From my research I have learned that during what I deem to be the hey day of these sites (during the late 1990's), these sites were far more graphic and dangerous compared to what we see now. For that reason Yahoo closed down the sites for violating the terms of use; the violations were predicated on 'causing harm'. In this way we might very well see that this was a proactive decision. But again, there is this issue of community and safety that these sites do provide. I am starting to conceptualize these sites as liminal spaces that have the potential to push an individual in several directions in terms of their eating disorder and body concept. I have noticed for some they realize and question the danger of these sites and the problems with sharing information in this way, while others feel good about the fact that others are in the same situation and, in a state of distorted self-perception understand that encouraging others to reach their weight goals is a good thing. 

There is still lots here to untangle and think about critically. I hope this answers some questions for those who have left comments (thanks, by the way) and that we might start to think about the functions and potential dangers/ benefits of these communities.

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