Friday, April 3, 2009

What does Pro-Ana Mean?

There is an issue I have recently come across that clearly needs addressing: What does Pro-Ana mean?

The way the word is used makes it seem that the PRO in Pro-Ana can be interpreted in many ways. There is a difference between being 'pro' Ana, and simply dealing with Ana. In an early, and eventually inconclusive, series of e-mails I had with "Elise" (pseudonym), she initially told me "the term "pro-Ana" has evolved among the eating disorder community to mean something much different than the general public thinks it does."
For some (but not as many as one may think), it seems that pro does not mean 'positive' or 'promoting' - rather the eating disorder is simply accepted in ones life and lifestyle. This means that individuals may or may not identify as 'pro-Ana' while still participating in the community.
From what I am gathering, pro-Ana means that Ana is present. Whether Ana is something that 'empowers' or 'pains' an individual, Ana is confronted and discussed online. Pro-Ana also seems to be a broad category of community, under which many individuals fall whether or not they identify as 'pro-Ana' but who may simply be dealing with an ED and expressing this aspect of their individuality online.

I also want to say, if anyone wants to add to my understanding of the PRO of Pro-Ana please comment!


  1. I've never real thought about it, but for one I'm not an anorectic - just lovely EDNOS for me. But I'd rather be pro ana than pro EDNOS. It's so messy and un-contained in comparison...

    But in general, I've always considered pro-ana to simply mean "safe". It mean whoever's blog or whatever I'm reading understands this part of my life and I can talk to this person about said part of my life with, not judgment, but understanding and acceptance on their end.

    Hope this helps :]

  2. I personally dislike the term pro-ana. Although I do visit sites that label themselves 'pro-ana'. For me, 'pro' signals this idea of promoting eating disorders(although this is NOT what the majority of the pro-ana community do). You yourself in discribing the pro-ana movement (your feburary entry 'getting started')wrote that it 'celebrates and encourages disordered eating' ~~ this is the general/common perception of pro ana. But reading the above I can see that your really coming to a better, much more informed, undestanding of what the pro-ana movement actually is.

    Anyway, to me the use of the term 'pro' has been an issue. Not kowing how to define it makes me uneasy [i'm studying political/social history.. definitions are central =P].This is why I decided to start a blog on blogger rather than joining the Xanga or Myspace or Youtube community [although this is where i first came across the sites]. Blogger just didnt seem as 'pro' ana to me - but people were still able to talk about their issues - in a much more mature way than I have witnesed in other communities.

    I do however agree with hana - if the words 'ana', 'mia' or pro-ana/mia are used for websites - then you know you can say what you like about your ED without offending anyone.