In the last decade or more, the “pro-ana” and “pro-mia” communities of online forums came under fire for promoting a disorder. Anorexia and Bulimia are eating disorders, but many in the pro-ana community viewed it as an acceptance of their disorder and harnessing their manipulative behaviors in order to feel thin, to feel beautiful, and most of all, to feel in control. Rarely did I see anyone encouraging others to vomit or fast – although we did indeed have group fasts. Our goal was never for men to "learn to love" our bodies, unlike the cry of "sexism" when a man prefers not to sleep with overweight women. We know what we're doing. We did not shame each other for not being skinny, especially seeing as many of us with bulimia were NEVER skinny.
We traded tips on the safest way to manage a fast, on the safest way to purge a la water (by the way, rinse with baking soda and wait half an hour before brushing. It protects the enamel.)
We posted photos of our collarbones, and we posted “thinspo.” Thinspiration. Pictures for us to gaze upon of girls who were often either photshopped or, preferably, naturally skinny teens. Sometimes we would hit gold and find a collection of very underweight girls. They looked sick. We ached for that.
Thinspiration is like the unhealthy version of “Fitspo.” Thinspo is like the underweight version of “Body Positive Fat Acceptance.”
The difference is in the jeans size. The psychology is semantics; pro-ana becomes addicted to their control, and Pro-Fat Acceptance becomes addicted to food. We are empty and you are full.
Pro-Ana promotes water, exercise, and by all means, achieving the body we feel we were meant to have. A body we would be proud of, even if our eyes are sallow.
Fat-Acceptance promotes “indulge in that cake, ignore your doctor about that knee pain, be proud of your body as it jiggles each and every way." Fat-Acceptance hijacked the term “curvy” and applied it only to fat women. When I say fat, I am applying it to women (and men) who prefer to take back the term. I don’t mean it as a slur. So let me bring you into the world, if you will, of Fatspo.
Tess Holiday. She had made a career of being a lovely, but obese, pinup model. And at every turn she makes an effort to glorify being fat. She claims to be in top-notch health. I beg to differ.
"ME SO HEALTHY!"
One of the great appeals for me when I was heavily involved in pro-ana (and I am still working through my ana-mia mindset over a decade later) was that instead of a preachy recovery forum, we had a connection in knowing this disorder was hurting us. We felt at peace when someone else said “yeah, I threw up half a cookie today and then binged again anyway. And Purged.” Because some of us had done it as well. There was empathy when a girl wanted to fast for six days, made it to five and broke down and had a slice of pizza and got depressed. We didn’t say she failed. We wore red or purple bracelets to recognize each other in public. We were friends.
I imagine the Fat-Acceptance Movement - a bastardization of Body Positive – feels the same but they refuse to recognize than obesity is one of the leading causes of death in this country. They refuseto accept that Compulsive-Over-Eating-Disorder makes you just as ill as the anorectic. I want to protect my child from being one of the 60% and rising of obese individuals in this country. Loving your body at any moment is great but loving your body also means wanting to work towards what is best for it. Promoting “feeders” (guys who get off on over-feeding their fat women with tubes) is not body positive. Telling post-partum women not to lose the baby weight and to find a “fat positive doctor” is not body positive. Normalizing obesity is not body positive.
IT. IS. SUICIDE.
At least in Pro-Ana communities, we admit it.
the bath of disordered denial.