A trip down avatar lane.

I thought we’d take a trip down avatar lane to catch a glimpse of the latest and greatest pro-ana creativity on the scene.

For those of you who don’t know what an “avatar” is, its the small image online users create to represent themselves. This image can be a real picture of yourself, or something you think is funny or cute.

In the case of proana’s their avatars are generally someone other than themselves since they hold models and stars up as gods.



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That just about covers it. In the land of the free, and the home of the brave, we spend our time analyzing pictures of models and Hollywood stars, crying out for support because we binged on 600 calories today. Yep, that’s the life we have created and we are sticking to it.

Your daughters are on a death march, and they are damn determined. They are dropping like flies, and we all go about our day as if this is all fine and normal.

Our society has penetrated their brains since birth making sure they understand they are to be the pretty ones, the dress up doll twirling to the delight of onlookers. They have grown up watching their mothers diet obsessions, spewing hatred to all the skinny bitches in the neighborhood.

We send them out into the world to fend for themselves, armed with nothing but empty souls and a burning desire to be thin. They head off to school, all efforts focused on starving. If they ain’t an anorexic yet, god damn it, they will be. And no one is going to stop them. They have the right to live the Pro-Ana way.

Visit Google on any given night, type in Pro-Ana to find hundreds, if not thousands, of young people absorbed in the pro-ana underground community.

Its a lifestyle, all encompassing. Once Ana gets her grip on you, she digs her nails in for the long haul. Those who escape alive are considered the lucky ones.

And with that, I’ll say goodnight. I’ll expect to wake up to the usual pro-ana firing line tomorrow. Looking forward to it.


(one of the lucky ones)


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23 Responses to A trip down avatar lane.

  1. Joey says:

    It’s so sad to see all this stuff. There’s so much more to life than thinness, but not from what these girls know. Or they know, but they’re just in far too deep to drag themselves out – and there’s no helping hand there for them.

    I recognise some of those avatars – they’re girls i know.

    The girl who owns the ‘Starvation is Beautiful’ avatar is a close friend – her name’s Jen. I don’t know if i’ve told you her story in a comment before, but i’m going to now. Jen was driven into modelling by her mother. Her mom is a typical ‘LA mom’ – skinny, tanned, blonde, boob-job, frequently in rehab. Jen was under so much pressure to lose weight that she developed an eating disorder. She was also a volleyball star, but in a tournament she fell and broke her back – it’s irreparable and all her dreams were shattered. She was so severely anorexic she was admitted to inpatient, and she now wears a heart monitor a lot of the time.
    Her mom spent a while in rehab for drug abuse, but due to the drugs she has no memory of Jen’s anorexia, and wants Jen to go into modelling again. She’s pressuring Jen to lose weight – a huge amount of pressure, encouraging Jen to not eat.
    Jen is really sick from her eating disorder, and she could die if she carries on as she is. She’s severely depressed too, partly from brain damage from her eating disorder, partly from the loss of identity she suffered after losing her future career as a volleyball star – i’ve sent the police to her apartment before after she took an overdose.
    All Jen needs is a parent to be there for her unconditionally – someone to love her whatever shape or size she is, whether she’s a model or not, and to actually care for her. However Jen is all alone, and she’s only young, yet she’s been through so so much.

    Yet another example of what’s causing girls to go to the extreme of proanorexia sites. Jen turned to us partly for help dealing with her eating disorder, partly for help with her depression, and partly because if she posts she’s going to get unconditional love and support, which her family just aren’t offering her. If she posts her photos she’s told she’s beautiful, and that she is actually skinny, far from what her mom is telling her. She was delighted when i told her a few days ago that i’m always there for her and will always love her, whether she’s fat, thin, beautiful or ugly.

    As I see it now, you’re not so much against the proanorexia movement, but more against the pressures that lead a young girl to go to such extremes. And therefore i’m fully with you on this – proanorexia sites can be quite barbaric and shocking, but while the world is like it is the girls that rely on them have little choice.

  2. Danyel says:

    I’m so thankful for you. Even though we have only chatted a few times and your life kinda got busy- my email is still the same, is yours? I’m still blogging, I stopped for a while b/c I had a break down but I’m good now. I think you’re doing a wonderful thing by attempting to raise awareness.
    Keep it up, I’ll keep reading.

  3. Melissa says:

    I love this post, you’re pissed off and it’s awesome.

    People need such angry bluntness sometimes.

    Keep up the amazing work, Mama! ♥

  4. Niika says:

    I’ve seen so, so many icons like that. (We call ’em icons on LiveJournal, not avatars, by the way.)

  5. Hillary says:

    maybe I’m different from other girls with ED. or maybe most people just misinterpret our reasons. is it about something other than being thin for anyone else? am i the only one who has something deeper going on that is manifesting itself as an eating disorder? i think part of the way to stop and prevent the development of eating disorders in girls is to find the real source. so many people think we’re a large group of girls who are simply obsessed with being thin, but I think in most cases there has to be more than that. I’m sure there are in fact a significant amount of girls who really are starving themselves to lose weight, but i guess i want people to be a little more complex than that. does this make sense?

  6. Joey says:

    To Hillary – I think the majority of girls with EDs are starving themselves for more than just being thin – the vanity aspect of being thin anyway. I think a lot of them don’t know their real reasons for being how they are, and often they try to distract themselves from the reality of life by completely focusing on weightloss and vanity.
    A lot of the girls i work with have issues with perfectionism, control, traumatic events, past abuse, very low self-esteem, self-harm, self-acceptance, parental pressure and growing up – a lot of these get covered up by the obsession with weightloss, and girls tend to take a while to realise that it’s these issues that are causing them to starve themselves.

  7. Hillary says:

    Thank you Joey
    it’s hard to see this through “proana” sites. Without having an eating disorder, or just from browsing the sites, I think it would be nigh impossible for an average person to realize that there’s more to EDs than simply losing weight. I myself have realized that my obsession with being thin is only superficial and that there is something hidden deeper that makes me do what I do. It has become my goal to find out what’s wrong, and I believe this is helping me to get better.

  8. Jane says:

    I have to say, i am thankful that people like you are truly showing EDs for what they are! i certainly appreciate your blunt anger!
    Secondly, I agree with Hillary is as much as it being hard to see the other issues behind EDs unless you actually have one. it hurts so much when people are convinced that this is our reasons for doing what we do.

  9. Lola says:

    I’m all for trying to diminish the whole ‘pro-ana’ craze, but when it comes to really doing something EFFECTIVE as far as conquering the plague of eating disorders, I think there are ways in which our time and money could be better spent.

    #1: Stop posting Thinsperation pictures!!! If you don’t want people to seek them out, stop reproducing these images.
    #2: Get the media to stop posting actual LINKS and names of ‘pro-ana’ sites at the same time they’re trying to talk about how bad they are! It’s like free publicity for these places.
    #3: Realize that just about every pro-ana site that has ‘members’ ALSO has a ‘member list’. It’s common when a site gets shut down that the site owner simply begins anew at a new domain name, then sends a message notifying everyone on the member list.

    In other words, we need to ask ourselves— are we really getting the results we desire when trying to bring attention to these sites?
    What ARE we aiming for?
    If what we want is to prevent people with EDs from getting sicker, how about working to get treatment for EVERYONE who needs it? According to the National Eating Disorders Association, only SIX percent of people in the community suffering from bulimia will ever get mental health treatment.
    Is it obvious to anyone else that we might be seriously barking up the wrong tree if we REALLY want to make a difference in the lives of people with eating disorders?

  10. Joey says:

    Lola – you are so so right.
    I help run a pro-ana site, which is weird for me because fundamentally i’m against the ideas behind it, but at the same time the girls needs support.
    The way people find out about the sites is by the media talking about how awful they are – almost every single member finds out that way.
    And it’s most definitely true that the treatment is just not there – girls have nowhere else to go.

  11. Hillary says:

    Mama posting these pictures on her site could be a positive thing. If someone searches thinsperation and finds pictures on this site, then they’ve been led to something positive. That’s how I found this site.

  12. Lola says:

    Hillary- the same exact argument could be made for pro-ed websites in general. People can say they went there searching for tips, but ended up finding supportive people who were just looking for someone to talk to.
    It doesn’t make the rest of the website ‘healthy’.

    And it’s also possible that someone who is looking for thinsperation could find them right here, bypass all the warm-fuzzy comments, and save the images to their computer before distributing them again.

    I’m just sick to death of the media dramatizing eating disorders. Magazines claim they’re ‘bringing awareness’, but really they’re just posting thinsperation because they know people can’t resist watching a freak show.
    If you REALLY want to promote eating disorders RECOVERY, then talk about what RECOVERY is actually like. Stop sending messages about ‘I got sick, I ran xxx miles a day, I ate nothing but lettuce and pickles, insert random mentions of the words: bones/ribcage/starving/skinny/emaciated/skeletal/etc/etc, then mentioning that someone ONLY weighed XX pounds! (gasp!– look at the pictures again!), before making a brief reference to ‘and then I got treatment. Poof. The end’.

  13. skinnywannabe says:

    fuk all of you. If we are over 18, who gives a shit if we ARE a part of the pro-ana movement and its underground community? STFU! MYOB!

  14. mamavision says:

    Hi skinnywannabe: I will leave your comment posted, but I wanted to ask that if you post again please clean up your language and express yourself in a decent manner. If you want others to understand your point of view, you need to articulate how you feel and what bothers you about the opinions that are contrary to yours.
    Take care,

  15. Hillary says:

    At least she’s trying to make a difference. Even if a bunch of girls do look past “all the warm-fuzzy comments” there will be a few girls who don’t. Maybe you don’t think helping a few girls makes a difference, but as one of those girls, I certainly think it does.

    Also, I don’t see any relevance in your “The same exact argument could be made for pro-ed websites in general…” argument.

    I don’t see how you’re doing any good for the pro-recovery movement. I don’t mean that in an offensive manner, but if you have such a prob;em with the way other people are doing things, then why don’t you go out and make a name for yourself the way mamav has? That way you can talk about recovery the way you think it needs to be talked about. I don’t know if your comment about sending messages about “running X miles a day and only eating lettuce” was meant directly towards me, but whether it was or not, I think you’re looking in the wrong places, because the stories I read and the people I talk to do talk about recovery, not just magickally getting better.

  16. bellz says:

    pro-ana is support for people who already have ed’s who arent ready to recover.
    which is great. those sites definitley do not encourage people to get ed’s. they tell them not to. gosh. ok i’ve had an ed since i was 10 and just this year started going to pro-ana sites and they are sooo helpful and i feel so much less lonely being able to talk to people who understand. i wouldnt even be alive if it wasnt for them. ok so they are not at all bad stop talking about them like that

  17. sonya says:

    At 6st 12, 5ft3, age 18, still to this day i wont admit i have an eating disorder, why should i? Food is the only thing i have control over, its not an eating disorder. Food is all i can control, too many problems can not be controlled. Apart from food. I am part of the pro ana movement…. If someone under 18 comes on the site and asks for advise how to cover up that she is starving, i give her advise on why not to starve. She shouldn’t have to go threw what alot of us have to. Age 13 a girl was tday, told me she had just done her first ever fast, i couldnt believe it.

  18. sonya says:

    by the way, i also forgot to say how helpful the pro ana site is. It introduced me to girls exactly the same as me, we talk, we help each other.

  19. dee says:

    actually..pro ana sites aren’t as bad as you’re making them sound. It’s a disease! I don’t think it’s right for people who eat “normally” to pass judgment. you have no idea what it’s like to deal with an ED. it’s not something people do to be popular or to weigh 85lbs. it’s a mental disorder. the sites are for people who need help and need to be accepted for what they are and not judged. The sites don’t give people tips on how to throw up or anything they give excersize tips and support when you feel bad about yourself or your life.they are just like any other kind of support sites. it’s like you’re going after people with schizophrenia or something..

  20. K says:

    Dee…I see your point, and to be fair a precious few “pro- ana” sites do seem to be geared towards healthy body image and recovery… but an awful lot aren’t!
    Some of the girls I work with have told me themselves of “tips” and “tricks” they have got regarding purging, fasting, water loading, laxative abuse etc and have even told me what sites they got them off- sites that promote themselves as “pro ana”.
    A lot of the girls that have come here and commented DO have a diagnosed eating disorder, MamaV herself had some sort of eating disorder I understand, so for you to say “you have no idea what its like to deal with an ED” seems a little short sighted.
    None of us know what it was like for you personally, but a lot of us will have an insight.
    “it’s like you’re going after people with schizophrenia or something”.
    No, its not. I’ve been on schizophrenia support sites- they are nothing like pro-ana sites! Find me a pro-schizophrenia site, one that glorifies schizophrenia and gives you tips on how to worsen your symptoms, and we’ll discuss it. I’ve been on many of them, and none of them seem to preach that schizophrenia is “cool” or desireable.
    Besides which, I know about dual diagnosis and all that malarchy, but can an eating disorder really be compared to schizophrenia? they are completely different illnesses, with completely different methods of treatment (or at least, they are in the UK).
    I appreciate that a lot of girls will find friends and TRUE support within these sites, and that is a truly brilliant thing, but at the same time I think most (not ALL, but most!) pro- ana sites also advertise a wealth of unhealthy tips/tricks/ thinspiration which is actively promoted and encouraged by other members.

  21. Jenna Lea says:

    Well, if you know what its like to have an eating disorder you’d know what it would be like to feel like the people in the icons.

    I used to suffer from anorexia. I was 109 and 17. I wanted to get skinnier and skinnier. I passed out on my 8 day of fasting. My mum took me to the doctor. He said I hadn’t been eating. My mum took me to a place (I can’t recall the name) to help girls who suffer with ED’s. I felt better and beautiful when I came out of there.

    Everyone is beautiful. Big, small, black, white. Everything is beautiful.

  22. Mayraun says:

    GO JENNA LEA! WooT! Emali me at ::: msprettygal@hotmail. com



  23. Andrew says:

    Yeah so, I have a personal hate on for Pro-ANA websites, and I’m currently doing a college awareness project of Pro-ANA as I find that most people I talk to have never heard of it. I was wondering if you could provide a little assistance for it. I was hoping that you could possibly provide a listing of help and support groups. (I plan to hand out a list of them for the class during the presentation hoping that I can possibly help even one person.

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