It's not a crime to desire to be thin.

Big debate brewing over at LiveJournal (LJ) because the leaders of the community suspended 2 members and posted their Terms of Service (TOS) as a reminder to their members to follow the rules of the road.

You can read the TOS here, basically LJ is restating the law and reiterating the types of judgement calls they need to make when they delete posts or suspend a member for breaking the law as it pertains to online communication.

Here’s the main issues as far as I can tell:

1) ProAnas are threatened their boards will once again be shut down or be censored. LJ staff is doing the censoring, so the content that may be deleted is subject to their interpretation.  

I am 100% freedom of speech, regardless of harm in their words to their community, I believe the members should be allowed to express themselves, their tips, and tricks regardless of how sick to my stomach it makes me. If they think it, let it be out there for all to see, we can’t hide from reality.

If you do not agree, and you believe the proanorexia sites should be shut down, here is a petition you may join to do so.

2) The proanas that post the worst of the worst content on how to starve, tend to be highly arrogant, and this is hard to accept at times. 

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As you read their journals its hard not to fear for their safety and the safety of the girls reading their posts…but bottomline for me is they are allowed to believe in the lifestyle they choose.

3) In my view, LiveJournal is attempting to limit their liability in the event the next person takes their own life via starvation or desparation. They are attempting to say “We do not support these starvation techniques, we are community to help you OUT of anorexia.”

The community may have started as a support forum, but as we all know too well, it has evolved into a death forum.  Let’s see how many death forums are out there; in my 5 minutes of intense googling this morning I stumbled upon:

271 “Pro Ana” Communities on LJ (couldn’t help but notice we now have ‘ana moms’ jumping onboard).

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Wondering what the YouTuber’s are up to? Over 3300 videos out there for your viewing enjoyment.

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Sure there are certain communities within LJ that are about support, such as those lead by King Josie;

For those seeking support under 16 years of age, go here

For those seeking support for your eating disorder stemming from mental illness, go here

Or try We Bite Back! 

However, it appears the vast majority are about the desire to starve and beat yourself up until you are as thin as Richie.  As LJ said themselves, “It’s not a crime to desire to be thin!”

Agreed. Your prerogative.

4) So why to I care? I consider it my job to expose this underground community to parents who are not paying attention to what their daughters are doing online.

I also am a voice of reason for those looking to get out of the ProAna community, a place where many have retreated to in order to escape the hell that is purposeful starvation  

(don’t misconstrue this with anorexia the mental disease….two distinctly different things, so let’s not rehash this point please).

I have certainly learned one thing in the past year of blogging on this topic, the proana community is getting stronger and larger, reinforcing the need to expose the problem. On the positive side, I know first hand that a lot of you that are “on the fence” or have had enough of the proana lifestyle are now here, and you are listening.

For that I am grateful. There’s a better life out there girls, stick with me and you will find it.

 -mamaV

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32 Responses to It's not a crime to desire to be thin.

  1. sfmjk says:

    I just am at a loss to why these girls think that being bony is beautiful (those anas and mias who dont have a mental problem, mind you). Yes, having a naturally slim figure can be very desirable. But so can a naturally curvy body. And that girl in the picture is beautiful and if she stopped starving herself I bet she would fill out just lovely. As someone who is naturally very slim, I always appreciate a healthy womanly figure just as much as the next girl.

    These girls have such beautiful and promising lives and careers and they are destroying it in order to pursue an absolutely unattainable body (Hint: Photoshop can make you look like anyone you want!). I hope someone reading this will understand me when I say lives do not change when you are thin. Everyone suffers the same problems, and in fact when your thin all that will change is a hell of a lot of people will ask you whether you are anorexic and “put some meat on your bones!”

  2. sIM'One. says:

    that could be the same girl. one is high production the other is a phone pic.
    and she’s not skinny at all, she’s quite voluptuous and quite beautiful! she looks like a pinup!

  3. Joey says:

    Oh i wish i knew what to do!!!
    I want to help these girls, and to do that the community needs to stay there so that they can be found and so they have people to talk to (and i’m adament about that). But how to change the community so that it is supportive and not encouraging eachothers illnesses seems…impossible.
    Hell i’ve tried!!! I and others have worked flat-out for months, and only a small number have benefitted. And then there’s the whole “look after yourself before others”….but a woman bashing my community accused me of being lazy and not trying hard enough!!!!
    I hate pro-ana stuff with all my heart, but the girls need SOMEONE to talk to!!!

  4. Joey says:

    Also – thanks for the support on my communities :)
    They’re not very active or well-moderated because i’m in recovery though, so i hope there’s nothing bad going on in there :S but still..

  5. hagar says:

    hi mamav!
    how was your camp? how are you? did you have fun?
    i hope you had fun and you are better now <3
    i have to say something though about the whole pro ana\mia movement…
    I used to visit those sites daily… I used to be thrilled if I found a new good site, those sites “helped” me… I would look at thin models till i was feeling like a huge carved pig… I would read other’s girl poem about their experiences and not realize how awful it is… It’s like I was blind to the pain, only aware of the weight loss… I was like this about two years ago… I remember LIKING starving for about a week… From then on though, I began to hate it of course. Ha. If only I had known what I know now.
    So anyways what I want to say is that they have expressed with harsh honesty that if you are in recovery, it is not the place to go.
    I used to go to this other forum\chat room place before I found your site mamav, I will not give it here, it’s very uh trigerring… I went there until I realized what kind of place it is… I remember writing that I want to stop… The girls were supportive, said good luck, but from then on, it was as if my pain had stopped. Some of them even wrote to me, well if you are trying to recover, this isn’t the place to be, why are you here, this isn’t the right place for that… They KNOW that these sites will never help get better in the way of recovery, but they just can’t stop… Some aren’t aware, they will be later on… It takes time to understand what you are doing… It took me a year to understand that it was me that was throwing up… I never really realized I was making. myself. throw. up. It’s just not something I could digest well… So I don’t know… I can’t blame them completly… I can blame the girls who promote it by saying things like “Anorexia is the best thing ever, try it too it works so good it’s the best” etc… But then again, maybe they ARE at the moment where it feels good? I mean I am sure all of you remember, it feels GOOD at the begginning… Doesn’t it? It feels so in YOUR CONTROL… You don’t realize it’s just the ed lying to you and tricking you… When you realize it is mostly too late…
    xxx

  6. hagar says:

    P.S. What I meant by I liked starving for a week, is not that I starved myself for a week. No I was too weak for that, my conciounse was fighting me… No I mean I liked the whole obsession for a short period of time…

  7. hagar says:

    hi mamav by the way…
    That site yuo said is for support for 16 years old and under…
    It is very pro-ana from what I can see… I mean there are fasting dates and stuff like that… Or is that the only pro thing?

  8. Jane says:

    Welcome back MamaV :o) How was the camping?? Really hope you had a great time with your daughter.

    I think that it’s disgusting that LJ is taking it upon itself to close down sites… this surely goes again one of the foundations of modern society. We have been granted the freedom of speech. so who do they think they are to impose these practises that so blatently go against this human right? If people want to view these sites, that’s their choice, they are making use of their freedom of choice. I am appalled to see yet more people taking actions that are against our rights. Surely this is the same as imposing restrictions against freedom of choice to vote… I see it as a a disgusting attempt at dictatorship to be perfectly honest. I want to get in touch with LJ and express my views, do you know how to contct them?

    Love always

    Jane x x x

  9. Joey says:

    Hagar – you’re so right…for the first few months it feels great – like you’re in total control, that you’re special, that you’ve got this really cool secret, that you ARE going to get thin. I think most of the girls on pro-ana forums are at that stage, and don’t like it when members who have been sick longer confront them with the reality – that you’re ill, that you could die, that you’re NOT in control, that you’re NEVER gonna get thin.

    And what a shame about my ED site having fasting and whatever in. Recovery=/=Moderating…

  10. PrincessAmie says:

    joey
    i want to reply to you… ill do it in the openforum chat
    xx

  11. hagar says:

    It is wonderful that you are being honest. Lying never does good in the end. It is very good that you are being honest. Keep it on, you will see wonderful things happen eventually… Yes in a way I kind of have to agree with you… Mamav has her own life, her own troubles and needs, I feel like a burden.
    LOVE YOU AMIE
    xxx

  12. Rose says:

    hello mama,

    There is some nasty “pro ed” stuff out there that is very dangerous, even to people with EDs. Some of the stuff on lj unfortunately fits that descriptions – YES, the site SHOULD BAN it, or at least censor it. I don’t think that all pro-ed communities should be banned because there are places forum that I am a member of, not on lj, that are closely watched by good, strict moderators. I’m sure, some communities on lj, that are very supportive, understanding and friendly; not extreme, and closing them will mean that those of us who suffer will be alone again. Closing lj pro ana would be pointless anyway since there are so many other pro ed communities.

    I don’t think tricks and tips should be discussed on these boards at all, I have been (hopelessly) bulimic for a very long time and some of the advice that I hear given as a tip makes me cringe so badly, and it isn’t necessary advice at all, and I don’t think that it would help any sufferer other than a wanarexic. Why would someone who is bulimic need a purging tip, or some one who restricts need to be given restricting advice. Tips and tricks are, in my opinion, just easy ways for wanarexics to pick up ED symptoms

    ”the velvetsun” has supposedly contacted the media about lj’s pro ana communities, media attention would be so bad, it would put pressure on the government to take active measure to close down all pro ed communities, and it would be difficult for “outsiders” to distinguish between a supporting group where pro ed material is discussed and the other more dangerous sites and communities, but that doesn’t stop independent organisations such as Lj controlling what goes on in their own communities – I think that they have a responsibility to keep the nasty stuff out, and to distinguish between what is ok and what is not themselves.

  13. mamavision says:

    Hi Kim: The NEDA hotline is 100% confidential, anyone, any age can call. They even assured me that they do not have caller id. Go for it, you have nothing to lose except this horrible ED you are currently stuck with.

    Let me know how it goes.
    mamaV

  14. mamavision says:

    Hi Hagar: Well said. You amaze me with your ability to articulate things, what a wonder for your age.

    I hope this blog is a place where you and the girls feel comforted and supported in a positive way.

    Please also know that if I could sit here all day and write to you all I would!!! So if I ever do not respond, don’t take anything personal. If something is really important just post a few times reiterating you need me to email you direct and I will.

    BUT….bottomline is- I am not your answer, you are.

    I can support just like all the other girls here, but you are living your life, and you have to take those baby steps towards change. Be sure to keep this in your mind at all times ok?

    Love Always,
    mamaV
    XOXO

  15. hagar says:

    Hi mamav =]
    Thank you very much for your compliment!
    It made me smile =]
    Thank you so much, smiling when I am alone is a wonderful new thing for me!
    (Because I usually just have a fake smile, it’s a very different feeling when you smile for real, it hurts less)

    Yes I feel very comforted and supported here… I have been struggling so much lately (as you might have seen from my comments on the forum)… I haven’t ever realized that I am the one who has to stop this thing… I mean sure I can always get support and help, but just like you wrote, it is up to me in th end. No matter how much support I am getting or not getting, it doesn’t matter… The desire to be healthy needs to come from me… I realized a horrible thing a few days ago, it made me cry so hard… I LIKE being sick. I ENJOY these compulsions and obsessions. That is the sickest, SICKEST thing I have ever said. Not that I purge, not that I cut, not that I slap myself etc… That is something I have never been aware of… That yes, I am in PAIN, it HURTS to be like this, I hate it and want it all gone. But then on the other hand, if I really would have hated all of this so much I would have stood up and just done something about it! For real! Not complain about it and “try”… No, I think that I depend on this… That it keeps me safe from reality… That without this I am alone, do you know what I mean? BUT – I know that it is making me ill and suffer and hurt, so I have to begin to see the awfulness in all of this… I have been told many times that I do not take myself seriously. Well it’s time I start to take myself seriously! SO wish me luck mamav! I am starting one thing at a time, the thing that is most destructive to my health right now is my scratching compulsion, i’ve had it for about two years now… Sometimes I find myself scratching hours a day… It is bad… SO wish me luck! This is the firs time I want and need something to be gone 100%!

    Thank you mamav

    Love always too!
    xxx

  16. lisa says:

    I saw your video on youtube, and thought I would respond.

    From the age of fifteen I starved myself, binged and purged, to the point where menstruation stopped, so I believe techinically I was anorexic/bulimic. At the time, I was all alone in the torment. It was not borne of a desire to be a supermodel, but to be accepted and considered acceptable, to regain control of my body and my life and it was a way of expressing physically how desperate I felt. I had no one I could talk to; no-one who understood why I felt compelled to do these things, and why it made me feel so much better to do so. If the topic ever came up (in reference to someone else), people’s reactions showed me that this was something I could not discuss. Very often, people respond wth disgust; like an anorexic is some terrible person, some monster that should be avoided.

    I recently had a relapse after someone I considered to be a friend sexually assaulted me, and it felt like my life and my body, and the control I had over them, was spiralling away from me. I joined a pro-ana website, and for the first time ever I could discuss with others why I did what I did, and I could do so without judgment or recrimination. The site did offer tips, but it also discussed what happens to your body if you continue to starve/binge/purge. None of the girls I met on there did this to themselves out of vanity. No person could survive doing that to their body for too long if it was purely for aesthetic reasons. It’s a very slow form of suicide.

    What I am saying is that I agree; these sites should not be closed down. Freedom of speech is a fundamental right, that is increasingly being restricted. No doubt many of these girls may feel that they have no voice; that nobody would want to listen or understand or that nobody would want to listen. For so many years I thought that I was the only person who felt the way I did about my body and who did these things and I believed that I was a fundamentally evil person for doing those things. For some girls, knowing that they are not alone in the way they feel; who feel that they have completely lost control of their lives and must do those things to regain them, may help them part of the way to recovery, or at least guide them towards the help they so desperately need.

  17. Hannah says:

    I read a few of the comments above and it seems that the majority just want to help the girls out there like me.I have had Anorexia for just over three years and I regulary visit Pro-Ana sites.Yes there are many sites out there that do promote Anorexia as a lifestyle and I am personally disgusited by those sites.This disease is just that a disease that is very real and very deadly.But it comes down to the fact that yes these girls may be starving themselves but at least thay are talking about it.It truly is 100x worse when you are alone in it with no one at all to talk to no one who understand what you are going through.Yes many of those sites are dispicable but you need to remember tht there are also many Pro-Ana sites out there that are merly there for the the support of Anorexics who are not ready for recovery or who are stuck in the grasp of Anorexia and just need help.If you notice many of these sites have lists of safe foods or otherwise known as negative calorie foods.Safe foods promote the fact that even thoight people are going to starve they are still geting a little nutrition which is better then none at all.I myself at the moment am in the process of recovery I am eating maintaining a minimum healthy weight though the thoughts are still there with time they are getting less and I am able to ignore them until they go away.I must go now things to do.But I do hope to read more of yyour enlightning opinions.

  18. mamavision says:

    Hi Kim: I read through your posts on the open forum from today, and I wanted to reach out to you here to see how you are doing?

    Are you new to the blog, I don’t recognize your name? First, post to the open forum what’s going on, what you have tried and what is not working!!!

    As I tell everyone, I am not a professional, just a listening ear and hopefully we can make a plan to get you stepping in the right direction.

    How does that sound?
    mamaV
    XOXO

  19. Leah says:

    This is my first time posting here. I have been reading here, with interest, soaking up all that is on this site.

    I am a moderator at a pro-ana site (non-LJ). I want out of it. But I feel I can’t just up and leave the people I’ve grown close to. This is a site that I’ve gone to almost daily for almost 3 years now.

    They say it’s not triggering. They are full of it. It IS triggering. Especially my site, which has gotten more and more hardcore and is attracting people who are very secretive, suspicious, arrogant types of posters.

    Like I said, the site has gotten hardcore, and now the truth starts coming out: purging, cutting, drugs, mental disorders, going into OP and IP, fasting that ends in the inevitable binge.

    I don’t know what to do.

    I really love what you are doing here, mama. I had no idea the damage that was taking place until recently. I was very naive.

    Am I contributing to these people’s destruction?

    I have a lot of hard thinking to do.

    Thanks for all that you do!

    Leah

  20. Cindy says:

    Leah,

    I think that when people go after a body that is unattainable (model), and it truly is, then depression will come with not attaining that perfect body. And along with depression comes a whole host of problems, especially those that you listed.

    I think that you would be doing these girls a service to comment and tell them that you are done, that the destruction is too much for you and they would do well to do the same. Or even send them over to this site so they can see MamaV’s opinion. Its seems to me that because you are moderator they may look up to you, so they will take what you say into consideration. I think you can be helping a whole lot of girls by leaving the ED community. Of course, I would also see what MamaV has to say. But there’s my two cents!

    Good luck girl!

  21. bellz says:

    getting rid of the sites is not going to make everyone magically recovered. just incredibly lonely with no one to talk to. probably people would commit suicide too.

  22. Joey says:

    Leah – i understand your position. I was a mod of the biggest pro-ana site on the web, and it’s so hard to let go when you become so attached.
    If you wanted out – would the forum survive on its own, or would it have to be closed? Would there be any disadvantages of it closing (i know if mine closed suicides would be iminent)?
    Do what’s best for you.

  23. Pingback: Sharing. « Practice Living

  24. AlexaaaA says:

    (don’t misconstrue this with anorexia the mental disease….two distinctly different things, so let’s not rehash this point please).

    So if you starve yourself because you want to look like a model, and this obsession starts to control and comsume you’re life, you’re not mentally sick??

    Im still not agree with this point and every time i see it it makes me angry.

    MamaV, you cant miscontrue Anorexia (no matter why you beggin it with) and the girls Wannabe, most of the wannabe’s ask for advice because they cant resctrict, fast or purge. When you’re Anorexic or Bulimic you just do it the best way you can…you ask for advice, but for way to do it BETTER, or les harmful for you, you dont ask people to teach you how to do it, bacause you alrready know!!

  25. Alexaaa says:

    Thats like saying doing drugs and binge drinking is a disease. Just because some anorexics have a mental disorder doesnt mean they all do. And I think you need to learn what a mental disorder is, because I dont think you even understand it

  26. AlexaaaA says:

    TO WHO IS USING MY NAME TO REPLY.

    Doing drugs IS a disease, you can ask to a psychologist, the adicts are SICK.
    i think YOU should read about mental diseases, not ALL are the same, an dont have the same symptoms… i think you should read about metal disease and adictions.

  27. Kim says:

    mama can we make a plan to get me back in the direction of recovery again. once out of it, it makes it seem like i dont know how to start to get recovery back.

  28. Emily says:

    Sorry to say… but do you not have like.. a real job? You consider it your job to fix the world but the proanorexia community doesn’t necessarily want your help. We support eachother and take care of eachother. Most girls discourage laxatives, purging, and self harm because they know from experience. Hearing them talk about how addicted they are to those things helps people like me stay away from it…. our community isnt made to lure young girls into this lifestyle… if you ask me… any young girl who reads “I’ve purged so much that even if I burp stuff comes up” isnt going to go and purge and would probably be discouraged to avoid EDs on a whole. It just really bugs me that there are people like you out there trying to stop us from supporting eachother… I think more people would commit suicide if they didnt have help and support especially since they had that disposition before they joined the community. You have no idea how many times people are stopped from doing so by a loving member of the community. I think it’s a crime that people like you, who clearly have no idea what its like to have an eating disorder, think you have the right to shove your views on us. Freedom of speech.

  29. Stephanie says:

    I’m now 40 years old. I have struggled with ED’s since I was 10 years old. When I was a teenager, nothing was out there about anorexia and bulimia. (I alternated between the two) When a spiral with diet pills and very low weight landed me in the hospital, counseling at the time in a major city was via group sessions on how to eat. Bulimics, Anorexics and overeaters all lumped together. The psychological issues were not attacked. I’m fortunate today that I am alive but I can tell you that the worst part of the disease is the isolation. Feeling you are alone. Some stupid shit I did that almost killed me – if the ‘net had been around with ana communities, I’d have known the possible effects.

    One of the worst parts of people with true ED’s (as opposed to those that just want to lose the 20 lbs for prom etc) is feeling dirty, alone and that they have something to hide. Knowing you arent alone is one of the first steps to combatting the illness and realizing it for what it is.

    I can understand the potential legal issues but to be frank, this stuff is not going to go away any time soon. I’m sure more lives are saved this way and a bit of joy in otherwise miserable existences come to those who participate in these communities.

  30. Aly says:

    I’d rather be in a community with people who can relate then alone and confused screaming at the top of my lungs and having no one hear me.

    People dont listen they just assume or pretend to listen but dont get it. its nice to have someone who does. not all this groups are entirely about starvation… some do diets and eat healthy but watch their weight or calories … Normal people can do these diets so why arent they criticized… and people who are obese have just as many, if not more, health issues than someone who is skinny so maybe you should create a page to help them thin down some … i wouldnt want to be that statistic either.

  31. Aly says:

    Also… these groups do not always offer help … they dont tell girls how to purge the right way or starve the right way. most groups are just about calories and good workouts … and look it up because fasting for a couple days every now and then is actually healthy for the human body …

    you cant help every one… maybe some will appreciate your help but when you get on them like this they only get more stressed because they might lose the only people who understand them when you shut their friendships down.

  32. Glenn says:

    You’re missing the point. Eating disorders are mental illnesses, defined by the same medical manuals that define everything else (DSM IV). Pro-ana communities are peer support organizations to help each other stay alive until they’re ready for recovery. If you isolate and abandon them (like so many others have), then you are only feeding their depression.
    Now there’s compassion.

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