Cult of Personality


 My friend and critical thinker Vanessa brought up this great topic a while back, and I needed some time to ponder it.

Is mamaVISION a Cult of Personality?

Damn, I hope so. I always wanted to be famous. Come to think of it, the blog really took off after I posted this amazing image.


(mamav, aka “shades,” a legend in her own mind).

But seriously, let’s take a look at the (edited) definition of Cult of Personality from Wikipedia” :

A cult of personality or personality cult arises when a country’s leader uses mass media to create a larger-than-life public image through unquestioning flattery and praise. A cult of personality is similar to general hero worship. However, the term cult of personality is often applied by analogy to refer to adulation of non-political leaders; an argument could easily be made, however, that the only notable differences to be found between the terms “hero worship,” “cult of personality,” or even, more simply, excessive admiration are largely in the context of the person making the accusation.

Here’s where I stand; We all need a leader.

I happen to be a solid one, with the right background, knowledge, and incredibly charming personality to lead our collective cause. Mass media needs to be utilized to deliver my message otherwise my mission will not be successful. I welcome differing ideas and admit to fault regularly so I think we are in good shape.

To reiterate the mission to 1) support young women with EDs 2) be a voice of reason for those desiring to be a model or to choose to live an anorexic lifestyle 3) educate parents on pro ana and how their own beauty/body image can/may play a role in their daughters desires.

Does anyone else care to volunteer for this position?

I didn’t think so. Those who choose to criticize generally sit at the sidelines, spewing  self righteous propaganda, because they don’t have the guts to get off their butt and pour the kind of passion, time, and energy I am into creating change for this community.

My message to critics is to ZIP IT…. unless you want to join me and actually HELP by taking action, and volunteering your blood, sweat and tears.

Vanessa also brought up another interesting point: By publicizing the Pro Ana culture I am only serving to fuel it.  Resulting in the exact opposite result I am attemping to accomplish.

Hmmm…I’d like to hear what you have to say about this. Oh, yeah, I am a dictator, I forgot. Shut up, I don’t care what you think my faithful followers.

Your Master Mamav

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17 Responses to Cult of Personality

  1. Emily says:

    hah! Well wouldn’t it be something if girls started “following” mamav, thereby possibly increasing self-esteem, stopping pro-ana behavior or making small positive steps toward a healthier life?
    I bow to you, Master.

    …seriously. There are a lot worse things out there for people to succumb to on the internet. THIS is a step in the right direction and I applaud MamaV for all her hard work and dedication toward the cause.

  2. Imogen says:

    amen to that!

  3. Sass1948 says:

    yey go mamav! 😉

  4. Vanessa says:

    first off- i laughed a bunch at this post. way to go, shades!

    i am completely willing to concede the cult of personality claim. let’s just call it hero worship instead, shall we? that said, i still think its important for women and girls with eating disorders (and without) to develop their own voices. which means i still have reservations about the way some people react to you. and i think we may have a philisophical disagreement about how much people really “need” leaders.

    that said, i think you are completely awesome in the way you encourage debate and opposing viewpoints. i had more than a couple college professors who didn’t do nearly as well. (in their defense- they had me for a student. poor things.) so well done you on that.

    but the most important thing, and the thing i’m waiting to hear your readers comments on, is this question of whether any additional publicity to proana will do more harm than good. i’m not going to expand on this because i’m really hoping to hear other people’s views.

    as far as i go, if someone could convince me that you won’t do more harm than good i’d be there with as much of my blood, sweat, and tears as you like.

  5. -Jen- says:

    Hey Shades! Hope all is well in dictator land. Just letting you know that I think I may have almost peed my pants when I read this post!

    Rock it out, MasterV.

  6. Nats says:

    Ok ill just volunteer for the job!! I have no problem doing that!!

    I am happy and proud to say that I am infact a mamaV follower and noone will tell me anything to change this!

    I bow to my leader and follow her wherever she may take us

  7. Nats says:

    Oh and I defo have my own voice V! (Hope you don’t mindme calling you this, its easier lol) and one day when I fnally meet everyone including yourself if you are up for it?! Ill glady show just how loud and proud I can be lol

  8. Danielle says:

    I’m very put off by this. That’s all I’ll say.

  9. Karrie says:

    From the way I look at it, it might be a matter of how the pro-ana community reacts. The way they retaliate, the way they react might have a lasting impact on what people perceive them to be – and for all you know, it could be “negative” AKA promoting eating disorders even more.

    I’ve never been pro-ED and never will. My ED has destroyed me on so many levels, it pains me to think how people can willingly support a cause that kills.

    In my opinion, I think you’re very brave, MamaV. I support you – we need more voices like you.

    I don’t know if you’ve read this book, but I do recommend ‘Perfect Girls, Starving Daughters’ by Courtney E. Martin. I’m in the 3rd chapter and quite a number of things written has really hit me because there’s so many things I can relate to.

  10. Jane says:

    You just brightened my very dull day!! I laughed pretty damned hard!
    I don’t believe that I look to you as a dictator or a hero, I did at one point, I admit, but now I see you as a human being with your own life, who cares. I look up to you as I would to my mother, or to anyone I believed to have some insight into things, as someone who loves and cares about people. I see you as a woman who has a dream and is willing to fight for it. I respect and admire your qualities and your spirit and dedication… but I would never follow wherever the wind blows… I am my own person as I am starting to realise, and there are things I have to do on my own, and there are beliefs that we don’t share.

    Loves ya x x x

  11. Vanessa says:

    ok, it doesn’t seem that many people have weighed in on my big question yet, but i’m gonna go ahead and post some of the questions i think you should be thinking over.

    how well known is pro-ana in the general public right now?

    how well known is pro-ana in middle schools and high schools right now?

    how well known is pro-ana among people with eating disorders right now?

    how many people have found pro-ana due to (negative) media attention thus far?

    now, my guesses to the answers for those questions are that its not well known among members of the general public or teens, and that it’s only slightly better known among eating disorder sufferers, and that a moderate percentage of people (not a tiny minority, but far from a majority) in the pro-ana community originally heard about it in the media. but if, for instance, pro-ana is waaaay better known among teenage girls then i think it is then it would change things a lot. what are your guesses as to the answers to those questions? would finding out that the answers to the questions are different from what you think change your mind in any way as to your impact if you get more media attention to your message?

  12. Josie says:

    Vanessa – i’d actually disagree to your estimates – i think pro-ana is very well-known actually. It was mentioned briefly in a class in college last week, and noone seemed to not know what was being talked about. My sister and all her friends know what it is, and they all did work about it at school (a lot of pro-ana visitors come from that actually).
    It gets mentioned in the media continuously, and i’d be prepared to bet that’s how people stumbled across it.

  13. Vanessa says:

    josie- thanks for your view on this! it does change my thinking a bit if pro-ana is already much better known than i’d thought. last time i was in treatment for ed only one other girl had even heard of proana- but it’s been a while since i was last in treatment. if young teenage girls in middle and high school have already heard of it, then the cat may be out of the bag and mamaV won’t be able to do much more harm.

    i must say, i’ve seen stories in the news about twice, but it hardly seems to be talked about often. and i was under the impression that most people in the world had never heard of it. wish there was a way to know for sure- i mean, for one thing the students in your class could have pretended to know what was being discussed. also they’re the right age and socio-economic status to know about things like internet trends.

    i still think media attention will bring in more people than it dissuades… but as i said if the cat is out of the bag already (especially in the most at risk populations) then it changes the equation some.

  14. KH says:

    Joke or not, I’m going to agree with Danielle that this (as well as your general condescending attitude toward your target audience of “wannarexics” – a term that, by the way, has no clinical validity – and toward people with eating disorders) is fairly disturbing.

  15. Vanessa says:

    mamaV: i honestly think your readers didn’t give enough attention to this publicity issue, and i’d like to hear more from you on it. honestly, how would you feel if you made the problem worse? although in reality if pro-ana happened to grow stronger at the same time as you grew in strength you probably wouldn’t recognize a causal relationship- no one could say for sure it wasn’t already growing or that you specifically had made it worse.

    in my opinion attention is like food and water to the pro-ana movement. period. denying it publicity and trying to work from within will be more effective than helping it to reach more people than it already has.

  16. Lydia says:

    I really love you for doing this because I think beauty is a question of what kind of pictures you’re used to call normal. When I watch tv ads I kinda feel too fat and stuff. but no, you tell me these model-types aren’t normal and it’s so good to hear. every time someone says it. I think somewhen even I will get it. thank you.

  17. Jen says:

    I actually found this site when I was researching the pro-ana movement. I thought that was really random. I don’t think that you’re bringing more attention to pro-ana forums then what’s already out there. I know people who don’t know what pro-ana means and I know people who do. It’s 50/50. I do think bringing attention to them will probably make people look into them and then trigger them into developing eating disordered behaviors, but I also think you’re a voice of reason and that you deter people from continuing their disordered eating habits. I’m on the fence with this one, but I think this site will ultimately do more good than harm.

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