Thick Skin


I looked forward to posting about the 1 Year Anniversary of the mamaVISION blog. I recorded a warm hearted video, expressed my genuine thanks, only to be whacked upside the head by the the first two individuals who posted. Not exactly the love-fest I envisioned.

Does this bother me? Yes.

Does this hurt my feelings? At times.

You’ve got to be thick skinned to run a blog such as this, wimp out and you’ll be dead in the water. I think we can all learn from this (lord knows I have learned about myself throughout the months of writing here). At moments of frustration, I surely think ‘why the hell do I add this frustration to my life!’

From observing this, I want you girls to evaluate yourself. Could you handle this constant barrage of your opinions, and personality? If the answer is no, let’s start toughening up. This quality will take you far in life, in business, in relationships. Without a core belief in who you are and what you stand for, the world will flatten you- daily.

One can really learn from putting your voice out there for all to comment, criticize (whether constructively or not). I love the Vanessa’s and Josie’s of the world, they are necessary, and they add an element to our debates that would not be thought about if it was not for them taking the time to express themselves. At times, posts say more about the posters rather than me, don’t they?

Free speech- all for it.

Deliberate, random slamming of the blog host – not too keen on this. Why? Because its distracting from the topic.

Point being, let’s try to set a few ground rules:

1) When posting, let’s stick to the topic at hand. Off topic posts distract us all, and I would appreciate this focus.

2) Random rants on me and what a jerk I am should be posted in the aboutMAMA section.

3) Express yourself without this inappropriate language which only serves to distract from the point your are attempting to make.

4) Correcting another person’s grammar is arrogant, and does nothing more than make you look like a snob.

Feel free to suggest other ‘loose’ rules we should put in place.  

Final thought to ponder…the next time you are criticized or you are shy about presenting your feelings for fear you will be unpopular, step back. Think about what it means to speak your mind, remember you are developing your character, and you will be better for it.

The time you spend worrying about what others think about you is time being untrue to yourself.


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65 Responses to Thick Skin

  1. Vanessa says:

    interesting post. i can think of another loose rule: people should refrain from making personal attacks against other commenters when voicing contrasing opinions.

    i suppose i’m quite a sensitive person deep down but i have worked quite hard to develop a thicker skin. it’s quite important for real life, not just blogs, i think.

    now, at the risk of being accused of going off topic i’d like to ask you a question. do you have any loose rules or guidelines that you apply to yourself, for instance, before posting something that might be hurtful, insulting, or offensive to your readers? i think it’s an especially good question in light of what happened on the previous post. see, i actually agree that i was out of line there (for once!) because my comment had nothing to do with the post and was just a random attack against you. normally i wouldn’t do that, and after i had i felt i’d crossed a line. i will try hard not to do so again. however, the reason i did was because i was still feeling insulted and angry over your previous post, and i felt you hadn’t really adressed my concerns.

    now, in that last paragraph what i have done is admit when i’ve done something that crossed the line, and said something to indicate i’d be willing to change. are YOU capable of doing the same? do you feel you’ve ever crossed a line or said something ill-considered? or have all your words been perfect and correct at all times?

  2. chelsea says:

    poor mamav ! ! !

    i appreciate all the things you do for me and all of the other young women out there who are struggling in finding their place in the world today. youre a voice of reason and logic in a world that seems to lack.

    i myself am overcoming an eating disorder, and i find true solice in this site. its refreshing to find a website that isnt promoting americas obsession with weight and being a size zero, as a positive thing. the only time ive ever been put off by your site, was when i related in some way or another, to one of your posts, but was unwilling to take responsibilty for my behavior– it was just so much easier to blame you, and what you had written. i think the things you say act as a mirror for so many ladies out there and sometimes, it can be hard to accept.

    i am really sorry that there are people out there who dont appreciate and realize all of the good you are doing– but thats always how its going to go. there will be those who dont support you and the things you say but, for everyone one of those girls, there are ten more who DO appreciate all youre doing. people are entitled to their opinions but, dont let their opinions keep you from getting the your message(s) out.

    keep on keepin’ on ! ! !

  3. Sass1948 says:

    ur right mamav….iv discussed this in therapy in the past…it does suck keeping shtum

  4. Kim says:

    I liked your one year anniversary story and was happy that you are still continuing with the blog. I agree that people have the right to agree or disagree but I dont think a persons character should be attacked and unfortunately I see that this happens to you alot usually by a select few. This is why I dont go to the forum much anymore and by the very few posts on there lately I wonder if that is why others chose to stay away too. Mamav what you do is a great service to alot of us who need what you have to offer. I feel it is too bad that some who say they dont benefit continue to come if they truly dont feel a benefit. I wish I had thick skin but I am human and what people say does have an impact on me. Mama v, this is a blog, it is your blog. Blogs are opinion based and you are expressing your opinion. I believe if people share your opinions or just have an open mind they will keep coming back. Unfortunately you will also have those oppositional people who like to oppose anything and I only hope they see that what they are doing may have an impact on others. I feel bad that I let what they say here make me stay away from the forum and blog at times especially because I need the inspiration and hope to keep wanting to go on. Sorry this is so long winded, all this is to say, keep up the good work mama v, you made a difference in my life and while that may not be alot I feel you have made a difference in alot of others lives too. Thanks, Kim

  5. Kim says:

    One additional thing, I may not agree with every statement you make but I like that you open my mind to seeing others perspectives in a positive way. You make me think about things I may not have otherwise. Thanks again!!

  6. Josie says:

    One thing which people always get confused on with criticism, is whether a person is criticising the person or their actions. Sometimes we do things which are wrong, and if someone criticises it then it’s not a criticism of you.

    You have to be thick-skinned to write this, and we have to be thick-skinned to read it. Fair i think.

    “Deliberate, random slamming of the blog host – not too keen on this. Why? Because its distracting from the topic.” Yes, though if a commenter wanted to make a comment about the blog as a whole, where should they go?

    The rules sound pretty good, though Vanessa does make a good point that maybe you should have rules too. You say that sometimes comments hurt your feelings, but some of your comments hurt others feelings – that’s how most of the debate has come about.

    “the next time you are criticized or you are shy about presenting your feelings for fear you will be unpopular, step back. Think about what it means to speak your mind, remember you are developing your character, and you will be better for it.”
    I like that. In “real life” i hardly ever talk, and rarely express opinions. When i was a child i simply didn’t talk at all, apart from with a certain few people, like my mum. I bet that seems hard to believe since my online persona is quite controversial and confident, though it shows when i get criticised – i break down completely.

    I’m sorry if any of my comments have hurt your feelings or been innapropriate mamaV. However, i think you should also consider this too, because a lot of your posts both recently (ana_moms for example) and in the past (the post about Kristi) have distressed a lot of people, both your commenters and others, and considering what a vulnerable unstable group that is, it’s concerning. I believe you are a nice person and mean well, but some of your comments and actions overstep what i deem acceptable.

  7. Una says:

    Nobody is perfect and having followed this blog for quite a while, MamaV would never consider herself as such. One important aspect of this blog is being imperfect and being proud of it. Writing articles about different subjects others can comment on, show that you are open to other opinions, curious to get to know varies points of view.
    What I love about this site is the cry for reason in a world where aspecially girls and women get amputated from their instincts (french spelling.I am dyslexic). In lots of the articles I see keys to get a bit closer to a balanced me.
    Thank you Heather.

  8. Eva says:

    Josie did not “whack” you “upside the head.” Her point was valid, as was yours.

    Don’t get me wrong, I find the online pro ana movement extremely offensive. But if you’re going to rag on those that are part of pro ana (as well as those with legitimate eating disorders), well, prepare to be ragged on. Seems fair.

  9. Michelle says:

    It’s about time.. I’m tired of cat fights. I appreciate the rules set forth, I hope that they stay true.

    This is a blog for a reason, the blog hosts writes down what she feels. As a commenter, we should really just comment on how it makes you feel, not how it’s stupid or something that you don’t believe in. MamaV can say what she wants. She has free speech as well. If she believes it is something that is worth while, then she’ll put it on, if it is a pressing issue, whatever. It doesn’t matter.

    Did you catch that?
    If you don’t like something, don’t read it.. but realize that half the posts that the majority of everyone else hated, I loved and it helped me in so many ways to make me the person I am today. But then I read the comments and I am instantly confused as to what I believe in. Should I follow the crowd? Should I not believe in this? Why do feel so strongly for the complete opposite as someone else? Why is there not an explanation to your statement? , etc.

    It’s so sad when a blog host has to create rules for the content of each comment.

    But, if it starts to govern the population and dwindle the comments’ vulgarity? I’m all for it.

  10. Gina says:

    I liked the story.
    Don’t let other people put you down.
    Look at the possitive side.
    There are so many more people who enjoyed that story then one person-etc.
    Keep up the good work.
    I love your blogss =]

  11. sarah says:

    WOW mamaV thanks for calling me a snob. As if calling girls “gross” and telling “ana” mothers to get over themselves is anything but snobby.

  12. AlexaaaA says:

    Im the completly opposite of a Thick skin…so i better step back and say bye.

  13. Shana says:

    as a whole, i think your blog is wonderful, and i’m sure a lot of other people think so too, but s/t’s when it comes to stuff like this, ppl tend to only post when they disagree (as opposed to writing “mamaV – you are right! i agree!) so that’s prolly why certain ppl come across as constantly critical.

    i would just hope, that out of respect for fellow human beings, that people remember that we are discussing topics here, and not each other (therefore making it unnecessary for personal attacks)

    lastly, i admire you for posting this latest thread. it is very honest for you to admit that it’s not fun seeing that a thread you looked forward to posting was met w/ such negativity. (i will admit that sometimes i feel that you come across as tough and untouchable, but it’s only normal that ppl should take into consideration your feelings too)

    i look forward to reading more of your posts and i will try to keep these ‘rules’ in mind for the future.

    thanks =]

  14. Sara says:

    Hey mamaV, don’t let petty drama get you down! You help so many girls everyday and people with way too much time on their hands always saying mean things really aren’t worth your time or energy anyways. You have a big heart and I thank you for everything you do. Why do people who don’t like you/and or the site, still come back again and again and comment on everything you say? Think about it! Silly silly silly

  15. withlovebyli says:

    Without a core belief in who you are and what you stand for, the world will flatten you- daily.

    After years of verbal abuse it’s difficult to even know where to start and how to go about strengthening myself. I used to put on a tough exterior but it wasn’t real or solid and with the ED gone, this barrier came crashing down. I’m left feeling exposed and vulnerable, afraid of criticism, huddled in a corner like prey would against predator.

    I admire the way you handle negative comments on your blog. You stick to your guns, you believe so strongly. I hope some day I’m able to shrug off the hate just like you do and not let them chip at my self-worth. I’m trying to think: be one with the metal, become a shield. 😉 Easier thought than done.



  16. panda07 says:

    Well i hope my comment didn`t upset as it was said in jest mamav,i thought it might raise a smile? Although i don`t agree with a lot of your blog’s,i am old enough to understand other people’s point’s of view and that’s what is great about this blog,the”debate”.

  17. Kelsey says:

    “Not exactly the love-fest I envisioned.” ???

  18. Rachel says:

    Mama, *anybody* writing a blog, especially about such a sensitive subject, *has* to have a thick skin. I give you the utmost respect for what you are doing here, and I again say that you, singlehandedly helped me shake out of my eating issues.

    A few ground guidelines are an excellent idea. An utter anarchy and/or laissez-faire way of doing things is okay, but after awhile, things can get out of hand.

    At this point in my life personally, I’m 25 (in three days!!), and I’m coming to the very realization that the world will flatten me if I don’t have a thick skin. It’s taken a *lot* of hard work and self-evaluation to get to this point, but dammit, I am here on this earth, and I’m going to make an impact. I will not let the world knock me over. I will do the knocking, thankyouverymuch.

    For the ladies who think that they should step back: Well, that’s exactly what MamaV is addressing! Grow some ta-tas and thicking your skin, dammit! There’s nothing inherently wrong with having thin skin, it’s just a quality that people could stand to improve.

    I will continue posting and visiting on this site offering positve, friendly feedback until A.) MamaM decides to stop (cry!! NO!!), B.) I grow tired of it (I can’t imagine why!!), or C.) I die! :-) I enjoy what MamaV has to say, I like the friendly debate. I never, *NEVER* personally attack people. At least, that is never my intention. If I feel like mediating and offering a helpful suggestion, then I will, damn it.

    The ED issue is tough for everybody involved. This blog is a way for people to openly talk about it and try to deal with it, and try to figure out HOW to deal with it. Whether or not we agree or disagree is a mute point. I’ve personally found a lot of credibility in what MamaV says about things.

    But, yeah… It’s a tough issue and needs to be discussed. If it’s that offensive to some people that MamaV is willing to discuss it, regardless of whether or not she’s “correct” about it, then it’s time to grow those ta-ta’s, eh? It’s time to look inside and figure out why it bothers you so much, and what you can do to improve yourself and improve your line of thinking.

  19. Hagar says:

    Hello Mamav…
    I read your post and I decided that I won’t write anything mean to you anymore…
    But just so you know, what I wrote was criticizing your actions, not you yourself.
    I will always be grateful to yoru blog in a way because you helped me and were kind enough to even email me at your own free time…
    I feel ashamed about that post I wrote to you but I am not backing out on it because I still think that it hurt me. Your post I mean, the one about pro ana mothers.
    Bye bye =] Have a good day

  20. Anon says:

    HAGAR!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! shalom! mash la mech?! aphor have you been?! xxxxxxxxx

  21. Kristin says:

    Haven’t posted here in a long time, but now I really have to stand up for myself and my kind.

    I’d go further than ‘there’s nothing inherantly wrong with having thin skin’ – my opinion is that it’s BETTER to be (over?)sensitive, if I had to choose. I’d rather know too well what could be hurtful to people, than spending my time developing skills to survive in the business world, have it all no matter what, think and be like…. let’s face it…. a man.
    Please. The world needs artists, musicians, people like princess Diana. Motherly mamas, with a soft tone of voice.
    I don’t want thick skin, I was born this way and all my family’s starving, crying, exhaustingly over-sensitive artists and children at heart.
    Why would someone want to change me? Then I soo would have to stop being a writer, and I don’t know, start boxing. YAY. More blood…..

  22. Michelle says:

    Woah! Hagar… where did you come from!?! How are you?! :) You should post an update on the forum site! I’ve been wondering where you were!

  23. Jen says:

    Hi, I’ve read a few of your posts and watched two of your blogs and I would love to talk with you in private. I have been anorectic for over a year and would like to share a perspective with you. I also wanted to say that while I believe in freedom of speech, I think morally people know when what they’re saying is just out of spite or anger, and that some things should be kept to themselves. I’m not directing that at you, I’m directing that at people who are posting malicious comments about you as a person, instead of just being respectful and having a civil discussion of disagreements. I think you have the opportunity to help and inform a lot of people, and that you already have. I really would like to talk to you because I have an opinion about my eating disorder that I think might be of interest to you. I look forward to hopefully hearing from you.

  24. apple says:

    As someone who has a real ED, who doesn’t play ana to be *kewl*, I must say not one single post of yours has offended me. Quite on the contrary. Keep it up! <3

  25. echo says:

    I’m glad you have the thick skin to do this. You say a lot of things I think, but I’m just too scared to voice them. I’m too scared of being judged and criticised. Please continue to say what you feel, because for at least one of your readers, many of your posts just voice what she can’t make herself speak up about.

  26. Josie says:

    apple – it’s almost like you’re implying that a person who disagrees with mamaV doesn’t have a real ED. It’s her mocking those with real EDs that is most objectionable of all i feel.

  27. Jen says:

    Josie – most people that disagree with mamaV don’t have a real eating disorder. Not all of them, but most. As someone who is not “pro-ana”, is anorectic, and has been diagnosed with anorexia nervosa, I completely agree with all of mamaV’s posts that I have read. I haven’t read all of them. I have not seen her mock people with ed’s, just the fake ones who are pro-ana.
    If anyone finds it offensive that I don’t believe pro-anas have real eating disorders, I really don’t care, because you’re probably pro-ana yourself, and I am disgusted that you’re making a mockery of a deadly disease that I live with on a day to day basis.

  28. Jen says:

    Also, what I mean by pro-anas are people who think anorexia nervosa is a lifestyle choice. I don’t think that just because a person is part of a pro-ana forum that you don’t have a real eating disorder. I’m just against people who have eating disordered behaviors because they think that’s the cool thing to do.

  29. Josie says:

    Jen – i think we’re in agreement. My problem is that mamaV seems to believe that all members of pro-ana sites are “pro-anas” (lifestyle-choice, not real EDs, etc), and the examples she picks out to mock are of people with real EDs (examples here and here
    And i’m not pro-ana, and neither are a lot of people who object to some of the stuff she says.

  30. Josie says:

    Jen –
    I’m not “pro-ana”, and i’m in agreement with your views on them.
    However, when mamaV mocks someone she percieves to be “pro-ana”, she doesn’t know that they are truly “pro-ana”. A good example is of the ‘Pro-Anorexic Mothers’ post where she quotes a very ill bulimic woman, and then goes on to label it as selfishness and vanity. There are examples like this riddled all through the blog.

  31. Jen says:

    Well she’s right. To be honest, and no eating disordered person likes to hear this, it is our choice to either stay sick or get better. And I think it’s extremely irresponsible to maintain an eating disorder and decide to have children. I know very well that eating disorders are the worst kind of mental illness, but regardless it is a choice we have to make to get better and recover.

  32. Josie says:

    I see your point. Though it could be argued that as it’s a mental illness they’re not psychologically capable of making such a decision themselves, they may have developed their ED or relapsed post-childbirth, or they may be ignorant in believing their ED isn’t going to affect their children.
    It’s a controversial subject. However i believe in that case mamaV was too quick to judge.

    Going back to the original point – that is far from the only incidence where she mocks those with eating disorders who she perceives to be pro-anas.

  33. Jen says:

    Saying someone with an eating disorder is psychologically incapable of making decisions is a far stretch. I know personally that my thoughts are definitely disordered on a number of things because of anorexia nervosa, but I think eventually we’re going to choose life over death by recovering. We have to, our survival instincts will eventually kick in and we will be making a choice to live or die, despite whatever our eating disorder is telling us inside our head. We obviously have a lot of willpower to not eat, so we have enough to make the decision to recover. I think it’s very detrimental to claim we are powerless to this disease (I don’t mean that’s what you’re saying).
    I also want to say that though I say this, my survival instincts have not yet kicked in and I’m going to say that I’m a choosing not to recover because I’m not going to let my decisions be solely chosen by my mental illness.

  34. Jen says:

    By the way, you seem like a genuinely educated person and you have interesting arguments in various posts. I don’t really agree with them, but you make a good case.

  35. Josie says:

    Thanks Jen :)

    It’s only an argument that a person with a mental illness can’t make sensible decisions for themselves, and there’s no way that it can be applied to all people with mental illness. Remember that though we do have some will to survive, some do die, and some do commit suicide. And also if we were completely capable of making sensible decisions then no-one would need to be forced into hospital against their will either. However it is another way of looking at it, and not neccessarily the case for these mothers, but we have to think of the possibilities with an open mind before making snap judgements.

  36. Jen says:

    I’m not saying that the choice to get better can be applied to all people with mental illness. I’m just applying it to people with eating disorders. No one wants to admit that they’re choosing to stay sick, but in the end that’s the truth. Once a person’s decision making skills are seriously altered by starvation (and you have to be a pretty low weight with consideration to height), then I can see making the point that they’re incapable of making a choice. But, correct me if I’m wrong, the people mamaV is talking about are not at such a low weight that their decision making skills would be that seriously affected. You could make the point that people don’t have to be skeletal to have their decision making skills rendered disordered, and I partly agree. But I don’t believe that a person’s mind is really that affected by starvation, unless they’ve either not regularly eaten for a long time or they’re at a pretty low weight. I myself am proof of that, I have not eaten regularly for over a year and my mind is still (mostly) in tact.

  37. Josie says:

    I wouldn’t say that weight is a good indicator of someones rationality (though i’d agree that more starving = more irrationality). Like would you say that bulimics (considering they rarely reach emaciation) are more ‘sane’ than anorexics?
    Also, most people with EDs have multiple mental health issues, not just their ED. I’ve attempted suicide before, so could that be called an irrational decision?
    I don’t really think eating disorders can be categorised as being more sane than other mental illnesses, just because your experience meant you’ve not been that irrational.
    I remember right back when i was sick i was completely convinced that getting help was pointless and that i’d be sick forever, and didn’t actually believe in the concept of ‘recovery’. And if i had had children, i doubt my thinking would have been too different.

  38. Kim says:

    thanks mama v!! I wish people would just treat others as they would like those same people to treat them. People want respect from you but I dont think you get it as often as you give it. Thanks for giving so much of yourself for us even though we dont always let you know how much it means – haha, we wouldnt keep coming back if we didnt like what you had to say!!!

  39. Jen says:

    I have multiple mental illnesses, and I’m not saying that eating disorders are more sane, I’m saying that we have more control over them. I guess I should just say anorexia nervosa because I’m not bulimic. Anorexia nervosa is all about control. Controlling what you’re eating and not eating. So what I’m saying is if we have the control to not eat, which I will admit is really hard, then we should be able to have the control to stop our behaviors and get better. I think you have a good argument, but honestly, none of us can deny that all of this is a choice that we’re making. Whether anyone is willing to take responsibility for that is up to them.

  40. Jen says:

    I’m just tired of people victimizing themselves, like saying “I’m a victim of anorexia nervosa or bulimia nervosa” or whatever. It’s our own choice, we’re not victims, we’re doing this to ourselves. I think if more eating disordered individuals understood that then it stop all this victimizing bullshit. That’s why I agree with what mamaV says about pro-ana mothers. I don’t think it’s so much a big deal if you have an eating disorder and you’re able to hide it, but it’s so different when a mother is actually pro-ana in the sense that they encourage disordered eating habits and are instilling that crap to their children. It’s horrible. I wouldn’t wish this disease or it’s habits on anyone, not even my worst enemy. But their own children? That is so sick whether you’re eating disordered or not.

  41. Jen says:

    *Correction on sentence three: I think if more eating disordered individuals understood that then it would stop all this vicitimizing bullshit.
    Also, I don’t mean to sound angry. I’m not angry at you, I’m angry at the reality of the situation.

  42. panda07 says:

    There is Pro ana.Then there is Pro support!! MamaV can not or will not see the difference.Either that or she just can not admit when she is wrong.It’s great to have strong thought’s and feeling’s about something,i work at an animal rescue center and of course have strong view’s on animal wellfair.I can make the distinction between the pet owner bringing in his pet as he can no longer cope and the “pet owner” who abandon’s their “pet” in a shed.Why can’t MamaV see the distinction between Pro ana and Pro support,Hold her hand’s up and say “ok i have it worng” ? I can,we all can,can’t we,say when we have got something wrong, then why not mama? You know it is frighting when someone can never say or see when they are wrong. Is it ego,i wonder, or what i call the george W bush syndrom.If it’s the latter all i can say is why waste our time? Under no sercumstance will she ever admit she has misinterpreted anything.She will always be right.In her head i really do believe she is never wrong.Her poor children,imagine having a mammy who think’s they are always right no matter what they say*shakes head* well god help us all.Nothing we say will ever be taken as a good point,most deffinatley if we dissagre,god forbid with the ALWAYS right and mighty MamaV.

    PS: I am sorry if there are some typos.As i have said before i am a treated dyslexic,but there is no spell check i try my hardest but will make mistakes :o)

  43. Anon says:

    panada07 i completely agree with you!!! my nan is one of those people who always thinks she right. Seriously me and her get in a major arguments over things but i do love her to bits and cant imagine my life without her. but thank g-d i dont live her!!!!! i couldnt do it.

    also dont worry about typos. we all have them!!!! im forever doing them. When i had to do my personal statement for uni the teacher who looked it over was shocked at the amount of typos (and we had spellcheck! hee hee) xxxxxxxx

  44. Josie says:

    panda07 – i agree.

    Jen – i think all mental illnesses are a combination of being ‘a victim’ and being responsible, and i’m not sure anyone knows where the line is drawn, not even professionals. Like, you can’t get over ANY mental illness unless you put effort in.
    If you imagine that someone were to put a big plate of greasy food in front of you. What’s stopping you eating it? If i think back i would be completely terrified. It wouldn’t be willpower stopping me from eating the food, it would be fear. I have very little willpower. Like if i were to ever go on a diet i’d fail within days!!!

  45. Jen says:

    Well being a victim is just not taking responsibility for your choices, and if you think you are a victim, that’s disappointing.
    If someone is pro-support, then they shouldn’t call themselves pro-ana. There’s a big difference between the two. MamaV isn’t talking about pro-support people, she’s talking about pro-anas.

  46. Vanessa says:

    mamaV seems to deliberately confuse pro-support, pro-ana, and people with eating disorders to suit her purposes at any given time. whoever she’s found that she doesn’t like or who she wanrs to use as an example in her blog is automatically labelled “pro-ana.” then people defend her by saying she is only criticising “pro-ana”.

    meanwhile, anyone she remotely likes or respects (like me, myself, and i) she labels “not really pro-ana” or “pro-support”. but in reality there is often no reason to consider the people she rails against any more pro ana than, say, myself.

    so to use myself as the example of this, i said to her in a comment once (and i paraphrase myself) “i have an ed, i’m not in recovery, and i’m a moderator of a pro-support forum that doesn’t consider eds a lifestyle, but is definitely not pro-recovery. am i evil?” and she says (again, paraphrase) “oh, you aren’t the type of bad pro-ana i call evil, souless influencers out to lead innocent children into a life of self-starvation.”

    but someone else who mamaV didn’t personally know who was in my same position? well, it is obvious judging from her posts about so-called pro-anas, particularly the recent one on so-called pro-ana moms ( btw i believe the name of their group was ana moms, and didn’t mention “pro” at all) she would probably consider someone in my exact position whom she didn’t know personally to be one of the worst people on the planet.

    why? well, i think that in her posts she deliberately looks to cause controversy with shocking or outrageous or over-stated claims, in order to get herself more attention. wheras in her more personal interactions she comes off as compassionate and able to see shades of grey.

    which mamaV is the real mamaV? obviously she isn’t interested in answering the question i posted in my first comment about what rules, if any, she has for herself. so we may never know

  47. Jen says:

    I think everyone else wants to make mamaV seems like she’s attacking pro-support and eating disordered individuals along with pro-ana people. I haven’t read all her blogs, but I haven’t seen her once be critical of someone just because they have an ED. Of course she’s going to be against mothers who have eating disorders, because they’re likely influencing their children to have eating disordered habits. That’s exactly why I have chosen to not have children as long as I am anorectic. We all need to make the decision to recover if we are going to have children. It’s sick to pass our behaviors onto other people, especially our own flesh and blood. It’s just a lot of us aren’t willing to take responsibility for the choices we’re making.

  48. Josie says:

    Vanessa – “oh, you aren’t the type of bad pro-ana i call evil, souless influencers out to lead innocent children into a life of self-starvation.”…. i wonder if there ARE any such people in the world??!! Part of the appeal of pro-ana sites to the media (and i guess mamaV) is this fanciful idea that there’s a new type of child-abuser online who preys on little girls telling them they’re fat and teaching them to ‘become anorexic’, causing millions of sites online. But no, it’s just anorexia, in a new difficult-to-understand form.

    Jen – i feel like a partial-victim. I didn’t choose an ED, so therefore in that sense i’m a victim. But then i am ‘recovered’ so that proves that there is an element of personal responsibility, and a person can’t recover unless they put effort in.
    But at the same time, many people fail at recovery because their illness overrides their willpower to recover, so in that sense those with anorexia are victims.
    You see what i mean? It’s not as simple as victim vs responsibility, there’s massive shades of grey which almost everyone falls into.

  49. Kim says:

    as i am reading what everyone has written, part of me wants to yell. Grow up, stop nickpicking, take what you want, leave the rest… we all have choices everyday. believe it or not, we do. i am an anorexic yet i do have the choice to eat or not eat everyday, i have the choice to get out of bed or stay in bed. i have a choice to go to work or not go. we also have rewards or consequences for our choices and actions. so, exercise your choice… if you are not happy where you are, do something about it. if you dont like mama v’s opinions state your opinion and move on. you have choices, we all do. now hopefully we can make more wise ones and be happy then ones that get us nowhere and alone. the choice is ours…

  50. Kim says:

    also, with regards to victim vs. responsibility that is a good discussion. as a child i was abused. i didnt have a choice in that but i had a choice to tell or not (i didnt-hindsight, eh). i feel in a way i did choice anorexia not necessarily consciously but i did choice to live rather then commit suicide and because i felt i had no other options at the time i used food (in my case restricting food) to “cope”. i could have choice alcohol, drugs, abusing someone else, but i chose to not eat. i did not know then what that choice would do to my quality of life or the choices i would make after that initial choice. the choice is always ours even if we dont want to admit it. i could go to therapy, i could go inpatient, i could swallow pills, put a gun to my head, i could do nothing but i do have a choice. i am not saying i am doing or going to choice the right thing myself, but we really do have choices and we are effected by the choices (good or bad) that we make.

  51. Kim says:

    sorry rereading i see i said choice when i should have used chosen.

  52. Jen says:

    Sorry, but everyone chooses an ED. Whether it’s intentional or not it’s a choice. To say you’re a victim is giving power to your ED, not to yourself. That’s the choice that you’re making, whether you want to admit it or not. I don’t expect any eating disordered individuals to agree with me because no one wants to admit this is a choice they’re making. Kim made a good point basically saying that though it’s hard to control whether we’re making a good choice or a bad one, we’re still making one.
    Also, recovery never means that you are actually recovered. I’ve been in “recovery” before, I gained 10 pounds and I was actually ok with that for a while, but then I made the choice to revert back to my disordered eating habits (or lack of eating, I guess) and I’m choosing not to recover. I’m not trying to convince anyone to recover, because I understand how extremely hard that is, I just want everyone to be honest with themselves and admit that they’re choosing this, that they’re only victims of themselves.

  53. Jen says:

    Actually, I’m not even going to say victims of themselves, because we’re not victims at all. We are making ourselves this way. Please, everyone, just take responsibility and be completely honest with yourselves!

  54. Vanessa says:

    i think the question of responsibility vis a vis mental illness is an interesting one. certainly i believe in personal responsibility to some extent- mental illness should not be an excuse for bad behavior. as for having kids, i’ve made a choice never to have children because of my mental illness- but if my mom had made the same choice i wouldn’t have been born, and on balance i’m glad i was. i simply do not believe it is my place to tell anyone they should or shouldn’t be having children.

    so, for about a million reasons judging moms with eds is something i’m not comfortable with.

    also, the question of whether people with eds can choose to stop their behaviors/enter recovery isn’t always so black and white in real life. sometimes it’s easier to say “oh, i’m choosing not to recover” than to admit to yourself how little control you really do have over your mental illness. and some of us have honestly and sincerely tried to recover multiple times and ended in failure.

    as for those “influencers” as mamaV calls them, those evil pro-anas out to corrupt the nations children- maybe they exist. i’ve never actually met one, and i’ve been around the edges of proana since like, 2003. but you can’t convince me that mamaV doesn’t just conveniently assume anyone who happens to be on the recieving side of her ire is one of these mythical creatures with no evidence whatsoever.

  55. Jen says:

    You can say to some ED individuals, that they’re saying they’re choosing not to recover so they’re not admitting they don’t have control over their ED, but not me. The reality is I’m being honest with myself and most of you all aren’t. You don’t want to admit that this is your choice, you want to play the victim. Then everyone will feel sorry for you and you’ll get all this attention and you have an excuse to maintain your eating disordered behaviors. I don’t blame anyone for wanting to call themselves a victim, but I also realize that they want to lie to themselves. Your ED wants you to believe you’re the victim. That’s how most ED’s thrive, because none of us are strong enough to take responsibility for our choices and actions. So say what you want, the truth is this is a choice you’re making. Don’t lie to yourselves any longer.

  56. Vanessa says:

    that’s absolutely true of some people, jen, although i think you are putting it in a bit of an insulting way. are you angry at people with eds? self-hatred directed outward, perhaps?

    in my case, my ed exists regardless of what i do. i have a choice about how much effort i put into mitigating the effects of my ed. if i put a lot of effort in, i have no physical or behavioral symptoms but the mental symptoms and possibility of relapse at any time remain. if i put less effort in, or no effort, then the ed takes over. so, clearly i have a part in things. i call recognizing my part in things taking responsibility. but to say that people choose to have an ed or choose to stay sick is simplistic and insulting.

  57. Josie says:

    I’m with you Vanessa. Your second paragraph of your last post is right.

    If someone chooses to starve, chooses to binge, chooses to purge, etc, completely and utterly consciously, then i’d say that’s not an ED, not a mental illness. 1 in 4 teenage girls CHOOSE to use ED behaviours to control their weight, but 1 in 4 teenage girls do not have eating disorders.

    I find it insulting that someone would suggest that an ED is simply a choice, and find it insulting that someone would suggest they are completely incapable of fighting their ED.
    And there’s no attention or whatever to be gotten from an ED, well, not most EDs anyway. Maybe some do starve themselves for attention, and many ‘normal’ people believe it’s a choice to have an ED, so you just get constant criticism and feel ashamed. That’s how it felt for me anyway.
    It’s not black and white. We’re also all different, and would all fall into different places on the victim/choice scale.
    If it was a complete choice then would people die of their EDs? Would anyone choose to binge-eat or take ipecac or whatever, even though it feels like absolute hell?

    I’m like Vanessa in that a few months ago if i had been lazy and put no effort in then i would be barely eating and really deep in my ED. With effort i would eat, and it would be really difficult. It took massive amounts of effort to recover, and i’d say that recovery is real. If i relapsed i doubt it would be a conscious choice to go back to those behaviours. I’ve had blips where i’ve nearly thrown up with fear going into the canteen for lunch – but that’s not a choice to go back to ED behaviours.

  58. Jen says:

    Well if you want to remain in denial, that’s your choice. You guys make good arguments, I’m not here to fight you, I’m just stating my opinions like I have a right too. I don’t think that because I’m admitting it’s a choice to not recover that I don’t have a real ED. I understand the addiction and I know how it is to have a voice in my head constantly telling me to lose weight and not to eat, and that it’s really hard to overcome. But I’m not going to play the victim, and that’s my choice.

  59. Josie says:

    We’ll agree to disagree then :)

  60. Lily says:

    Hi vanessa,

    I want to know who the real mamaV is too-what does she really think, is it all about creating controversy?is she confused about the whole thing or is she unsure? I’m unsure- i think most of the problem here is misunderstanding of terms and its only been made worse by attempts to pigeon-hole ppl into boxes ‘pro-ana’ ‘mental illness’ ‘wanarexic’.etc. Surely very few of us can fit into such neat categories, human behaviour and motivations are not black or white, as Josie says, there are many shades of gray.

    I wish the blog would reach abit deeper than thin is bad, eating disorders are bad, ppl who are on pro-ana are bad. Real life ain’t like this!! Behind any eating disordered behaviour are a million reasons for it- people are damn complicated.

    Lily xxx

  61. Jen says:

    I just wanted to back up my opinion a little bit more with some facts.

    A theistic inpatient treatment approach for eating-disorder patients: A case report. Hardman, Randy K.; Berrett, Michael E.; Richards, P. Scott; In: Casebook for a spiritual strategy in counseling and psychotherapy. Richards, P. Scott; Bergin, Allen E.; Washington, DC, US: American Psychological Association, 2004. pp. 55-73

    The following is Phase Two of CFC’s (a private inpatient care facility for women with eating disorders) four phase treatment program:

    The patient takes responsibility and ownership for her eating disorder and other difficulties; learns to take responsibility for her recovery; and regains a sense of choice, power, control, and hope.

    Now, I’m certainly not on the road to recovery personally, but I am willing to take responsibility and ownership for my eating disorder. While I find it disappointing that a lot of ED individuals aren’t willing to do the same, I understand why. It’s extremely difficult and it’s admitting that these negative behaviors are your own decision.
    I’m not angry with people with ED’s, that’s a pretty rediculous statement to make considering I myself have been diagnosed with anorexia nervosa. It’s just frustrating that no one wants to take responsibility for their actions, and I apologize if I sound angry, I don’t mean to, I’m just very passionate about this topic.

  62. Josie says:

    Jen – the only way a person could get better is to take responsibility. It only goes away with effort, it doesn’t tend to dissapear on its own.
    I’m still standing by it not being black-and-white, though i agree with your points. It’s definitely a combination of choice and being a ‘victim’, not just one side.

    Lily – very well said :)

  63. Jen says:

    We are just going to have to agree to disagree because we’re not victims at all.

  64. I have always thought how cowardice web comments can be. People say things on the web that they would NEVER say to someone in person. I have read, however, that the trend is getting nicer. I certainly hope so. I simply can’t stand some of the comments on YouTube and I really hate how everything has become political. There could be a video of a grasshopper on Youtube and people will turn it into Republicans vs. Democrats. Don’t know how, but they do.

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