I am saddened and amazed that no matter what I write about, my web statistics on this blog and my collective body image blog WeAreTheRealDeal.com show that the Number #1 search term is…..
And variations of Pro Ana as you can see below. WTF? (Of course the beloved Nicole still pops up).
So, since this tells me many proana girls are here, let’s have a chat. It’s been awhile.
For those of you that are new, like those I connected with on Twitter recently, here’s the brief history about this blog 2006-present:
–Started this blog to talk about how shitty the modeling industry is, and try to knock some sense into the girls chasing the proana dream.
-Got really, really pissed off over ANTM show, and blew my stack on my first youtube video (most asked question about my vlogs? Why am I in my car? Here’s the answer for the curious).
-Proceeded to stalk emerse myself in the proana online culture to really, really get a true sense of what was happening “out there.” News articles either skimmed the surface or exploited the whole trend, so I wanted to dig in.
-My plan was to educate parents, but the blog itself dictated its path (those of you who are bloggers will understand this, blogs are best when you let them go the way the wind blows). But I found the site community was mostly girls and young women. Hmm…. I thought. I’ve tapped into something here.
-With that revelation, I instead focused on trying to be a voice of reason for pro ana girls (and women, moms, TV anchors, teachers …….yes I have been contacted by ALL of the above either for advice, or for requests to pull their picture off my site before they lose their job.
-Plus, I figure; why go after the parents to educate when you are all old enough and smart enough to figure out if you want to live a real life, or go down in proana flames of hell. Right?
-I got fired up, continually wrote posts based on my observation, and to date these two posts get the most traffic (again, not in my plan but reality bites);
This post is read obsessvely, obviously because I posted a bunch of public pictures from ProAna websites and everyone freaked (no I never, ever trolled or faked to be a member to grab images — these were on the public web, unmoderated, and free for the taking).
The lesson? This is the world wide web kids — you take a picture of yourself in your undies in your bathroom, slap it online for your proana friends to stroke your self-confidence, and BAM–next thing you know some whack job mom blogger has it splashed all over the place).
Before Twitter, and still today I guess, Pro Ana Live Journal was the place to be if you wanted to talk about your crisis over eating half an Oreo and three extra celery sticks. PALJ have had all sorts of mods over the years, some completely out of their minds, others teaching the CR lifestyle, and a few with actual good intentions of being a source of “help” for those with anorexia.
But at the end of the day, this shit kills.
- Image Credit: http://thekristiproject.webs.com/
Enter Kristi Lanford. A moderator who decided to document the end of her life online. Scary part was and is, many of us watched it happen — live. I never, ever want to experience something like this again. I hope you will read the last moments of her life here, perhaps Kristi will now save a few lives by taking her own. As you will read, Kristi was depressed, drinking, pill popping, and watching Skinny Celebrities as she went off to hopefully a new better place. An online memorial for Kristi was created by her friend “K” and can be viewed here. In K’s words, here is how Kristi’s passing impacted her;
On January 27th, 2007, Kristi took her own life, choosing to document the final moments of her life. There was shock, followed by sadness, followed by anger, followed by guilt, followed by emotions that I never wanted to feel; emotions that I didn’t know existed. There were moments where I beat myself up for not signing online sooner, not calling her just to check up on her, not doing something that could have saved her life. I, like so many others, regret not reaching out to help her more. It takes time to let those feelings go, it takes time to let the death of someone that you love so much go.
So there you have it – Pro Ana, the lifestyle!*
Somehow, somewhere, I became the resident expert on proanorexia as it pertains to the internet usage, history, sites, language, etc. I’ll take that title. At least I know that while I post triggering thinspo — I also have got you where I want you, and that is listening to one voice — at least one voice that may in fact instead “trigger” your common sense.
My hope is that it saves your life.
*Kristi’s friends have been adamant that she was not “pro ana.” I have a different opinion on where Kristi was in her head, mostly based upon the way she died, so I wanted to point out this important detail out of respect for K and her other friends.