While watching Hart van Nederland (I’m sorry, I know I shouldn’t…;-) I saw a news item on girls who motivate each other to practice a pro-anorexia lifestyle. At first i thought it was one of those blown up techno fear stories, but to my surprise it wasn’t. There are many so called pro-ana weblogs where girls (and sometimes boys) discuss their life as a pro anorexic. Here are a some links to dutch pro-ana websites:
http://www.wanttobethin.web-log.nl/This is an American pro-ana website:
http://www.pro-ana-nation.com/ (note the many warning pop-ups)
On http://tearsicried.web-log.nl/tearsicried/2006/01/proana.html a ex-pro-ana tells her story.
A couple of anti pro-ana websites
The NRC (a dutch newspaper), 2 september 2006:
(this is a free translation. Please go to the original source and learn Dutch if you want to read the original article…)
“In the USA pro-ana websites are forbidden and in 2001 Yahoo! cut off dozens of pro-ana websites. Albert Benschop, a researcher with the University of Amsterdam, explains that it’s almost impossible to keep pro-ana sites from appearing. “The sites are moved and sometimes go “underground”.” According to Benschop, stopping the movement is impossible. He thinks the websites are an opportinity for health organisations. “The girls are visible, you can make contact with them. You should immerse yourself into the network and show them other information on anorexia.” Webprovider punt.nl released a statement saying prohibiting pro-ana websites would be a denial of the problem: “You deny the problem and it moves to different place.” Psychiatrist Van Elburg thinks this is not good idea. She’s affraid the pro-ana websites create new victims. “Girls on a diet will be given the wrong idea. Ex-patients may fall back to their old habits.”
As it turns out pro-ana websites and blogs have been a hot topic in the U.S for a couple of years now while it only recently has popped up in dutch mass media coverage. I believe it’s a very interesting topic and it should be thoroughly researched from a New Media Studies point of view. Therefore I will make it the subject for my MA thesis. I will keep you posted on this blog and please visit my personal blog if you want to know more about my research or if you want to comment and add some of your wisdom.