Essay Pro-Ana Websites - Online Communities for Anorexics

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Pro-Ana Websites - Online Communities for Anorexics

“Say it now and say it loud: I'm anorexic and I'm proud.”

This is a rallying cry that some women suffering from anorexia, otherwise known as “pro-anas,” post to one another over the Internet. Pro-Ana, meaning pro-anorexia, is an Internet community of anorexics who have no desire to recover; rather they want to live their lives being “the best anorexic they can be.” Pro-ana websites are rapidly evolving to promote eating disorders as a lifestyle rather than a life threatening disease.

According to the National Eating Disorder Association (NEDA), about 10 million American females suffer from anorexia each year. Up to 10 percent of these females will die from the disease and only 60 percent will recover.

Anorexia is a disorder where a person deprives their body of food to abstain the fear of becoming fat, leading to excessive and unhealthy weight loss. Anorexia not only produces weight loss but many internal problems such as hair loss, fatigue, weakness osteoporosis, amenorrhea (the loss of menstrual periods) and can even cause heart attacks.

“People are too obsessed with weight,” said Northeastern graduate, Michelle Graffeo, 22, of Boca Raton, Fla. “The people who are going on a diet are getting younger and younger.”

Female college students make up the most common age group of anorexics. Living away at college gives young women the freedom to make their own choices, even ones that are life-threatening. The first year of college is difficult for many students and it is hard for some to adjust to the new changes in their lives. For some girls, anorexia is the answer and if they already have anorexia, it becomes for severe when they get to college. They are occupi...

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...ter's administrative assistant, Charity S., 29 of Seattle. “We provide one on one counseling and let the patients recover at their own pace. We provide the emotional, physical, nutritional and spiritual needs that these patients require.”

Although pro-ana websites have been banned from Yahoo, the majority of the sites have gone underground, switching around their web addresses and going under different names, making the elimination of these pro-ana sites unsuccessful.

“Although they are often used to try and keep sufferers ill, the sites in themselves seem unlikely to draw anyone onto the illness alone,” Paterson said. “Someone with a healthy body image or well defined self esteem will not be attracted by the imagery on these sites, just horrified. But it's a good thing that the sites have gone underground. It makes them that much harder for people to find.”

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