|Thinspiration finds a loyal community online|
|Written by Renee Changnon, Daily Vidette Columnist|
|Wednesday, 18 April 2012 16:11|
“Mirror, mirror, on the wall, who’s the fairest of them all?”
This may be a quote from a beloved Disney movie, but among young people, seeking to attain physical perfection has led young women and even men down an ugly path. Online sites may be a great community builder for positive things, but it has also created a home for a “Thinspiration” community that encourages negative body image and anorexia among members.
According to an article in Forbes, “thinspo” is a pro-anorexic community where members “gather to share ‘skin and bones’ photos, self-harm messages, and dangerous dieting tips.”
The article explained that while both Tumblr and Pinterest have taken a stand to try to ban these pages, the community has moved and found new ground on Instagram, where their community guidelines have yet to be altered based on the groups’ unhealthy messages.
As someone who is a member of several different social media websites, including both Tumblr and Pinterest, I can say that the messages that are continually being recycled are those that reiterate the fact that the body we have is not good enough and that food can ruin your chances of ever attaining beauty.
While sites like Tumblr and Pinterest are taking a stand and seeking to ban these communities from their pages, they have no way of wiping them out completely.
If one goes on their Pinterest health board, I’m sure at least one “thinspo” image graces it, from an image of a thin woman with a quote that says “nothing tastes as good as skinny feels,” to another mentioning how long it takes to notice your body changing.
According to an article on Sociology in Focus, while Pinterest allows users to shame their own bodies online, the images they post also serve as a way for their followers to behave in the same manner, shaming their own body and feeling that they, too, are not good enough.
The article explained that while Pinterest may ban the “thinspo” community, several remain by labeling their motivational images and quotes as being a motivation for becoming “fit.”
While sites like Pinterest and Tumblr have banned “thinspo” from their pages, and Instagram will likely be the next to evict this self-destructive community, the reality is that banning them is not going to stop the harm these individuals are inflicting upon themselves.
We can blame the media, the images we see on a daily basis, and the standards of beauty we face, but the sad reality is that in a country where we are given such great opportunities and can truly make something of ourselves, we strive to look a certain way and starve our bodies of the nutrition that is available to anyone who wants it.
As a college senior, I have struggled with the urge to be a certain way or lose a certain amount of weight, because you think, “If I lose 10 pounds, I’ll be happier.” This train of thought needs to end. Weight loss does not equal a happy person, especially if it is achieved in a self-destructive type of way.
Although I plan on starting my own diet soon, I know that my body will never allow me to be a size zero, and I am perfectly fine with that. All of us have different body types, and once we can find our healthy body, then we can be our happiest.
It is important to eat healthy foods and make a point to stay active, but what we must remember is that each and every one of us is worth more than our weight.
Striving to look a certain way will never solve life’s problems, so stop saying you’re not good enough and start embracing the great person that you are.