Society is the pressure for girls to lose extreme amounts of weight. Internet sites like “Pro-ana” actually encourage girls to compete for thin status. Pro-Ana is sort of a word play to worship the goddess “Anorexia.”
Wikipedia says that members of Pro-Ana sites can:
*Share crash dieting techniques and recipes.
*Compete with each other at losing weight, or fast together in displays of solidarity.
*Commiserate with one another after breaking fast or binging.
*Advise on how to best induce vomiting and on using laxatives and emetics.
*Give tips on hiding weight loss from parents and doctors.
*Share information on maximizing the safety of anorexia.
*Affirm the attractiveness and acceptability of other members’ current weight.
As an encouragement to further lose weight, members often exchange thinspiration (or thinspo): image or video montages of slim women, often celebrities, who may be anything from naturally slim to emaciated with visibly-protruding bones.
Anne Becker did a cultural study of women in Fiji. She found that most were happy with their body image and that being plump was a good thing. But after the advent of television in 1995, which pumped in images of western women, the number of eating disorders for Fijians went up 500%.
For more on this interesting study click here.
To order Anne’s book, Body, Self, and Society: The View from Fiji.