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A list of pro-ana tips from a Blogger-hosted thinspiration blog called “Thin Intentions”. There are many lists like these circulating the internet. (Screenshot by Jennifer Perry)

“Nothing tastes as good as skinny feels.”

“Thinspiration” blogs are one of social media’s best-kept, and most dangerous secrets. The public is only just becoming aware of these blogs and how detrimental they can be for the young people who view them. Thinspiration blogs are used to promote anorexia and bulimia.

In the blogging world, this is called “pro-ana” and “pro-mia”. Often, anorexia and bulimia are personified into girls named Ana and Mia. They are turning serious diseases into individuals whom girls can look to as aspirations.

The other features of thinspiration blogs include the individual’s current weight and goal weight, which is usually 100 pounds or less, and photos of women who range from healthily slim, to so emaciated that their ribs are completely visible. There is a photo of stick-thin, British supermodel Kate Moss sporting a t-shirt that says, “I beat obesity” which frequently circuits thinspiration blogs.

But perhaps the most unsettling element of thinspiration is the multitude of lists providing pro-ana tips. Type it into Google and you’ll get over 4 million hits. These young women are creating lists which literally tell girls how to live an anorexic lifestyle, as though it’s something as normal as how to assemble a bookshelf.

Don’t tell me this isn’t terrifying.

According to the National Association of Anorexia and Associated Disorders (ANAD), up to 24 million individuals in the U.S. suffer from an eating disorder. ANAD also states that eating disorders are the third most common chronic illness amongst adolescents, and when surveying students on a college campus they reported that 91 percent of the women had tried to control their weight through dieting. For females 15 to 24 years old with an eating disorder, the mortality rate is 12 times higher than a female who eats healthily.

If eating disorders are so dangerous, why are these girls creating blogs that make them seem like perfect, glamorous lifestyles? It’s difficult to place blame in this situation, but if I had to blame anyone it would be the media.

Yes, you’re always hearing about the evil modern media, but it’s true. The media want women to be thinner every year. There was a time when size six was the ideal, but eventually it decreased to four, two and finally zero.

The pages of Cosmopolitan are full of diet plans, exercise regimes and detoxifying cleanses. The pressure to be thin is on your screens constantly, whether it’s a movie, television show, music video or a thinspiration blog.

Social media can be a great tool in our modern society, allowing us the power to share information or promote a cause to hundreds of people at the click of a button. But there will always be those who abuse their power and use it to promote negativity.

Thinspiration bloggers have all the power of social media along combined with an extremely distorted self-perception.

Dress size does not determine health or attractiveness, and weight is just a number, it does not define you as an individual. Exercise and eating healthy foods in normal portion sizes will always be the key to losing weight and staying fit. Eating disorders are life-threatening illnesses, not quick solutions for bad self-image.

We can’t stop thinspiration bloggers from existing. However, we can choose to not follow them, because without followers, they have no power.

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