What is Thinspiration?


 WARNING: The following post contains images which may be triggering to those suffering from or recovering from an eating disorder.


Thinspiration, or Thinspo, is inspiration to stay thin or become thinner.  It is a tool used primarily by those with eating disorders, especially such disorders as anorexia and bulimia.Frighteningly thin model


A major focus of thinspo is images.  These images show extremely thin people to show what it is they are striving for.  These images range from thin, to dangerously thin.

A different technique is reverse-thinspo.  These images show very heavy people eating fattening foods, showing them what it is they do not want to become.

Another aspect of thinspo is slogans or catchy phrases whichGirl suffering from an eating disorder promote the pursuit of thinness.  For example, “nothing tastes as good as being thin feels” is very commonly found on pro-ana websites.  As is the latin phrase “Quod me nutrit me destruit” (That which nourishes me destroys me).

Pro-ana, or pro-mia websites are places where those with eating disorders come together for what they believe is support.  There they often find sources of thinspiration, diet tips, and a place where their disease is accepted as well as praised.  Community members support one another in not eating, and give each other advice on ways to achieve rapid weight-loss.

Pro-ana sites often claim that anorexia is a life-style choice, not a disease.

But there are some sites that acknowledge anorexia as a disease, and claim to be a place for those struggling with the disease to share stories and comfort one another.  Some even warn that people looking for diet tips, or advice on “becoming anorexic” should not visit their site.

One of the top thinspo sites, prettythin.com, received an average of 281,650 views per day in the past three months, according to Alexa.com.

As large as that number is, there are many other pro-ana sites that people are visiting.  The 2008 International Internet Trends Study showed that the number or pro-ana/mia sites increased 470% from 2006 to 2008.

Currently the web filtering company, Bloxx is attempting to create a web filtering system that will block pro-anorexia websites.  The difficulty in this task is finding a way to block harmful pro-ana websites without blocking sites which could have helpful information about eating disorder diagnosis and treatment.

Viewing pro-ana websites and thinspiration can further intensify an already existing illness, or it can show girls who are just starting to diet an unhealthy and potentially deadly path.



Filed under Eating Disorders

9 responses to “What is Thinspiration?

  1. Just stopping by to say I like the work you are doing. I have run a few anti-anorexia posts on my site and plan to post a article of pro-ana websites in the next couple of days. I have joined forced with another blogger to and started a small grass roots campaign against size zero.
    ( I am a recovered sufferer).

    • abby

      Ive been a size double zero ever since i switched over from a size 12 in childrens when i was 13…. I don’t think you need to campaign against a certain size. Its discriminatory against naturally small people. WTF. Im 5 foot and weigh 97 lbs. Even when I did suffer from an ED I wore childrens sizes. I don’t think your campaign is necessary. What will I wear if not a zero?!

  2. Julie

    I am an artist whose work is about the body (most often female) as vehicle for perception and receptacle of accumulated experience. I work to represent the continuously morphing personal mythology that is the result of the body intersecting with popular culture, memory, religion, other cultures, politics and dreams. I mostly do collage and use photos of myself and other women… eating disorders is a subject I have just recently begun to work with. The photo in your article of the woman with the red hair and white skirt is stunning (and for me, heartbreaking). Do you have contact information of the photographer or model, that I might use this in a collage and/or exhibit the collage? I’ve finished the piece and feel it is sensitive, not judgmental or critical of the woman portrayed.

  3. although I invest almost all of my night on the web actively playing games like zynga poker or restaurant city, I nonetheless like to spend some free time to surf a a small number of blogs and forums sometimes and I’m contented to report this most recent posting is actually sort of good and appreciably improved than 50 % the other waste I read today , at any rate i’m going to take up a couple of rounds of zynga poker

  4. So disturbing…I wanna shed some weight but I don’t think I could ever go skeletal. Does that woman in the pic applying the girl’s makeup not realize that she should be in a hospital bed and not in a fashion show? Sick, sick. sick….

  5. Pingback: Related Topic: ‘Thinspiration’ « Anthromodeology

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