The unfortunate term “thinspo”

I was recently introduced to the term “Thinspo.” For those that have not yet heard about the Kate Upton controversy, thinspo is short for thin inspiration, where people who are aspiring to lose weight or maintain their current weight share photos or other reminders of why they want to be thin.

Thinspo has been connected to the pro-ana (promote anorexia) community, but what I found is that there appear to be factions even am0ng the thinspo community. Some fervently defend themselves as people who simply want to help themselves and others get to a healthier weight (and celebrate those who have achieved it), while others equate thinspo with pro-ana and are more than happy to claim membership to both.

There is nothing wrong with being naturally slim.  There is nothing wrong with working hard to lose extra, unnecessary weight.  There is nothing wrong with posting before and after pictures (or before and during pictures) to celebrate accomplishments.  Weight loss websites do it all the time in the hopes that someone will be inspired to join their program.

What I find unfortunate is that so many in the thinspo community are desperately claiming that they have nothing to do with the pro-ana community, when my admittedly brief research turned up nothing but sites that at best skated right inside the boundaries of pro-ana.  Some just accepted and embraced thinspo as part of the cycle that anyone with an eating disorder goes through.

One site’s mission statement blatantly pushed thinness “whatever it takes”.  Another posted photos of extremely slim models, entitling them “PERFECTION,” and failing to realize or acknowledge that the photos were so obviously photoshopped it wasn’t even funny.  Just a brief scroll through another turned up post after post of studying what a celebrity DRANK and how many calories it was likely going to add to her body.

The reason I find thinspo an unfortunate term is because it had the hints of being helpful, but instead it seems to be swirling deeper into hurtful.  Granted, it should more accurately have started as “healthy inspiration” in order to promote and inspire people to be healthier, but “healthspo” doesn’t really have the same ring to it.  As someone who has struggled with weight and health issues, I would have liked to have found a community that encourages better health (without asking for monthly membership fees), but I found that barely scratching the surface turned up way too much photoshop envy, obsessiveness, and clearly starving (as in their bodies are screaming for nourishment) people.

And for the record, Kate Upton is smoking hot.

Posted on July 19, 2012, in Thought provoking and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. Healthspo (although I don’t know that’s what they are calling it) is the new thing so as to avoid the thinspo and pro-ana negative connotations. “But it’s totally fine if we have pictures of healthy people exercising and quotes that say ‘Nothing tastes as good as thin feels!'”. It’s a slippery slope. All of these aren’t entertwined but pro-ana does get inspiration from thinspo and healthspo. But to be fair, they (or anyone) can get inspiration from anything featuring slim, ideal, less food, no food, etc.

    The Kate Upton thing infuriated me to no end because she’s beautiful and from all appearances healthy.

    No matter how hard we try to eradicate, these things will be around. Partially because of media and societal influences and partially because there’s always underlying issues in eating disorders. My anorexia’s underlying issue was control and perfection. I have to stop every day and remind myself that I can’t be those things and that food control isn’t the answer. And it sucks. So freaking hard.

    Anyway, glad you wrote about body image, et al. 🙂 The more educated we are on matters like these, the more hope there is of someday having an ED free world.

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