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Pro-ana, short for "pro-anorexia," is a movement and ideal that supports anorexia as a lifestyle choice. The equivalent for the related disorder, bulimia, is known as pro-mia, though pro-bul[l] might be more appropriate.
Pro-ana slogans and rhetoric have often caused miniature storms amongst modern mainstream media outlets, who are starting to realise after a few decades that it's wrong to make people want to resemble cocktail sticks. T-shirts reading "Eat Less" and "Nothing Tastes As Good As Skinny Feels" (as endorsed by professional inexplicable entity Perez Hilton) were pulled following a public backlash. At times, claims and "tips" from pro-ana sites can descend into seeming parody, such as advice that "[a]t a certain weight ... you will lose your period. This is a good thing because it means that you’re losing weight." Other advice is downright scary, such as tips on how to hide anorexia from your doctor.
This is incredibly, dangerously wrong. Eating disorders already feature warped exaggerations of cultural attitudes to diet and body image, and instead of challenging these, pro-ana accepts them as true. It reinforces eating disordered beliefs about food being the enemy, fat being evil, and starvation/thinness being somehow "worth it" despite all of the harmful consequences. Pro-ana proponents often cross over with breatharianism advocates in their levels of denial. This type of denial and delusion can be a symptom of a pre-existing eating disorder, so the pro-ana community is very appealing to people who are still in the midst of that.
Put simply, eating disorders are serious mental illnesses, not lifestyle choices. Pro-ana is a denial mechanism for people who are scared of that fact.
- Being pro-anorexia is as sensible as being pro-pnuemonia (YouTube)
- An actual pro-anorexia blog. (Please don't click on that link if you're struggling with an eating disorder)
- Jezebel.com — Urban Outfitters Pulls "Eat Less" Shirt
- PrettyThin.com Ana Beauty Tips at the Wayback Machine (archived December 13, 2011)