The pressure of having a “perfect body” is everywhere. Skinny people are promoted on TV, in magazines, on billboards, in movies; basically everywhere we look. But is there such a thing as too thin? Youth today are influenced by the media to be skinny and this causes them to perform extreme measures on their body. Eating disorders are sometimes the unfortunate outcome. Although there are various eating disorders, Anorexia Nervosa is the most common among adolescent men and women. Anorexia Nervosa is commonly referred to as Anorexia, it is defined as a condition that goes beyond out-of-control dieting.
A person with Anorexia begins dieting to lose weight, where it eventually becomes uncontrollable and the person begins to starve themselves. This cycle becomes an obsession and is similar to any type of any drug or substance addiction. This is where the line must be drawn. When teens are putting their health at risk to obtain the idea of perfection portrayed by the media, it must be stopped. Anorexia can be a very scary disease and can frighten people, but one of the things that may become even more of a shock is Pro-Ana. Pro-Ana, short for Pro-Anorexia are websites that promote this unhealthy disease.Order now
Pro-Ana is on the rise and just as the media influences young people to be skinny, these websites encourage their subscribers to achieve weight loss through the harmful method of Anorexia. With influential media and websites advocating Anorexia, there is no wonder why impressionable children actually begin to fall for their deceit. Although perfectionism is advertised in these sites, Anorexia has negative mental, physical and social effects. Anorexia is considered a physiological disorder. It constantly plays with the victim’s mind and makes them feel they need to be skinnier, creating a low self esteem.
When people have this disease they have a distorted view of what is considered overweight. They believe the average weight is not sufficient and they must keep striving for a smaller size. Although the site called “Starving for Perfection” states that being thin and not eating are true signs of willpower and success, it is the exact opposite (Hoff). By giving into the media and these websites, people’s self- confidence is destroyed and they are being morally defeated. Anorexia is just a continuous mind game where youth are set on the idea that they are not good enough for society.
With an eating disorder, people go into their own worlds and don’t pay attention to the actuality of their problems. Adolescents with eating behaviors associated with anorexia are at high risk for anxiety and depression in young adulthood (Hornbacher). They build up self-hatred and pick at their body, focusing on every seemingly imperfect aspect of it. Although this disease is an obvious problem, there are sites that promote it, furthering the downward spiral of Anorexics’ mental ability. Pro-Ana sites show pictures of women who are unhealthy and way too skinny, creating a wrong image for young people to follow after.
Putting images like these into the minds of such vulnerable children cause negative outcomes. The photos on their sites are called “Thinsipration” and they make anorexics feel that skinny is the only way they should be. Pro-Ana websites help an anorexic to become psychologically unstable. While teens are so focused on becoming skinny, they do not realize the health risks they are putting themselves into. Physical effects are the most obvious results of anorexic situations. Although the goal of the person is to only achieve weight loss, Anorexia affects the entire body.
Pro-Anorexia sites state “what the scale says is the most important thing” but is it really, when such extreme starvation causes such damage? Almost ninety percent of women with anorexia experience Osteopenia which is loss of bone minerals, forty percent have Osteoporosis which is more advanced loss of bone density. Testosterone levels also decline in boys as they lose weight, which also can affect their bone density. For girls, the severe weight loss causes loss of menstrual period and lanugo, a white fuzzy hair that grows all over the body.
Also in the long run, having had Anorexia effects a woman’s pregnancy. It causes a higher risk of miscarriage and having a baby with a low birthweight (Levonkron). During this cycle, nails become brittle and one Pro-Ana site proclaims that “manicures and pedicures are your best friend because people who see brittle nails will uncover your true identity” (Levonkron). Both boys and girls experience dry yellowish skin, bruise easily, constipation, dry skin, constant coldness, abdominal pain, and headaches (Levonkron).
Hair becomes very brittle and hair loss is common. It also causes insomnia due to the long lasting, aching hunger pains. In a more serious view, anemia, heart failure, palpitations, low blood pressure, kidney stones and kidney failure are all possible results of following this unhealthy system. Anorexics rarely ever realize what they are doing or that it is wrong. Overall, anorexia causes the body to be very weak and physically unattractive (Pierre). A social life is important to most teens, but with Anorexia, their social life slowly vanishes.
Losing weight is a continuous obsession with anorexics and they will forget about those who are close to them during the process. Self-starvation demands enormous emotional energy and concentration and leaves little room for anything or anyone else. Since Anorexics regularly watch their intake of calories, going out with friends turns into a problem since they do not want people to unveil their sickness. With such a fixation on foods and body image there is barely any time for them to participate in regular day to day activities. Going out seems like a chore to many anorexics.
An Anorexic prefers reaching their goal of thinness and not eating, rather than hanging out with their friends. There is an enormous amount of emotional growth and development to be made in a few years; if the anorexic does not participate with their peer group in this development they will miss out on it (Hornbacher). One Pro-Ana site says to “Keep your eye on the prize! Do not let your friends or family get in the way of your goal”, with statements like these anorexics are pushed away from the people who actually care about them (Medina).
Having this unfortunate disorder causes anorexics to miss out on their teenage years and have a disappointing and regrettable social life. One in every hundred women have anorexia and help is out there to lend a helping hand to those who wish to recover (Medina). Pro-Ana sites declare that they can “control” their anorexia, but it actually becomes a lifestyle for the person and they no longer have the ability to stop themselves. The truth is that once this horrid cycle starts it is hard to quit. The diet habits that are formed are very threatening to the mind, body and interaction of people.
It is clear that Anorexia is dangerous with all the negative effects it causes mentally, physically, and socially. Only a little more than one third of people recover from Anorexia, and these Pro-Ana sites are not helping the process. Because of their young age, teens are very susceptible to the negative atmosphere that Pro-Ana sites create. In a world of so much pressure to be skinny, teens are being influenced from every direction. Even though being skinny seem like it would be great, no one ever wants to be another statistic.