Proud2Bme.org Fights Online "Thinspiration"
The site aims to counter pro-ana pages by spreading a recovery message for teens with eating disorders.
Proud2Bme.org is one website that hopes to harness the power of the internet to help young people recover from eating disorders. The web can be a dangerous zone for those with eating disorders and body image issues, offering up a host of "pro-ana" websites connecting anorexic and bulimic teens, and encouraging their behaviors with "thinspirational" pictures, forums, videos and blogs. But these communities do offer the benefit of helping connect young people who might otherwise suffer in isolation, and Proud2Bme hopes to build similar social networks—but with a healthier purpose. “We need to be looking at these communities and see what we can learn from them, and what we can provide as a positive alternative," says Claire Mysko, the site's manager. Proud2Bme, which is financed by the National Eating Disorders Association, hopes to enhance its appeal to young girls by including “fashion and everyday stuff," alongside positive messages about health and body image. Founded in 2011, it currently receives about 7,000 visitors a day, and features articles by celebrities like Demi Lovato, who has been open about her struggles with bulimia. “Those who might be attracted to thinspiration content will find a space where they can feel accepted and feel like they are able to talk to others who get it,” says Mysko. “It’s an environment that’s promoting recovery.” Other online movements have recently sprung up intending to inspire young people to take positive action with regard to body image—including a recent Body Revolution movement launched by Lady Gaga in response to media attacks on her perceived weight gain.