Ana and Mia might sound like nice girls, but they are an eating disorders worst enemy. Both names are short for Pro Anorexia and Pro Bulimia. You can find Pro Ana & Pro Mia pages, groups and blogs on various social media. They appear to promote the behavioural traits of eating disorders anorexia and bulimia. Encouraging words and ‘wisdom’ are posted online for the world to see, making the internet a dangerous place for those with or even without an eating disorder. Some Pro Ana and Pro Mia sites go as far as teaching people “how to become anorexic or bulimic” and advertise these eating disorders as a positive lifestyle choice. This sort of content is toxic, particularly to people susceptible to these types of mental illnesses, or those who are actually currently suffering with an eating disorders. It reinforces the anorexic and bulimic mentality, stamping out the concept of recovery.
You Are Not Alone
Although these sites appear to predominantly promote anorexia and bulimia, some individuals may come across these pages in search of a support.
Eating disorders are isolating diseases, so the internet can be a popular form of communication for support, advice or inspiration, Pro Ana & Pro Mia sites can make individuals suffering with eating disorders feel like they aren’t alone. The problem with this, is that two wrongs don’t make a right. A combination of two like minded people suffering with an eating disorder, is more likely to fuel the fire than to put it out. The dangers of this easy accessible community, is that individuals who may be searching for recovery, may stumble across a Pro Mia or Pro Ana page that supports the ongoing activity of eating disorder behavior. Another issue is increased influence. Whilst an individual with anorexia may be searching the web for Pro Ana, they may come across Pro Mia. More tips and influences are then provided to an already distorted mind.
Some may view it as moral support, some may view it as propaganda, but there is no denying that this motivational content is killing people.