Friday, March 24, 2006

ANTM and Thinspiration

I have a number of secret vices. One of which is America's Next Top Model. Another of which is Project Runway. I am ashamed to admit I like these shows which are those horrible reality things where people are put in difficult situations and then caught on camera behaving badly.

I happened to miss America's Next Top Model on Wednesday. I was out having a cup of tea with my friend Kate and actually having a life. But tonight I happened to catch a reference to the show on Darby's blog so I went to see what I had missed. And since I would rather waste time than do anything constructive, I did some surfing about one of the previous contestants...and found a pro-ana site that used her image as a trigger.

If you don't know what Pro-Ana is, it's an underground movement by mostly adolescent girls promoting anorexia as a lifestyle. If you put Pro-Ana into a search engine, you'll get no hits, because the search engines block the sites the way they block, say, child porn sites. But if you put 'thinspiration' into a search engine, it's a kind of back door into some of these sites.

One of the things the girls do is they compile picture galleries of what they call 'trigger' or 'thinspiration' photos, usually of models (a lot of Kate Moss out there and a lot of Mary Kate as well.) There's a picture that shows up again and again. Rather horrifying.



Is it real?

Is she still alive?

28 Comments:

Blogger Responsible Artist said...

That's a scary, scary picture. Control is an illusion.

There's no need to miss ANTP! Just read about the episodes on TelevisionWithoutPity.com. I've been reading ahead on Wednesdays to see who goes on American Idol so I don't have to watch the results show.

March 25, 2006 12:08 AM  
Blogger Ted said...

Google reports over a million hits for "pro-ana." What search engine are you using that doesn't return any hits?

March 25, 2006 2:59 AM  
Blogger Karen at Pen in Hand said...

Gee, she looks so cheerful. It must be a fabulous lifestyle.

March 25, 2006 6:52 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I just looked at the Thinspiration community on livejournal and I feel like eating huge quantities of chocolate. Those poor girls! Their poor mothers! I feel quite glad to be fat.

Jo Walton

March 25, 2006 8:35 AM  
Blogger Maureen McHugh said...

Ted, I admit I didn't bother to check this time--last time I checked was a couple of years ago when I was teaching a class on Crative non-fiction and a girl in the class was doing an essay on Pro-ana. At that time Goggle, Yahoo, and every other search engine I tried (although as I remember, I didn't try 'Ask Jeeves' came up with no hits.

I'm surprised they've changed it. I wonder why?

March 25, 2006 9:43 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Maureen,
I find the juxtaposition of this entry with your previous one discussing "weight loss goals" rather troublesome...I hope this isn't a subconscious cry for help, because "Hey, want to see my ribs?" just isn't a very good pick-up line.

Jonathan

March 26, 2006 1:45 AM  
Blogger David Moles said...

But, man, if people could live like that without severe health problems, how Gibsonian a subculture would that be?

March 26, 2006 7:36 AM  
Blogger Ted said...

Dave's mention of Gibsonian lifestyles makes me want to mention hikikomori, the pathological social withdrawal that predominately affects young men in Japan, rather like the way that anorexia primarily affects young women in Western culture. A recent NYT article about it is here.

March 26, 2006 5:56 PM  
Blogger Darby M. Dixon III said...

By sheer coincidence, I just saw The Machinist, the movie with Christian Bale, the one he lost approximately all of his weight for. Yeah. Yikes.

March 27, 2006 1:34 AM  
Blogger Maureen McHugh said...

Ted, the article on hikikomori was quite facsinating. Have you seen the Wikipedia entry on it?

March 27, 2006 7:17 AM  
Blogger lucette said...

I am also a secret fan of ANTM. Maybe we should have a support group.

March 27, 2006 9:46 AM  
Blogger Maureen McHugh said...

Spent a serious amount of time searching on hikikomori last night. When I was in college, I once hid in my room for three or four weeks, either leaving in the early morning and not coming back until no one I knew would see me, or not going out at all.

It's funny, the longer I avoided people, the harder it got to think of talking to them again.

But a year...no way.

March 27, 2006 8:34 PM  
Blogger Ted said...

Wow, that Wikipedia entry on hikikomori is quite extensive.

One of the things in the NYT article that I found most memorable was the case of the boy who was ostracized in school for being too good at baseball. I feel safe in saying that, if the U.S. ever experiences its own version of pathological social withdrawal, its sufferers will not cite being teased for being too good at sports as being a trigger.

March 27, 2006 9:07 PM  
Blogger Erin O'Brien said...

fuck everyone and then fuck everyone else. I love "top model"

skanky little broads.

March 27, 2006 10:20 PM  
Blogger Madeleine Robins said...

I got far too fascinated by Project Runway. Now I'm sorry it's over. Top Chef just doesn't compare.

March 29, 2006 1:31 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Gee, all the starving women fron Durfar can come the the States and make money modeling.

Levin

March 30, 2006 10:30 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Have you heard the NPR interview with Mary Gordon? She talks a bit about anorexia and martyrdom and the quest for purity - http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=4472297

April 06, 2006 8:26 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

http://Scorned2nd.myblogsky.com/

For the real thinspiration of the day.

April 16, 2006 9:55 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

i'm fat and wish i was ana...wish i could pull it off...literally...
~j~

April 21, 2006 10:39 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

that girl is real but the picture has been altered. the original picture is out there but hard to find, and she is not nearly as thin in the original pic...no ribs, etc.

May 11, 2006 3:16 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

When you said "is she still alive?" That fuels the fire. YOu look at them (us I guess I should say) and you think "wow look at how thin she is it's like she isn't evenreally there" Maybe it's crazy, maybe it's sick but it motivates "us" drives us. Why? You couldn't possibly understand when you're on the outside looking in and unfortunatley there just isn't enough space here to ever make you get it.

July 09, 2006 3:04 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"That girl" is Gisele Bundchen, that photo is completely fake, and the original is not hard to find (neither are pro-ana/ pro-support/ pro-acceptance communities, if you know where to look). Here's a link to the original:
http://photos1.blogger.com/blogger/1034/2891/1600/Gisele.jpg

P.S. Yup, I have an ED, and no, I'm not in recovery (yet).

September 01, 2006 10:52 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

that picture is completely photoshopped. You can find the original untouched version somewhere - not sure where, but I've seen it.

November 01, 2006 11:56 PM  
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February 01, 2007 12:04 AM  
Anonymous Peter said...

I'm not sure that is true. There are too much image manipulating softwares...

April 13, 2007 10:19 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

That picture is photoshopped, I have the original copy of it. Don't let pictures like this fool you, she woundn't be walking.

February 05, 2008 1:59 AM  
Blogger Pigger said...

Something called "photoshop" guys. Honestly.

October 30, 2008 3:19 AM  
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