Pro-ana Websites Effects on Women

Essay by gabgoodCollege, Undergraduate March 2013

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Pro-ana Websites Effects on Women

In Mim Udovitch's article "A Secret Society of the Starving," she discusses pro-anorexia websites, the sense of community felt when using these sites, and the risky behavior in which these girls become involved. This essay expresses the sense of community among these young women with eating disorders. Udovitch explores the world of a pro-ana by interviewing several women that consider themselves pro-ana and visiting these websites. She shares these women's stories and her findings from the websites.

Udovitch begins by introducing the readers to an eighteen year old girl named Claire. Claire plays two sports, exercises excessively, has obsessive compulsive disorder, and considers herself a pro-ana. She and many others depend on these pro-ana websites for support of their lifestyle. Claire states "I can go online and talk to them there, and they know exactly what I'm going through and how I feel. And I don't have to worry about them judging me for how I feel" (Udovitch 151).

Udovitch also introduces the readers to Chaos, another pro-ana. She is twenty- three years old and has been either anorexic or bulimic since she was ten years old. This is her lifestyle; she practices "restricting" foods, binges, purges, and punishes herself by cutting on a regular basis. She is also obsessive-compulsive, as are most anorexics and bulimics. She has her own blog site where she goes for comfort and to support other pro-anas. Chaos "stands a very real chance of dying any time" (Udovitch 154).

Udovitch explains how pro-ana websites provide an opportunity for these girls to find a group that doesn't judge them. They use these websites as support systems and a way to connect with others suffering with the same problem. If they were to express their habits openly with others who don't share...