It seems everyone these days is talking about the oh-so-disturbing “thinspo” trend. Short for “thinsipration” – or “thin inspiration” – it can mean anything from online forums to Tumblr pages to plain old-fashioned blogs that show painfully anorexic women (protruding ribs, stick-thin arms) and offer up tips on how to starve yourself. Just to be clear: we’re not talking self-help here. “Thinspo” is all about the pro-anorexic, or “pro-ana,” community. And what makes it so scary is that girls are essentially being guided on how to have an eating disorder.
As a mother, and as someone who generally cares about women’s health, this totally freaks me out. Eating disorders have been around since long before social media sites entered our lives, that’s for sure – but “thinspo” boards only glorify this very serious illness. It offers a forum for (mostly) women to swap tips and compare bodies in a way that’s completely harmful, even detrimental. (Just Google Image “thinspo” and you’ll see what I mean.) Which explains why I’m happy to hear that Pinterest, which boasts over 10 million users, has finally banned “thinspo” boards from its site.
The site is implementing a new set of terms and policies, which go into effect April 6, that includes banning pins that “explicitly encourage self-harm or abuse.” Kudos to Pinterest for being so responsible and implementing the change. (It’s a move we’ve already seen on Tumblr and Facebook.) Jezebel reports that the deluge of “thinspo” boards on Pinterest helped sparked the change, meaning it did not go unnoticed that so many pro-ana users were flocking to the micro-blogging site.
Of course, it’s not like the national rate of eating disorders will decrease as a result, but it is reassuring to know ED sufferers will no longer be validated on Pinterest. As Claire Mysko from the National Eating Disorders Association explained on Jezebel, this a group of people who lack support from friends an family but “they’re finding it [on Pinterest] in a very dangerous and self-destructive way.”