This has to stop!

I know I have written a post before about the craziness of the media’s attitude towards size and weight in preference to actual health and fitness.

it was a while ago and you can read it here:

Crazy back to front media stuff and things

In that post I was particularly flabbergasted at the lack of actual health and fitness advice in health and fitness magazines, and the inclusion of a cosmetic surgery magazine with health and fitness.

I have a lot more to say on the subject of celebrity endorsements and lose weight quick schemes but that will follow in a future post.

The subject of this post is “thinspiration”

For those of you unfamiliar with the term it is Inspiration to be thin, ok…that much is obvious. What is less obvious is that it is a term coined by the “pro ana” and “pro mia” community who basically promote disordered eating as a way of life and post “thinspiration” pictures of celebrities and  non-celebrities with visible bones and probable eating disorders as images to aspire to.

Why I am I telling you this now?

Well…as I was walking past the magazines in the supermarket yesterday, I saw this:

IMG_4192[1]

Thinspiration? Really?

Firstly…I didn’t actually look inside the magazine, so these might be well thought out articles full of advice on being healthy…but I wouldn’t hold my breath!
Secondly, these “celebrities” are not the bone protruding images that adorn “thinspo” galleries on pro ana/mia sites and I have no opinion on these particular people, nor do I think they are particularly supporting eating disorders.

However…

I have a very big problem with the use of this sort of language and concept by the mainstream media.
It could be triggering for people in that world trying to escape.
It puts the idea of thinspiration into the heads of the population, at least some of whom are influenced by these things, and it is a very simple step to google thinspiration and find a whole world of tips and tricks to hide disordered eating from the world at large and how to support it and maintain it.#

Over and above these extremely worrying associations, is the message screaming out that thin is best.

Not fit, not healthy, not even slim but thin.

Thin and thin at any cost.

This attitude has got to change.

Focusing on size and weight over and above health and fitness is damaging both physically and psychologically. Speaking as someone who has worked hard to lose a thin at all costs attitude, I know how hard it is.

I am not the only person saying this, but I felt the need to add my voice to the call for a change in attitude.

The media has a powerful and direct influence on the attitude of a lot of people. It is time to look at the damage this sort of article can do. Not particularly the information on what “diet” a celebrity is following because although it is unlikely to be a successful long term solution (which is a whole different post…) following a celebrity diet probably won’t actually damage you as such. The real problem is the tone and language used. Holding up “thin” as something to aspire to, sends the message to most of the population that they need to change something about themselves in order to be accepted or desirable. This in conjunction with the body shaming tactics employed by the media and world in general has a huge influence on a person’s attitude, self confidence and behaviour!

It is important to point out that I am not saying that being thin is unacceptable. There are people out there who are thin, and healthy. I am not saying that the desire to lose weight is unacceptable. I am merely highlighting that an obsession with changing your body beyond healthy limits in ways that are damaging is something that should not be promoted either consciously or unconsciously.

I don’t pretend to have the solution to this, I just hope that one day, people will get the message that thin is not more important than healthy!

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About Sam Catchpole

Exercisaholic, Photographer, Artist, Writer, Engineer, Morris Dancer, General Obsessive...

17 responses to “This has to stop!”

  1. Helen says :

    I couldn’t agree more! I often wonder when I see magazines using the word “thinspiration” if they are aware of its beginnings in the pro-ana movement, and if they even care about the harm they could be doing.
    As much as that article the other day on Crossfit told me some unpleasant things about it, I do have to agree with their mantra of “strong is the new skinny”. Health is the most important thing, both physically and emotionally. It has taken (is taking) a lot of work for me to deal with my history of disordered eating, I wouldn’t wish it on anyone.

    • Ice_Badger says :

      I agree, that attitude is much more healthy… although the pictures that go with it are often a new version of skinny with muscles…
      definitely a massive positive step though 🙂
      I had disordered eating for so long, that it has taken me a very long time to sort it out. I am not even sure I am there yet, my willingness to eat the same lunch for the best part of a year gives me a clue that i am not…

      • Helen says :

        Yeah some of the pictures aren’t great. But I’d rather be strong than skinny!
        I don’t know if you follow They Call Me Storm, but this post from a few days ago is really interesting, I think the concept of being in remission rather than recovered strikes a chord with me

      • Ice_Badger says :

        I like the idea of in remission…
        in reality I’d like to believe that I will never have to think about it again but I suspect that is not true!

        is there a link to the post?

        I’d definitely rather be strong than skinny 😀

      • Helen says :

        http://britstorm.wordpress.com/2014/06/22/remission/
        Did I forget to add it? I’m so dumb sometimes!
        I’d love to never have to think about it again, and I don’t as much as I used to, but I think it will never totally disappear. Having said that, it’s part of my past and made me (for better or worse) into who I am, so maybe I wouldn’t want to totally forget that it happened.

      • Ice_Badger says :

        that is a good point. I have made a policy never to regret anything that has happened. (blooming hard policy but I try) because a) I can’t change it and 2) it all contributes the the now me who I like!

        I am always forgetting to add links…It is worst when I do it at work…

      • Helen says :

        Exactly!

        I forget to add attachments at work, that’s always good for a sheepish follow-up email…

      • Ice_Badger says :

        yes it is…and there is no what to pretend you meant to do it…

  2. NancyTex says :

    Brava, Sam! The more voices added to the revolt, the better. I had no idea that the thinspiration had origins from pro-ana. Now that’s disturbing!

    • Ice_Badger says :

      It is really disturbing isn’t it! I am sure a lot if people don’t know, maybe the magazine people don’t know but it is really worrying to me!
      I saw it last night and had to post!

      • NancyTex says :

        It’s hard to believe the magazine people don’t know. although the idea of them knowing and publishing that anyway is too disturbing to consider.

      • Ice_Badger says :

        It doesn’t bear thinking about that they know that is where it comes from and still use it!! But a very quick google search would tell them!!

  3. Expat Eye says :

    Totally agree too! Wrote a (sort of) similar post myself a while back – guess it will just take time for the message to sink in! Little by little…

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