Tumblr Bans Pro-Ana Websites—What Do You Think?

Tumblr bans pro-ana websites - Demi Lovato

Demi Lovato is an eating disorder survivor -- and we bet she supports this move. | Source: yourstuffwork.com

Tumblr banned pro-ana websites from its blog roll this week. The thing with pro-ana websites is that most girls never even hear about them until they do get banned from blogs or search engines. So what exactly is a pro-ana website?

A pro-ana website is one that promotes anorexia. Some pro-ana sites use the glorified description of being “thinspirational.” Pro-ana and pro-mia (short for “pro-bulimia”) pages give sick girls tips on how to be sicker. They offer ways to resist food, post photos of skeletal women (literally — you can usually see their bones), and serve as a constant reminder that their readers can always be thinner — and that thinner is better.

While it’s easy to say that most girls aren’t affected by sites like this, that’s not necessarily true. If you’re exposed to something enough, it becomes normal to you. Even Demi Lovato, as successful and beautiful as she is, succumbed to an eating disorder until going into treatment last year and has spoken out about how being insensitive to the issue makes it worse. (She’s even documenting her recovery for MTV!)

Pro-ana websites are dangerous, period. They are designed by sick people to not only spread their sickness, but worsen it in themselves and others. 20% of people diagnosed with long-term anorexia will die from the effects of the disease. Pro-ana websites can prolong and worsen anorexia — as in, they can be potentially lethal.

Tumblr bans pro-ana websites

Your worth is not determined by a scale. | Source: thestir.cafemom.com

Imagine for a second that you’re a heroin addict. You’re trying to kick the habit, so you search online for something like “heroin addict support” and click on a link you’d think was a site for rehabilitation and getting better. Only it turns out to be photos of smack, places to find out, and new ways to get high from it. That’s dangerous. That’s damaging. And that’s not much different from a pro-ana website.

Another example (and another type of site that tumblr banned): If a person was suicidal and searching online for help — say, she typed in “suicide help” — and instead of support phone numbers and hotlines, she accidentally clicked on a link describing the best way to tie rope, that’s dangerous. That’s damaging. And that also is not much different from a pro-ana website.

Essentially, tumblr banned pro-ana websites from their blog roll because they fall under the category of “self-harm.” And they’re right. While many supporters of pro-ana websites have come out against tumblr for what they perceive as infringement on their free speech, what they fail to realize is that in those “terms of service” a lot of us don’t actually read are clauses that allow tumblr to do things like this.

The problem is that proponents of pro-ana websites see themselves as helping. They think they’re helping girls by giving them tips on the best way to throw up their dinner without rupturing her esophagi. They think they’re helping girls by telling them that “nothing tastes as good as skinny feels.” But what they’re actually doing is killing themselves and their readers slowly. You already know that anorexia is deadly. Tumblr banned pro-ana websites because they don’t want blood on their hands and they want girls to get healthy. That’s a stance we can get behind.

Do you agree with tumblr banning pro-ana websites? Do you think it’s a good idea, or do you think it violates free speech? Tell us your views on tumblr banning pro-ana websites in the comments

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  • Robert

    Do not think of the pages that promote anorexia because they are practically promoting death, anorexia accepted because they are already psychologically manipulate, so better look for other safe nutritional choices to achieve their goals, seek HERBALIFE!

  • Lia

    Ban pro-curve and pro-chubby sites. Because things should be fair. Super skinny girls are disguisting –> fat girls are also disguisting. I mean, who wants to look at fat rolls on tumblr, right?

  • vera

    If tumblr bans blogs promoting being too thin, they should ban pro-fat chubby chaser blogs. Only fair, both are dangerous. Actually, obesity causes heart attacks, which way more people die from.

    • Candice-Ann

      Anorexia Nervosa and Bulimia Nervosa also cause heart attacks. When you starve yourself, your body will eventually start eating it’s own muscles, including the heart and brain. A lot of anorexics die of heart attacks. Not that I’m supporting pro-obesity websites or anything.

  • Kiwi

    Heh… I don’t know what exactly it is that they banned, but if you type ana, proana, anorexia, or EDNOS into the tag search, you still get thousands of results. I’m doing a research project on anorexia, and I think they should leave these things up. For someone who doesn’t suffer from an eating disorder, it’s terrifying, the way these girls talk about being freezing all the time, their hair falling out, reaching their goal weight and still being disgusted with themselves, their bones hurting, feeling numb and losing interest in everything except anorexia… it lets people know exactly what they have to look forward to, from people who’ve actually done it, instead of doctors who “don’t understand”.

    • Emily

      I know what you mean, but they are way too harmful. I’ve been recovering for about two years after five years battling anorexia and bulimia, and I’ll go on a site for not even five minutes and I’ll start thinking in those bad ways again, start wanting to stop eating again. For people who are so vulnerable to them, it is seriously dangerous. People can get better at hiding and starving and purging, and at hating themselves (basically getting brainwashed with the propaganda) with these sites.
      If you want to read about the inner mind of an anorexic, there are many books written by them that help. But having a public forum where anything can be posted is so damaging.

  • GinaRae

    As if anorexia is some kind of epidemic! Look around. It’s not. Free speech should not be banned, and if someone is struggling with an eating disorder (guilty!), we need an outlet and a community that is non-judgemental. PC be damned!

  • jiskistasta

    The idea is good, but what’s actually been happening is Tumblr bans people who use the site as a diary and documenting their struggle but not promoting eating disorders (many even say explicitly that they are NOT glorifying eating disorders or encouraging them, and that eating disorders are terrible, etc etc), yet allow wanarexics to keep their blogs and write about their “prayers to Ana” and “starving tips” and other such crap. The former group uses Tumblr as an outlet for their pain, and use blogging as a sort of therapy. THEY aren’t the ones who should be banned, the latter group should.

  • elenytha

    I ABSOLUTELY AGREE WITH THE BANNING OF PRO-ANNA FROM THIS WEBSITE! What’s happening nationwide to our young women is terrible (and I say young women because their life span is more than cut in half and most are put on a feeding tube, if their insurance allows!!)

  • kirrrrri

    that’s great its been banned i looked at some and the pictures and messages displayed were disgusting!!!!!!

  • Nicole

    I love how they banned these blogs but there are disgusting, extreme bondage blogs on Tumblr. I viewed some of those “pro-ana” blogs and the girls weren’t actually starving themselves. They were pretty much just going on temporary hardcore diets. A lot of those girls had healthy goals and didn’t want to wither way. I just don’t understand why pro-ana blogs should be banned but it’s so easy for a minor to view pornography through Tumblr.

    • Emily

      Porn is never hard to find. Tumblr stuff is probably the most tame.
      At least bondage sites open people’s minds. Why is the belief that sex is wrong shoved down our throats? I’d rather have a dick shoved there-and what’s wrong with that?
      And the girls with healthy goals have healthy sites to go to-and they can keep it up with Tumblr too if it’s not pro-ana. It’s the ones that talk about how being thin is more important than ANYTHING else, where guilt and self-hatered run rampant.