Sunday, April 22, 2012

Media Moment: Pro-anorexia ‘thinspiration’ photos shouldn’t be banned from social media

This article "Pro-anorexia ‘thinspiration’ photos shouldn’t be banned from social media," gave me pause when I came across it as I felt that media has a big influence on how people see their self-image. Celebrity news magazines is one good example of how media has a big impact on society, especially about what's "in" and what's "not," or what is defined as beautiful. Television, radio, magazines or online publishing sites can control most of their content when it comes to publishing, but the opposite is true for social media sites. 

There's a word called "thinspiration" out there which the article defines as "Glamorous photos of very skinny women, together with admiring captions, might arouse self-loathing in women, and thereby inspire self-mortification, and in particular anorexia."  According to the article, this became an issue when "An exposé of “the hunger blogs”—pro-anorexia, or pro-ana, chronicles that approvingly feature photos of emaciated bodies—ran in February on the Huffington Post." As a result, social networking sites, Tumblr and Pinterest has banned such content from being published on their site as they did not want to promote anorexia In addition to this issue,  Alexa Chung, 28-year-old Britsh TV personality, recently posted a picture of herself on Twitter, which was criticized and labeled as a thinspiration because of her knobby knees.

Currently some pro-ana refugees are using Facebook as a platform to express their ideas, so my question to you is, how do you feel about some social media sites trying to prohibit images/ideas that can potentially promote anorexia? Do you think it's the responsibility for the social media sites to control content like this or do you think people should be free to post what they like? I would also like to point out that, for an image to be labeled a "thinspiration" is relative unless the caption explicitly states something that promotes anorexia, but then again, it's especially hard  when people post images and write comments about trying  to lose weight for the summer to hit the beach.

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