The Benefits and Harms of Thinspo

“Thinspo” or “thinspiration” is pretty much described in its name. Thinspo is a community online comprised of images of healthy weight to underweight individuals that inspire people to lose weight or be healthier. The idea in and of itself is not bad. I have seen some of the images and found no fault with them. It is based on the matter of perspective.

Idolizing an image of a healthy-weight woman can be motivating to an overweight person, giving them a visual of his or her goal. Certainly I agree that seeing people who are thin and fit makes me want to intensify my bodybuilding routine and put down the taco I was about to exuberantly shove into my mouth. It would give what I would assume most anyone extrinsic and intrinsic motivation to eat healthier and exercise. There is nothing wrong with a bit of motivation.

More importantly, it sends a message to people that health is attainable. In a society riddled with an obesity epidemic (cough 72% of Americans), I found that some people think that thinness is a special-snowflake-rare-unicorn status. Images that remind people it is possible to be healthier can only be positive.

However, there is a dark side of thinsperation that is part of the pro-anorexia community.

Certain thinspo images feature people who are dangerously underweight. With #ana #bones #wintergirl #beautiful. It is distorted and sad. People who struggle with anorexia, including myself, can fuel our behaviors with scrolling these tags for hours. Some thinspo tags give “advice” on how to endure two whole days of starving. Or it is a totalitarian view that if you are not underweight you don’t deserve to live. Quite toxic, don’t ya think?

However, not everyone will be bothered by the thinspo tag. Take me for example. On my good days, where there are no anorexia flair-ups, I can accidently stumble upon those tags and be ok. Another person can stumble upon those same tags and be influenced to f*cking starve themselves to death. What affects one person does not affect another.

Two sides of the same coin. The “fine” thinspo and the “toxic” thinspo should remain online because I don’t believe in censoring free speech. People should be aware that not all thinspo is representing starvation.


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