There is a non- mainstream school of thought that sees eating disorders such as Anorexia Nervosa and Bulimia Nervosa not as disorders or behavior needing correction, but as lifestyle choices.
‘Ana’ is a term that is used almost affectionately to personify and give identity to Anorexia; Ana is a girl as personified by Anorexics.
While some defend the concept of Pro Ana as medium to offer support to Anorexics, and to help them seek help and recovery, there is also another school of thought of Pro Anas who don’t seek recovery at all.
Pro Anas who defend their anorexia not as a disorder or an affliction from which to recover, view it instead as an accomplishment of self control and a part of their identity and one that defines them to a very significant extent.
Red and blue/purple bracelets are identification markers for Anorexics and Bulimics respectively.
Pro Ana and Pro Mia groups are usually fairly close knit groups or forums on the internet, some on social networking sites such as Facebook and Myspace.
There are many Pro Ana and Mia sites, many of which responsibly offer support and recovery advice to many socially isolated Anorexics, but others however tend to glorify eating disorders to a considerable extent, even elevating anorexics to a socially elite group who are more in control of their bodies and who, through their will power are able to rise above those who succumb to the horror of being overweight and obese.
The less responsible sites put an emphasis on and stress the social superiority and mental toughness of those that are Anorexics and usually have a ‘Thinspiration’ section.
Thinspiration is usually meant to inspire Anorexics to remember what their goals are, through a series of thin, usually fashionably clad and made up individuals and also, conversely pictures of grossly overweight individuals perhaps shown in unflatteringly greedy aspect , both of which will ‘inspire’ one to achieve their goals of self control and thinness.
The usual poster girls for Thinspiration would be people like Kate Moss or Jodie Kidd at their most emaciated as the ideals to aspire to.
Since Anorexia is viewed by pro anas as a lifestyle choice rather than a disorder that necessitates a recovery process, they reject conventional ‘weak’ values of those who are not anorexics.
The decision not to recover therefore is presented as a choice and an embracing of a lifestyle. Pro Anas have a converse from usually held view, that Anorexia and Bulimia are eating disorders that often stem from feelings of low self esteem.
They believe instead that this is a lifestyles choice that somehow elevates them rather than see themselves as victims of painful and pernicious disorder.