As a young teenage girl, I've experienced quite a lot of emotions during my existence on this planet. Some were joyous, yet some...not so....pleasing, shall we say.
There was a documentary I watched recently. It was called "Taboo Beauty". The programme talked about how people went to extreme lengths to get to what they believed was beauty. From breast enlargements to leg extensions, there were all sorts of methods to achieve this image of "beautiful". However, the case study that struck me the most was Isabelle Caro, the late French actress and model. Isabelle is most well-known for her campaign in Milan fashion week where she was pictured on a billboard, showcasing the effects of anorexia. Sadly, Isabelle passed away two months after making the documentary. I highly recommend watching this documentary which can be found here or here.
One of the things that startled me the most in the documentary was the mention of pro-ana (short for pro-anorexia) websites. These websites were for people who believed anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa were healthy ways of life. On these websites they would share tips and tricks of hiding anorexia and offer each other encouragement of their weight loss goals. While losing weight is not something to be ashamed of, I fully believe that it should be done in a healthy and safe way.
The one thing that I am really hoping is done soon is the banning of these pro-ana websites. I am not here to judge, nor am I here to insult anybody suffering from this condition. However, if 13 year old me came across this website, who knows what state I would be in today. Or even if I would be here today.
Anorexia is not something to joke about. It is one of the leading causes of death between girls aged 15 to 24. That's not to say that women over 24 and girls under 15 cannot suffer from this condition as well. Anorexia can have incredibly damaging effects on heath - both mentally and physically. Physically, it can damage so many vital organs, lead to a lack of essential vitamins and can even lead to death. Mentally, the problems can be considered as even worse.
This article I read today inspired me to let my voice be heard. The article talks about banning hashtags like "thinspo" (short for thinspiration) and "proana" (short for pro-anorexia), on websites such as Instagram. Personally, I whole heartedly agree with this article. As someone who has struggled with body image issues, I know that had I clicked on one wrong thing, I might not be sitting here today. Instagram is becoming more popular every day. This means more users and more of the population online. However, I don't think it is right to expose more and more of our society to this disease.
In the article an Instagram user’s name was mentioned. Out of curiosity, I decided to look up her Instagram pictures. What I saw truly affected me. I saw a person who needed help. A person who was harming herself for not seeing what others saw. A few pictures made me feel quite sick to my stomach and I am not one to react that way to anything. On her pictures, people were commenting and saying “please stop…you are beautiful…don’t do this.” It truly upset me seeing someone suffer and hurt themselves this way.
This needs to stop now.
I guess what I am trying to say today is, if you think someone is suffering from this condition, help them out.
If there is anyone out there suffering from this condition, talk to someone. Anyone. You can even just leave me a message. You can do it anonymously. I understand. Trust me, I really do. I'm here for you.
Take care of yourself, love yourself and help others.
You are beautiful.
All my love,
♥ Jess ♥