“Please, tell me this is not a real thing,” was my first thought when I heard about it. As I was scrolling through the hashtag “#anabuddy” on Instagram, I felt confused and heartbroken wondering how something like this could be a hobby for 15,000+ girls.
An “Ana Buddy” is a person that a girl finds through some sort of social media/Internet platform. This Ana Buddy motivates them to stop eating, and checks in with them on a daily basis with their progress of becoming anorexic. What I found to be most disturbing about this craze, is that these girls call being “Ana” a lifestyle that they have chosen to lose weight.
While looking into what Ana really means, I was most troubled by the welcome message I saw on a “Pro Ana” website.
…But be warned. This is a pro-ana website. That means that here, we view anorexia as a conscious lifestyle choice, not a disease.
If you “suffer” from or are “battling” anorexia, and looking to “recover” please leave. Here we are not victims of a disorder. We are here to support each other in continuing the lifestyle we chose.”
I could not, and still cannot, wrap my head around this “lifestyle” these girls have made for themselves. They give each other tips on how to eat food that looks like it is high in calories and what to consume to curb cravings. The site teaches girls to use excuses to skip meals, so that their friends and families never find out about their real habits. Some of the most disturbing quotes I came across were, “You’ll be fat if you eat today,” “What nourishes me, destroys me,” and “Just don’t eat, it’s that simple.” The thought of these girls ignoring the fact that anorexia is a real disorder, and instead shedding positive light on it, calling it a choice and lifestyle, breaks my heart for them and our society.
Today’s perception of a normal body and real beauty is completely and utterly warped. I want to know who started the idea that having a perfect body means being skinny, and that being beautiful means having to be perfect, and then I would like to slap them across the face… twice.
I’ve been noticing for a while now all of the body shaming going on across social media. Girls post links with articles body shaming thin girls because “REAL women have curves,” or there are posts about a celebrity’s weight gain. STOP ALL OF IT! Stop telling thin women to “eat a cheeseburger” and stop saying that curvy women “would be so much prettier if they lost weight.” We need to start empowering each other instead of tearing each other down. There is no true definition of what makes a “real” woman, we are ALL real women. What makes us real is that we all unique and not one person is the same.
A message to all girls everywhere: You ARE beautiful. Do not let society or anyone tell you otherwise. Your beauty is not because of your dress size, your bone structure, or whether or not you have a “thigh gap,” those things do not define you. What truly defines the real you is SO much more than outer appearances. Your inner-beauty deserves to be celebrated.
“Too many people overvalue what they are not and undervalue what they are.” ~Malcolm S. Forbes
If you want to lose weight, do it because you want to love your body the whole time, and not just when you see results. Nourish your body with healthy foods and good exercise because denying your body of nutrients and food will not do you any favors.
If you know someone who is or might be struggling with an eating disorder, educate yourself on the signs, and use any resources to help get them the help they need. Even bringing it to the attention to someone like your RA is a step in the right direction — please, do not sit back and ignore it.