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Does ana=Anorexia? Online Interaction and the Construction of New Discursive Objects

  • David C. Giles
Chapter

Abstract

In 2001, glossy lifestyle magazine Cosmopolitan unveiled ‘the world’s most dangerous secret society’.1 This wasn’t the paramilitary wing of a terrorist organisation, or a Nazi paedophile network, but a motley band of interlinked websites promoting something described by the magazine as ‘pro-ana’: a romanticised, fetishised take on eating disorders that bestowed a mythic status on anorexia as a state of purity achievable only through the ascetic discipline of the dedicated faster. So what, you might wonder, if a bunch of weirdoes want to starve themselves in the name of some bizarre quasi-religious cult? But then came the media scare: this could be your daughter, teenage and troubled, innocently surfing the web, stumbling across horror sites filled with skeletal pictures of starving women (‘thinspiration’), seductive imagery, and ‘tips and tricks’ for cheating your family and friends by concealing the extent of your eating disorder, and before you can set the parental controls on the computer, she’ll be brainwashed by this evil sect ….

Keywords

Anorexia Nervosa Eating Disorder Mental Health Nurse Terrorist Organisation Recovery Site 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Recommended reading

  1. • Brotsky, S. R., & Giles, D. C. (2007). Inside the ‘pro-ana’ community: A covert online participant observation. Eating Disorders: The Journal of Treatment and Prevention, 15(2), 93–109.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. • Malson, H. (1998). The thin woman: Feminism, post-structuralism and the social psychology of anorexia nervosa. London: Routledge.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. • Tierney, S. (2008). Creating communities in cyberspace: Pro-anorexia web sites and social capital. Journal of Psychiatric and Mental Health Nursing, 15(4), 340–343.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© David C. Giles 2016

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  • David C. Giles

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