Scrolling through the tumblr tag ‘pro- ana,’ pictures of shockingly thin-framed women are displayed.
Pro-ana, short for a pro-anorexia- nervosa lifestyle, refers to people who choose to imitate the eating disorder in which victims often starve themselves for extended periods of time. Patients with anorexia may view themselves with distorted body images.
“It’s absolutely disgusting and disappointing,” says 15-year-old Nelly Matos, from Boston Latin Academy, who struggled for a time with weight perceptions. “Girls who are pro-ana are imitating an often fatal disease and it is not okay.”
Almost 24 million Americans suffer from an eating disorder, according to kidshealth.org, and 95 percent of those are between the ages of 12 and 25.
Annabella Bautista, 15, from BLA, has also dealt with body stigmas and faults the current fad for the recent prevalence of eating disorders.
“I totally blame the obsession for having bikini bridges, thigh gaps, and protruding collar bones,” says Bautista.
“It is not -- and will never be -- okay to condition young girls with such fragile self-esteems that you need these things to be beautiful. You don’t.”
Still, there are hundreds of young
women -- both on and off the pro- ana online forums -- who don’t think simulation of the illness will lead to anything but a normal loss of weight.
“Well, I do not support the pro-ana movement, but if these girls don’t really have the disease and are just imitating it, they can stop any time,” says Annie Jones, 16, from Excel High School, “and hopefully that time will be soon -- once they come to their senses. I don’t think it’s that big of a deal.”