Thinspiration

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Thinspiration
Thinspiration is the inspiration for a person with an eating disorder to continue starving themselves in order to reach their goals of being skinny. There are an immense amount of websites and blogs purely dedicated to the concept of “Thinspo.” A group of scholars did research on this new trend, revealing startling statistics in their article “e-Ana and e-Mia: A Content Analysis of Pro-Eating Disorder Web Sites.” After examining a few different “Thinspo” blogs and websites, they came to various conclusions of the damaging effects Thinspiration has on women. Kate Harding, author of “How Do You Fuck a Fat Woman?” from Yes Means Yes! discusses what it is like to be on the opposite spectrum of the scale. She shares what it feels like to be told that being large is not normal and how that affected her life. On the contrary, blogs on the popular website Tumblr.com have been dedicated to giving inspiration to women to become this thin image. They show graphic pictures and tips to help women and girls not deviate from this social construct that says normal is skinny. Vlogger Laci Green, 22-year old Berkeley grad, shows her opinion on this new trend that is sweeping across the internet in a few of her videos. Her young age helps her audience relate to most of her video topics and form a connection to someone who might understand what it is like to live in today’s society. Jean Kilbourne’s documentary Killing Us Softly 4 takes a look at the way media sends the image to young women about what the ideal body should look like. This image that is portrayed in the media has been growing constantly to include women that seem to be skinnier and skinnier as time goes on. Thinness is no longer about the desire to be skinny, but has evolved into a need to be as emaciated as possible. The social, and more specifically, the cultural, contexts that are screaming in this issue need to be heard by not only women, but society in general. With the use of thinspo-inspired studies, essays, blogs, and viral videos I will explain how my research illuminates this context of the film and discuss how the understanding in the film is developed. As part of Kilbourne’s argument in her film, she says that there needs to be a change in the culture’s attitude about food and the way we eat. Unfortunately, she states, “That’s very difficult to do in a culture that teaches all of us to hate our bodies.” If one’s body does not fit the mold that society has created, they are not worthy of anything. Kate Harding addresses this issue in her essay “How Do You Fuck a Fat Woman?” Harding details the way the society has made her feel for not taking part in one of today’s social norms—being skinny. She was told, like many other women in our culture, that being a larger woman is not normal and will ruin your life. Harding claims that if a woman’s genes predispose them to fatness, then an issue arises because in our society, “fat is repulsive!”(68). The notion that there is a simple solution for fat women: Diet, as Harding suggests, is definitely not that simple. To maintain that diet and weight requires restricting calorie intake “to below the World Health Organization’s threshold for starvation and spending way more time exercising than you do hanging out with friends and family,” (Harding 74). All that this requires is to want it badly enough. Moreover, “you must want it that badly, because fat is Not Hot. To anyone, ever,” (Harding 74). In the “e-Ana and e-Mia” study, the authors report that “13% of the sites included "reverse triggers" or images of overweight people, [and]11% showed photos of food,” (Rebecka Peebles, et al.). This exact mindset is what leads women to not only desire skinniness, but to demand it, to do anything they possibly can to attain it because being “not normal” is not okay.

Kilbourne’s documentary presents images to the audience of what the media is feeding our society. This includes pictures, commercials, and voice clips...
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