Several websites are oriented specifically toward promoting health body image, including AdiosBarbie (www.adiosbarbie.com), which is aimed at teen girls, and About Face (www.about-face.org), which is oriented toward refuting media images of women. Contrast that positive image with some of the websites that promote anorexia and bulimia as a “lifestyle choice” and include images that promote starvation and thinness even more extreme than those in fashion magazines. These websites have provoked a huge controversy, with arguments for and against their existence. At one time, these websites proliferated, but the outcry prompted many search engines to delete these websites from their search, making them difficult to locate. Therefore, seeing a proanorexia (“pro ana”) website has become more challenging. One website that worked (as of September, 2010) was Prothinspot and its message and images are shocking. Many other websites offer online support for individuals with eating disorders, and some of these websites are not entirely negative or discouraging but do not advocate for anorexia. Instead, they offer the possibility that anorexia is a free choice that some find attractive.
What do you think about these websites that promote anorexia as a free and informed choice? What do they think about the controversy as a free speech issue? How influential are these websites?