Cyberspace, something that was once considered a fad, has developed into a tool that allows people struggling with anorexia to potentially find a sanctuary from the regulatory systems in popular culture that are applied to women’s bodies. Cyberspace provides an alternative space for women with eating disorders or body issues. The space created by cyberspace is potentially safer for women to meet because it allows anonymity while simultaneously being part of a community that the built environment is unable to provide. The components that make up pro-anorexia websites are usually considered abnormal, repugnant, or deviant within popular culture, because popular culture does not accept the way anorexics interpret images of the body. This popular view of people with anorexia does not allow anorexics to function as an accepted part of public space or popular culture. The paradox of pro-anorexia websites serving as a sanctuary space for anorexics is that cyberspace is a public space. Since the pro-anorexia websites are public they not only serve as a sanctuary for women, but also act as a metaphor for the anorexic body. The anorexic body is a site of struggle and resistance, which is also true for the pro-anorexia website which is constantly threatened with being shut down because it is in opposition of the popular view of the body. In this paper, I explore the type of space that pro-anorexia websites create through the analysis of the components that most of these websites contain, such as, a warning page, definitions of eating disorders, discussion boards, ana doctrines, and “thinspiration” galleries.
Pro-anorexia, also known as pro-ana, websites are a genre of websites ...
... middle of paper ...
...s into the anorexic psyche and body. The websites are sites of contradictions, much like the anorexic psyche and body. They allow non-sufferers a new perspective on eating disorders, but also reveal some of the mixed messages presented everyday in popular culture.
“Ambrosia Refusal.” Home page. 06 December 2003.
“Ana’s Journal.” Home page. 08 December 2003.
“An Ana World.” Home page. 06 December 2003.
“The Anorexic Files.” Home page. 06 December 2003.
“House-of-Sins.” Home page. 06 December 2003.
“Rain Baby.” Home page. 06 December 2003.
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