Here is what the commenter (Lisa) had to say:
Skinnygossip isn’t a pro ana site, it’s a pro skinny site. The owner of SkinnyGossip doesn’t encourage mental illness and there is a support group for girls who suffered from eating disorders on the Skinnygossip forums. Some of the “starving tips” may seem dumb but they don’t encourage you to harm yourself in any way, the term is just used to get more attention. SkinnyGossip is more about fashion and models then it is about losing weight.
Really? I thought to myself, taking another look at the site. And yes, Skinny Gossip was just as I remembered. It’s the classic case study of a pro-ana blog and demonstrates all the insidious ways such sites operate.
Pro-anorexia (pro-ana), pro-bulimia (pro-mia), and pro-eating disorder (pro-ed) blogs are “how to” guides encouraging and promoting eating disorders. I’m going to refer to them jointly as pro-ana blogs. According to the National Eating Disorders Association’s (NEDA’s) Media Guidelines For Responsible Coverage of Pro-Anorexia/Pro-Bulimia/Thinspiration:
Pro-ana/pro-mia/thinspo refers to web content that intentionally encourage or glorify dangerous behaviors characteristic of those who struggle with the eating disorders Anorexia Nervosa and Bulimia Nervosa, which can be life-threatening.
The National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders (ANAD) notes:
On these sites, users are instructed and motivated to lose weight to be part of an “elite,” though hazardous, online community. Some initially appear friendly and benign. However, they can pose a serious threat to some individuals, not simply because they promote eating disorder behaviors, but because they build a sense of community that is unhealthy. They lure the impressionable and persuade them that the Pro-Ana community is providing caring and nurturing advice.
That’s perhaps the most dangerous part. These websites aren’t necessarily going to come out and say I’m going to teach how to have an eating disorder, even though it’s bad for you. Some are overt, unapologetic and defend the “lifestyle.” Others, however, are more subtle and sinister. According to ANAD:
It’s also increasingly more difficult to detect Pro-Ana sites. Many are disguised as positive sites where people help each other lose weight together. They come together under the banner of “thinspiration,”dispensing tips and tricks to lose weight. Some begin innocently enough but quickly descend into full-fledged Pro-Ana. In June 2010, researchers from Johns Hopkins studied the content of 180 sites they discovered while searching for terms like “Pro-Anorexia” and “thin and support.” 83% of the sites they viewed contained suggestions for engaging in eating disorder behaviors. A minority provided information on recovery, but also encouraged eating disorder behaviors. Contradicting information like this may influence innocent and impressionable site users, like children, adolescents and those who already feel isolated.