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If you are on Facebook, Instagram or Pinterest, you have probably came across the words ‘thinspiration’ and ‘fitspiration’ They are usually accompanied by images of thin women, helping to ‘inspire’ others to get thin or/and get fit.
Thinspiration or ‘thinspo’ is images of skinny women, which are used to motivate oneself in to losing weight. This term is associated with eating disorders and specifically with groups who promote eating disorders. One of the best known groups is ‘Pro Ana’. The images usually have thigh gaps and visible collar bones and hip bones.
These are some images which came up when I googled ‘thinspiration’:
Some of these images are very striking. Especially the one with the quote ‘skip dinner, wake up thinner’. What if an impressionable 14 year old girl came across this?
These images are usually accompanied with diet plans which have a certain amount of calories per day.
It’s clear to see that this term and everything that goes with it promotes an unhealthy lifestyle and mental state in the hope to be thin or skinny. It is scary and saddening society of girls and women who are joining together to get thin at any cost.
Tumblr is the home of these thinspo blogs, societies and images which promote this lifestyle. However, it has announced a policy change banning any site that advocates self harming behaviors in general and eating disorders in particular.
Pinterest agreed to remove images that actively promote harm, although I don’t know the specifics of their criteria for removing an image.
When I searched Pinterest for “thinspo”, I got a warning at the top of my search page, telling me, “Eating disorders are not lifestyle choices, they are mental disorders that if left untreated can cause serious health problems or could even be life-threatening,” and referring me to treatment and support options.
I think it is extremely positive that there are policies and companies out there acknowledging the damage they do.
On the other hand, fitness has become increasingly popular in recent times. The slogan which generally goes with ‘fitspiration’, ‘Fit is the new skinny’ is apparently to highlight that thinness isn’t the goal.
‘Fitspiration’ or ‘fitspo’ is images of skinny women which are used to motivate oneself in to getting fit. These images usually have women in workout gear, visible abs, muscles, sweat and motivational quotes.
These are some of the images I got when i googles ‘fitspiration’:
Is this just thinspo in a sports bra?
Although fitspiration praises healthy eating and exercising, it just trades one obsession for another.
Fitspo promotes a realistically unattainable body image, while masking it as strength, unless you are a dedicated athlete/fitness pro. If you want to have defined legs? Spend hours on the treadmill. If you want to feel “sexy”? Don’t even think about having that brownie.
Your body is not a machine. It needs a rest days from exercise. Your muscles will fail when they run out of lactic acid. Your body is so well designed, it tells you when enough is enough. Or, even if you just don’t feel like exercising, thats OK too.
These images of bodies which are seen in the media as the ‘ideal body’ can have an as deadly impact on our self esteem and body image mentality as thinspo images. It’s important to take a step back from these and be realistic.
Exercise should make you proud of what you can do and not ashamed of what you are. Just because our culture associates being healthy with eating a salad, doesn’t mean it is.
Your body is yours. Not an image on Tumblr or Pinterest.
Thanks for reading!!
Until next time, Victoria