I was on Pinterest looking at health and wellness things. I stumbled over this image (right), nestled between hundreds of pictures of flat tummies and avocados and almonds. Thinspo is the new(ish) euphemism used by pro-ana sites for pictures of (often painfully) thin bodies to motivate or fat bodies to shame. I didn’t know what thinspo was, so I googled it. Two things happened.
- I realized that Pinterest is crammed with Thinspo. There are so many pins about weight loss and exercise and they rarely include a picture of a body that isn’t either “fat and in-progress” or stick thin. Further, the thin pictures are often cropped to include just the flat abs, slender thighs, or perky derriere. I felt like a veil had been lifted. I saw these every day and occasionally had a twinge of self-consciousness or something. I guess because I’m pretty healthy and haven’t had big issues with dieting or body image for years, it didn’t hit me too hard. If I had more than average hang-ups about my weight, however, I can see how Pinterest could become a tool of my obsession over my weight. Yikes.
- I stumbled over this blog post by Alicia Lutes, “It Happened to Me: I Found My Picture On a ThinSpo Blog.”
In the post, Lutes describes posting to her personal blog about having some creep on OKCupid send her a message telling her she was fat and then finding the post reblogged on a ThinSpo blog as “evidence” that men really do care about a woman’s weight.
The article does a beautiful job of describing what the encounter meant to her and how it hit on her own long-lived body image issues: “It’s weird when you can look down at yourself and say ‘This. This moment right here is the moment that something really changes for me.’ Because when a girl who runs a thinspo blog uses your fat body’s experience as a reason to starve herself, things just become a little bit clearer.”
Even better, Lutes includes a compassionate message to the author of the thinspo blog about the logic underlying her belief that she has to be “thin for him; thin for everyone.”:
“Living your life for other people’s happiness is no life at all. Flip that idea on its head a bit and really think about how irresponsible you’re being towards yourself.
You love other people, warts and all, right? I imagine this “him” that you speak of — real or otherwise — you would love him and all of his faults, right? Like, if he had freckles, or if he maybe didn’t look like David Beckham. Or if his facial hair grew in a little bit patchy. Or if he started balding around age 40. You wouldn’t be so fair weather and fickle with your love of a person, right? Because love is real, and it’s deep. It doesn’t go away just because his one pinky finger might be longer than the other, right? Because we’re all adults here and we all know that if it does, then it was never real love to begin with; we know this.”
It’s a pretty fantastic, snarky, endearing read. Click on over and read it in full.