Pinterest Pro-Anorexia Community Uses Boards to Spread “Thinspiration”

Fashion and models are often to blame for many women’s desire to be unnaturally thin.

Take for example Romanian fashion model Ioana Spangenberg whose 20-inch waist  on her 84 pound frame has recently gotten a great deal of attention, especially from the pro-ana (pro-anorexia) community.

The images of Spangeberg’s extreme hourglass frame are shocking and I wouldn’t be surprised if you could find them among the myriad of images on Pinterest, the latest social media craze.

The site has found its own pro-ana community with many users using their boards to promote “thinspiration” or “thinspo,” that is, images of skinny women that serve as inspiration for those who view them, hence “thinspiration.”

Pinterest’s appeal for many is the use of images. For a community with an unhealthy fixation on finding the “perfect” (read thinnest) woman’s body, the use of images is extremely attractive, and never ending given the countless number of users. Having a digital thinspiration scrapbook with the ability to then Facebook “like” or tweet images furthers the reach of the thinspo images.

The thinspo images on Pinterest range from muscular and fit to emaciated and unhealthy. Some of the images even encourage women to be extremely thin like one called “Skinny Smarts” which tells women to drink water, brush their teeth, drink green tea, chew gum, paint their nails, or look at thinso images all before deciding to eat.

While there is a “report pin” option on Pinterest none of the options – nudity or pornography, attacks a group or individual, graphic violence, hateful speech or symbols, and spam – fall under the thinspiration category. Many of these images, however, glorify an incredibly unhealthy body as beautiful and should be taken down for the health and safety of the entire Pinterest community.

What do you think? Are these images damaging to women and the Pinterest community?

Related from Care2:

Girls Take to YouTube to Ask, Am I Pretty or Ugly?

Romanian Model Weighs 84 Pounds, 20-inch Waist

Vogue Writer Publicly Humiliates 7-Year-Old Daughter on Diet

It’s Illegal to Be An Underweight Model in Israel

Christy Mckenna


Tiffany B.
Tiffany B5 years ago

Why are we encouraging eating disorders?!? Seriously a big problem!!

Kathy Perez
Kathy Johnson5 years ago

im against women starving themselves BUT it isnt illegal for them to feel the way they do. All we can do is educate our young women and do what we can to put the truth in them.

Susan E.
Susan E5 years ago

I think the article mistakenly points to Pinterest as being one-sided. The fact that uber-skinny bodies are pinned is no more telling than using Google, or any other search engine, to find the same images. Boards and pins on Pinterest are as varied as the internet itself.
People, like myself, who enjoy Pinterest pick and chose images that have interest to them. Certainly, DIY, qulting, knitting, crochet, art, design, photography, jokes, inspirational quotes, etc. are ignored in the article.
Personally, I have enjoyed sharing ideas and my likes with my family members and actually feel it has brought us closer together with our own inside jokes, life lessons, and common interests.
Pinterest is the messenger, not the message.

Sarah M.
Sarah M5 years ago

boycott it!

Hannah Short
Hannah Short5 years ago

i dont get how anyone can starve themselves or would want to become unnaturally skinny. i remember once i wanted to see what an anorexic goes though with not eating. I didn't even last though half the morning. i love to eat, i eat a lot and I'm skinny, they need to learn to love the right foods that keep them healthy and at a decent weight. a little bit of flab never hurt anybody, the human body does after all need some fat in it

colleen p.
colleen p5 years ago

Laura D.
Laura D5 years ago

@Jennifer K--I think you have misinterpreted my first sentence. I'm not saying Pinterest is less "bad" than Google. I am pointing out that they are both tools and serve as mediums for what people want to post or find. They are inherently without morality in the same way that canvas and paint and cameras has no morality. To say that Pintorest or Google has a damaged reputation for having pro-anexoric sites or rape porn would be to me like condemning a camera company in which the cameras had been used to photograph child pornography. Pro-Anorexia postings, blogs, forums etc, damage themselves and the reputation of the users--or not so much the anorectic but the culture that created that anorectic.

Juliette Tacon
Juliette Tacon5 years ago

I use Pinterest. I have never noticed images of super thin people. But then pro-ana and body image are not subjects I follow. I'm not saying they aren't there. I do know that people pin images of people of all sizes and shapes including those of abese people. Everyone finds different images beautiful. As it should be. I believe there is balance in body image pictures on Pinterest. As it should be.

Michaela S.
Past Member 5 years ago

If stick thin people look in the mirror and see a fat person, they have a mental disease, they have a distorted image of themselves and completely lost touch with reality. Period. I don't give a toss if a teen thinks this is a life style or cool or whatever, you cannot sustain a normal life by being drastically underweight and eventually you do lasting damage to your body. Period.

There are people suffering from cachexia where a body succumbs to disease like cancer and cannot hold onto nutrition any longer and the body literally wastes away. These people would give anything to be able to eat, gain weight and live and these teens are doing this to themselves on purpose. There has to be something wrong there....

Some kids think it's cool to take drugs, smoke or drink and they are proud of themselves when they are off their heads. Would you also say it is their life style choice?

Life style choice.... my foot!

wesley a.
wes Allen5 years ago

Theeople are sick.