What is proana?
Pro-ana is an online subculture made up of anorexics and bulimics seeking to strengthen the conviction of their eating disorders with tips, ana buddies (for mutual competition), thinspiration, charts, and so on.
What is post-proana?
Post-proana is an online subculture made up of people actively working to decrease disordered eating habits. Recognizing that proana communities provided teens and adults alike with an appreciated supportive environment, we have created a community that provides support without encouraging anorexic or bulimic behavior patterns. When the mirror lies, each person must learn to rely on the eyes of those who care about us. Those eyes are reading these pages. Working together as a team, we are overcoming our eating disorders together. Successfully. See for yourself.
Are you an anti-pro-ana site?
Complicated answer: We are all for free speech regarding eating disorders, but we are against the creation of communities with a blatant purpose of normalizing the self-harm. Disclaimers on proana sites do not spare their site creators from moral responsibility. We urge proana site owners to at least acknowledge the sway each owner holds over crowds of well-meaning people who want to lose weight for various misplaced reasons. Readers will copy what they read. We are anti-spreading-negative-behavioral-patterns-as-a-sustainable-lifestyle.
Why not call yourselves anti-ana or anti-proana then?
If you create a self identity based on a negative first thought, it can be easy to put off self-healing by pursuing a witch hunt of those currently dealing with eating disorders.
We are letting go of the need to create a boogeyman out of people who suffer from disordered eating, and instead learning to accept ourselves as we are, as we discover that a lot of negative opinions we had of ourselves just weren’t true.
So you’re not proana?
We aren’t proana. We are deciding to take an active role in our own recovery. We encourage growth and progress towards that goal. Proana communities have an air of permissiveness in regards to self-harm, as the people visiting the site want to feel “allowed” to hurt themselves, carte blanche. We on WBB are actively choosing to say it is no longer acceptable to hurt ourselves, and we will take as long as it takes to bite our eating disorders back. If we are not strong enough, we will become stronger.
What if I’m not ready for recovery?
What’s stopping you from even considering it? No one is forcing you in this setting. We just want to open people up to the idea that recovery could be a sustainable lifestyle choice.
What’s the point of We Bite Back?
We’re trying to grow past our eating disorders to have happy, normal, fulfilling lives. Yes, the orange is scary. Do you know how many calories are in a glass or orange juice? It’s absolutely terrifying to an anorexic, but we swallow our fear and the OJ anyway.
How did WeBiteBack get started?
On May 10th, 2006, Ms. Orange, as we’ll call her, set up We Bite Back, an online forum for those struggling with eating disorders to support one another…
Ms. Orange wanted so much to see her friends become healthy, happy people. There are so many incredibly intelligent people afflicted with eating disorders. After she built the site, Ms. Orange watched people recover and start doing amazing things with their lives that they previously said could not be done. They were starting to believe in themselves.
What’s so bad about proana?
The media demonizes the eating disorder community online by and large with scary tales that make proana communities appear to be actively recruiting. If someone is seeking out such sites, there’s a deeper underlying problem there - regardless of whether or not such sites are then there to be found (haven’t been deleted yet). We Bite Back addresses the issues that drive these self-destructive longings. Talk to our older members to hear success stories in the make. Our community approach to recovery is working for exactly the same reason why proana is making the incidence of eating disorders so much worse. You are who your friends are.
Won’t people think this site is proana and bad and try to shut it down?
Many free online community providers will delete proana communities when found, such as MSN Communities or Yahoo Groups. The complaints from concerned parents worldwide has urged many sites to try and flush out these groups.
This site does not encourage eating disorders. When someone on this site talks about her problems, others suggest constructive strategies to become healthier, stronger. Any concerned parents or friends could take a peek at our forum to see that we are all working together to bite back. We welcome suggestions to improve our community and recovery strategies. The people who write on these boards are what make The Orange the powerful recovery tool it is.
Does We Bite Back shut down proana sites?
We aren’t involved in any online petitions to shut down any communities. We are working on healing ourselves and making ourselves healthy, happy people. There are other sites out there who have taken upon themselves the crusade of shutting down proana. We Bite Back is here merely to fill the void that those shut downs leave behind, and to give our community strategies towards health and happiness.
We believe that in the last six years proana has existed on the fringes of online culture, massive shut downs have not solved the problem. If anything, they have made the pro-ana communities thrive, giving these web sites free publicity and their members feelings of persecution and alienation. Every time there is a news story on the television about proana sites, more teenage girls with problematic home lives or school lives go google whatever it is they can google. What happens? A bunch of girls form support networks with other people online with eating disorders, when originally they joined in order to learn how to lose more weight.
First people want to lose weight at all costs, then they want to help people on the sites who are worse off (because they form personal friendships with these people, and come to understand that anorexia isn’t as cool as it first seemed), and then eventually learn that they can’t help anyone else until they help themselves.
We must learn how to help ourselves. We must learn to be more open to discussing eating disorders in our communities, in our families, in our circles of friends.
That’s where we come in. We Bite Back is all about keeping that support network in place without having to pander to some tired and silly notion of anorexia being a person. Believe me, this is a huge step in the right direction.
Can we talk?
Sure, why not? Use the “Ask” feature to ask us anything!
Where’s that forum again?
Join We Bite Back today!