Any addiction may be defined as the abuse of a pleasure. Fasting certainly has its pleasures; the exercise of control, the novel dissociation from food, the beauty of sacrificing yourself and desires to something you consider more important than survival. Fasting out of grief can be cathartic and cleansing; fasting in worship can be a powerful affirmation of faith. Fasting for health reasons can breed a cherished appreciation of your body.

Anorexia, and other eating disorders, can be considered an addiction to the quite normal (and healthy) pleasures of eating or fasting.

So a pro-anorexia website is somewhat equivalent to a pro-alcoholism website (I'm sure those exist, too). If a blessing, it's a highly mixed one. For companionship to be consistently helpful, love must be involved. And anorexia is a hate driven disease. Self-hatred, but hatred nonetheless. The example from Ayn Rand demonstrates that sort of lifestyle in an austere, artistic sense... but the fact is, humans are not made of marble, and a person who truly hated herself and others as much as that woman would gradually shrink away from enviable and devolve into pathetic. Hatred has a redux quality to it.

I am not going to pre-judge people who are affirmatively anorexic; it's certainly possible that they have plenty of unconditional love to offer each other. But people seek out audiences that reflect their own perception of themselves. Your typical anorexic would feel uncomfortable around a group of people who strongly encourage him or her to care for the self.

I don't know how much it reinforces a behavior to see it reflected in your friends. I don't even know if there is a cure for an addictive personality. One thing I do know, is that the majority of people afflicted with anorexia are physically not yet mature. And children do not have the same individual rights as adults... as a biological imperative for survival, if you completely disregard moral arguments.

This is hardly the first time in history that the aesthetic and even the solvent qualities of self-destruction were celebrated. I toy with the belief that our fascination with it is a simple corruption of an even deeper adoration of self-denial. We come to the point of believing that anything even remotely involving self-sacrifice is beautiful, even when the results before our eyes are not, because sacrificing our own desires is one of the primary ways we affirm our existence as willing beings.

Which is precisely what anorexics are trying to do.

As regards the rights of the body; any person in this world has rights coupled with realistic constraints. You have the right to attempt to walk through walls, but you will get bruises. You have the right to kill yourself, but it will affect other people. One of the truisms along this line is: you may do anything you wish to your body, but if you have an addictive tendency for it, you will lose control over yourself. Addicts have the same rights as any other person, but the choices they make are more vital, have consequences more dire.

You play with starvation. It's your choice. I have read a few of your nodes, and you do seem just a little bit overly concerned with the gastro-intestinal -- but that is not enough to label you an addict. It seems to be a hobby. If you were an addict, anorexia would rapidly cease to be a choice for you. What does that mean with regards to your rights? Alcoholics who wish to stop must make some difficult choices regarding friendships and social situations. Anorexics who wish to regain control over themselves (paradoxical, isn't it) must also limit their exposure to the encouragement of their disease.

When people protest this sort of webpage, it is a cart-before-the-horse type reaction. They want to see young people shielded from the encouragement of the anorexic addiction, before the young people have made up their minds to quit. It doesn't work... but I understand the impulse. Especially since the kind of realistic self-knowledge and lethal determination that are required even to decide to fight an addiction are... not only almost impossible, but truly horrifying... in the minds of adolescents. And some people will resort to censorship in order to defy helplessness.

Personally, I don't believe those websites are helping at all. I do believe that our inability to help these young people without their cooperation (or that of their families) is quite real. In the absence of any constructive action, I will not waste more energy.

But I'm a bit bizarre... I don't stare at wrecked cars, either.

Being a veteran of pro anorexia websites, I feel that I am in a position to comment on how they are structured.Since the age of ten, I have been hospitalised once and have seen four different therapists in a bid to rid my body of anorexia. It is truly no different to the rehabilitation of an alcoholic or a drug addict as you can only get better when you are ready to do so.

The first time that I stumbled across pro ana websites, was two summers ago.It is still in existence so I will not reveal its name but for the last two years it has provided me with the support I needed to get myself better.Many people believe that they are detrimental to young girls(and boys) who are in a vunerable position but it honestly depends upon the individual and how they use them.

Many people came in for diet tips;these were usually sent packing with a stern word or two ringing in their ears as anorexia is not something that can be taught. It is one of the purest forms of self destruction. Yes, there were tips swapped between us but the majority did not involve any drugs and could already be found if looked for either on the internet or in your local bookstore. There was positive encouragement for those who wanted to get better and those who were dangerously underweight were encouraged to gain a little. Bulimia, orthorexia and compulsive overeating were talked about in a similar way.

If anything can be said about these anorexic websites is that they offer a support network for terrified young women where they can talk about domestic violence, rape, incest and any other problems that can lead to the want to starve for perfection. Most of the pro ana websites provide a disclaimer along the lines of:

Diatribe of the moment: The Mission Statement

Neither I, nor this site, are trying to help anyone kill themselves. I have said before, will always believe, and always say whether I recover on not - Anorexia Nervosa is a mental disease that reflects an imperfection in the make up of your ability to process emotion and stimulus yes, I made that up, it's not regurgitated pap-speak from some Cosmo, like haters use.

ANOREXIA NERVOSA IS NOT A LIFESTYLE CHOICE. You will *never* hear me say that. Anyone who believes that it is is wrong. Sorry. If you are indeed anorexic, you have no control over your mind, and can not make that kind of choice over what you put into your body. You crave control, and think that by doing this you are indeed in control, but in fact, you have less control than you ever imagined. This sounds like a anti-statement, but hell, it's true. I even hate the term "ana" because it takes the edge of the seriousness of the disease - makes it conversational. Makes it the in thing. makes it okay.

THIS SITE IS NEVER MEANT TO TEACH PEOPLE HOW TO BE ANOREXIC. I don't think it's something that you can learn anyway. And even if the tips on distracting yourself can get you to skip a meal or two one day, that does not an eating disorder make.

I don't want anyone here who wants to "lose weight". I do not want anyone here who thinks they are fine but could stand to "lose a couple for their boyfriends". Tips are to give you fresh ideas on how to stay on track so that you don't fall into a depression and kill yourself - not to teach you how to "not eat".

If you are anorexic, then you do not need tips on how to not eat. You do not need to be told how to stop eating. You do not need to be motivated. You look in the mirror. Problem solved. If not... surprise! Go to Weight Watchers. This ain't no diet. This is pure mental sickness. This site is for support: We pat each other on the backs for our successes as they are successes to us and hug each other for our failures. We support each other through the rough patches and demand that you take care of yourself when another is in danger.

So much more than anti-food-ness goes on here. We have a way of being able to bare our souls to each other because we don't need to hide the most basic part of our mental makeup. It is a starting point: we all know where each other are coming from, we don't need to explain that, and we can trust each other more than anyone else in our worlds. It's a support group in the best sense of the phrase: You're not okay, and that's okay. You can come here and try to find a bit of comfort in knowing that you're not alone, won't be judged and no one is going to tell you to fix yourself. You'll do that on your own when you're ready. And we will support you in that decision as well. Because that takes the most strength of all: Wanting to be normal

This is taken from the website that I used to frequent the most-you build up friendships with the other girls and some I am still in contact with now despite the fact that I will never return to the website in question. Why will I never return? Because a door has shut on those ten years of my life that I wasted due to me hating the reflection in the mirror.

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