November 9 2016
Dear President Trump,
A girl wakes up in the morning already exhausted even though she had over ten hours of sleep. When she stands, she momentarily blacks out and sits down again. Her second attempt at standing is successful, and she begins to dress for school. Begrudgingly, she completes various exercises until she feels like collapsing. On her way to school she turns on the radio, but her ears are deaf to the music. She only concentrates on the intense pains in her stomach. When she walks into school the sun shines, but the warmth does not put even the slightest of smiles on her face. Her cold reminds her that her immune system has been low recently. She can only feel weakness and pain. What had happened to her? Was she dying? In actuality, she had the cure to her disease but did not allow herself to access it. This treatment was not poisonous or deadly; it was enough food to nourish her body. This is an average teenage girl’s daily routine as she is suffering from an eating disorder. If her illness becomes serious enough, she could die from depression, starving, or sickness. Eating disorders are perpetuated by websites that promote them as a “lifestyle.” These websites need to be regulated in order to protect young girls from the mental illnesses that they promote.
People are skeptical of the good effects of regulating pro-ED, pro eating disorder, websites. Many naïve critics say that regulating websites pro-ED websites will drive them underground. They declare that it is too difficult to regulate all websites that promote eating disorders because the web is too vast of a platform to regulate it. This stance denies the fact that regulating websites will allow them to stay active while still protecting their harmful motto from society, and denies youths who are on the verge of developing an eating disorder are heavily influenced by these websites. This viewpoint is ignorant. The benefits of regulating pro-ED websites outweigh the difficulty of the regulations. Regulation policies that occurred to deter people from smoking did not drive smokers underground; it actually reduced the amount of smokers. If webpages that promote eating disorders are regulated the number of girls that fall into the trap of these mental illnesses can be reduced.
Girls and boys alike compare themselves to an idea of perfection that is unattainable and unrealistic; this leads to eating disorders. The saying, “comparison kills,” is not a hyperbole. Out of all mental disorders, eating disorders have the highest mortality rate. Sites that exonerate eating disorders, referred to as pro-mia or pro-ana websites, are constantly putting out the message that anorexia and bulimia are lifestyles not mental illnesses. This makes them seem more common, more enticing, and more innocuous for vulnerable young girls and boys (parallelism). The innocent girl is drawn to the fruit of the serpent. When she realizes the corrupt thing she has done, she is already trapped in a desert that once appeared to be a lovely garden. Achieving a body type the society says is “perfect” lures girls in to websites that can cause them to develop a mental illness. These websites are cult-like groups that make young boys and girls feel accepted, feel loved, and feel cherished. Then, they can develop illnesses such as body dysmorphia, anorexia, depression, or bulimia. People who curate pro-ED websites post “thinspiration” pictures that display and sexualize emaciated girls for “inspiration.” Then they will post pictures of larger girls to scare teenagers into eating less. Some of the more intense sights treat their disorder like a religion and worship it. Girls know they are slaves to their disorder, but they continue to let it consume them. Are we going to allow young boys and girls to waste their lives away revering a superficial idol? The younger generation cannot live in a world where they feel inferior to the people around them because of their weight. Seventy-eight percent of these horrifying websites allow unlimited access to anyone with an internet connection. If these damaging websites were advertised as wrong many girls would have less incentive to log on to these easily accessible webpages.
Adolescent minds need to be shielded from the toxin of pro-ED websites to prevent the occurrences of eating disorders. Adding regulations such as pop ups to warn of the harmful effects of pro-ED websites can deter adolescents from looking at their content. Making an age limit of 18 for access to the websites can halt the affect these websites have on young minds. It is the duty of our government to prevent the insanity and self-hatred that is caused by pro-ED websites.
Depowski, Kristen, and Kelly Hart. "Pro-Ana Websites Should Be Regulated." Eating Disorders, edited by Roman Espejo, Greenhaven Press, 2012. Opposing Viewpoints in Context, ic.galegroup.com/ic/ovic/ViewpointsDetailsPage/ViewpointsDetailsWindow?disableHighlighting=false&displayGroupName=Viewpoints&currPage=&scanId=&query=&prodId=OVIC&search_within_results=&p=OVIC&mode=view&catId=&limiter=&display-query=&displayGroups=&contentModules=&action=e&sortBy=&documentId=GALE%7CEJ3010128250&windowstate=normal&activityType=&failOverType=&commentary=&source=Bookmark&u=lafa43079&jsid=536f316d1abef2b910fdb28d5deb507e. Accessed 13 Nov. 2016.
Gwizdek, A., et al. "Pro-Ana, Murderous Face of the Internet." Progress in Health Sciences, vol. 2, no. 1, 1 June 2012, pp. 158-61. Academic Search Complete, search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=a9h&AN=78040697&site=ehost-live&scope=site. Accessed 13 Nov. 2016.
Laksmana, Theresia. "Pro-Ana Websites Should Not Be Regulated." Eating Disorders, edited by Roman Espejo, Greenhaven Press, 2012. Opposing Viewpoints in Context, ic.galegroup.com/ic/ovic/ViewpointsDetailsPage/ViewpointsDetailsWindow?disableHighlighting=false&displayGroupName=Viewpoints&currPage=&scanId=&query=&prodId=OVIC&search_within_results=&p=OVIC&mode=view&catId=&limiter=&display-query=&displayGroups=&contentModules=&action=e&sortBy=&documentId=GALE%7CEJ3010128251&windowstate=normal&activityType=&failOverType=&commentary=&source=Bookmark&u=lafa43079&jsid=d84d68a8f33ee1d4ae37885a7ef77303. Accessed 13 Nov. 2016. Originally published as "Eating Disorders and the Internet: The Therapeutic Possibilities" in Perspectives in Psychology, vol. 5, Spring 2002, pp. 35-41.
Rainey, Sarah. "Secretly Starving." Edited by Liz Hunt et al. The Telegraph, Telegraph Media Group, s.telegraph.co.uk/graphics/projects/inside-the-world-of-anorexia-blogging/. Accessed 13 Nov. 2016.