Jun. 5th, 2006

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It’s your birthday. You’re planning a bash to celebrate your three and twenty years of existence on Mothership Earth. Cue the invite list. Best friends – check. People you fancy – check. Mates from home – check.  

We then get round to firm buddies and colleagues. In correct parlance, a person of good taste should exercise the right to invite exactly whom they want to their extra-curricular personal occasions. When it comes to firms, things get political. You see the same set of faces every day for a year. Chances are you don’t like one of your placement partners. Chances are that nobody you know is able to tolerate this particular person on social and anti-social levels, a few snide sympathisers with popularity agendas aside. Fate looks likely that they’ll get bitchy if you don’t invite them. Do you suck it up, invite them anyway and injure your pride? Decision-time!


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Determined, intoxicating, resourceful and stereotypically middle-class – you only need to spend a matter of minutes at medical school before you meet an ‘Ana’ or a ‘Mia’. Romantic and feminine these names may be, but things aren’t what they seem – a significant minority of ladies who appear successful and talented amidst our incestuous fishbowl are keeping a very dirty secret. Their secret commands and compels out of choice; the choice to equate weightlessness with godliness. 

Welcome to the darkly exclusive web called pro-active anorexia. Preferring to be seen as a social movement which serves to define anorexia as a lifestyle choice, the movement concentrates on self-control and discipline in order to better the self. Providing a sharp contrast to the professional view of the condition as a disease or a disorder, ‘Pro-Ana’ defines itself as a proactive ‘choice’, differing from the reactionary behaviour of eating disorder anorectics. Followers are inspired to initiate from within themselves, without needing to maintain ‘internal control’ as a psychological coping device in response to some external event or stimulus. They thrive on the challenge of getting the human body to respond to will; a task they feel must be completed before turning their iron will to better the rest of the world. Pro-Ana’s see themselves as a power to be reckoned with. ‘Victim’ is a dirty word.  

April 2016

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