There is a petition to eliminate thinspiration hashtags (ones that advocate anorexia) from Twitter. This isn’t entirely unprecedented. A few months ago, Tumblr eliminated thinspiration tags from their platform. As Jamie Peck wrote at the time:
Tumblr has revised its content policy to explicitly forbid blogs that promote self-harming activities like eating disorders, self-mutilation, and suicide. It’s about fucking time.
Up until recently, Tumblr had no policy restricting these blogs, so many sick people in the “thinspo” community utilized it as a platform to spread words and images designed to encourage those with eating disorders to continue their unhealthy behaviors.
If you did not notice this, it’s probably because eliminating these tags from a platform seems obvious, in the way that we might remove any content that could be damaging to people. Thinspo tags are also banned from Instagram and Facebook. However, when Twitter executives were asked by 98FM News whether they would take steps to eliminate similar tags, they replied that they do not comment on “specific terms or accounts.”
Does this bother you? It bothers me. Which is why I am very glad that Torri Singer has started a petition to encourage Twitter to eliminate these harmful hastags from their platform. It asks that:
Twitter Restrict use of thinspiration language and hashtags circulating the twittersphere.
Eating disorders impact millions of people annually. The growing “thinspiration” presence online has led to thousands of unhealthy and dangerous blogs, chat rooms, and forums for people suffering from eating disorders to encourage others to lose weight, often by extreme measures as well as discourage those with eating disorders from seeking treatment. Pro-ana (anorexia) and Pro-mia (bulimia) supporters use hashtags such as #thinspo, #proana, #promia and tweet pictures celebrating extremely underweight girls, and promote quotes such as “being thin and not eating are signs of true willpower and success” and “nothing tastes as good as skinny feels.”
Well done, Torri Singer. Go check it out, here. And sign it, maybe! If you would like to!
Picture via Twitter