When I see Thinspo or Thinspiration, whether it’s on social media or on TV or in magazines, it makes me physically shudder. Maybe that’s because it’s usually accompanied by an image of an impossibly thin person, all rib bones and protruding hip bones; maybe that’s because the connotation for it for me is far from innocent and in fact represents something very dangerous.
I’ve said this before on the blog but I have to say it again for the purpose of this article making sense – ‘thin’ is not healthy. Looking at people as ‘Thin’ and ‘Fat’ is like looking at everything in ‘black’ and ‘white’ – there’s always a grey area. If you fail to be categorised into either you’ll force yourself to fit – it’s human nature. Of course, not many people want to fall into the ‘fat’ category – hence the absence of the ‘fatspiration’ hash tag.
Some people are naturally slim and that is fine. We are all built differently, that’s what’s incredible and diverse and interesting about us as humans. This isn’t an attack on the naturally thin.
What I want to highlight is that ‘thinspiration’ encourages us to become slimmer than we are supposed to be; it shames us into thinking and feeling that we are somehow inadequate because we are not thin. For people with body dysmorphia, every single person they see is some form of this ‘inspiration’. Inspiration of how to be, how to look. Whether that’s hair, skin, height, or weight. This isn’t something which needs to be highlighted and then spread via Social Media.
When I look at images of celebrities and models and these so-called ‘inspirational’ images, I feel worse and worse about myself as a consequence. Hashtag or no hashtag attached, they’re inspiring me to obsess over how I look. They’re inspiring me to believe that I am somehow ugly or strange or ‘fat’. When I am none of those things, factually speaking, even though I believe that I am.
I advise fellow sufferers of BD and people with eating disorders to ration social media. I do this because of the huge exposure to this sort of thing – which consciously or unconsciously damages us and compounds our negative beliefs about ourselves. ‘Thinspiration’ wasn’t around when I was poorly – if it had been, I’d have been all over it. That is to say, my eating disorder would have latched onto it within no time and I actually think over-exposure to it would have made it more difficult for me to recover.
I’m anti #Thinspiration and I hope you can see that it is false and absolutely not how you ‘should be’. There are so many different types of beauty, which I try to celebrate here on the blog. You are individual – unique, and beautiful the way you were made. It might take time to realise it but for now start to see the falsehood in the media and know that it is NOT a reflection on you!
Who else hates #Thinspo?
Tough Cookie is a blog for support and inspiration during recovery from Anorexia. Eating disorder recovery can be tough – but so are you!