If you browse through the hashtags on social networking sites such as Pinterest, Tumblr and Instagram, #thinspiration or #thinspo is definitely not something you’ll find anymore. Even if they do, they’ve already made the tags unsearchable. This particular hashtag used to be one of the most popular hashtags before it was banned by most of social networking sites.
At first, people weren’t aware of the thinspiration culture until more and more teenagers are posting the somewhat disturbing images of bare stomachs with visible protruding ribs and stick-like arms and legs. While some pro-ana or pro-mia group mentioned their sole purpose is to seek help and raise awareness, many who posted the images to motivate and prompt the girls to further control their hunger in order to stay skinny.
Thinspiration, also known as thinspo, is a social pop culture where micro-blogging community used the “motivational” quotes and the imagery of skinny models’ body to inspire people in staying skinny. Thinspo pages were shared among the teenagers and most of them would document their process of losing weight. The community glorifies the beauty of extreme thinness as most ladies aspired to be as skinny as the supermodels. Some of them often follow the ‘fat-shaming’ practice as they despise the obese body and constantly remind themselves their body is not perfect until they find it guilty to consume food more than 500 calories per day.
Surprisingly, despite the hastag for thinspiration has been banned from several social networking sites, the culture is still being carried out among teenagers. Teenagers share their extreme diet tips on how to lose weight without letting the parents know and the quick lose weight methods. In fact, they also look for buddy so that they feel alone in the process of starving themselves.
Teenagers perceive beauty is in the skinny and bony form while most men prefer curvaceous body with breasts and hips instead. It seems like the thinspiration is a competition held among the girls as well and will be congratulated by many once they achieved their goal. The so-called motivation quotes such as “Starving is not pain, it is the cure.” “An imperfect body is a sign of an imperfect person.” “Nothing tastes as good as skinny feels.” are the most popular quotes favourited among the teenagers.
The mushrooming of pro-ana sites became a major concern in some countries as these sites make the peer especially girls feel OK to do extreme diet and workout to stay as skinny as possible. Tumblr, which is where thinspo blogs were made, changed into the new policy banning any blogs that actively promote self-harm with #thinspo tags and becomes a place for people who were struggling with these behaviors can find solace, community, dialog, understanding, and hope instead.
Hence, for now, most people are going for “fitspiration” instead of thinspiration and posted inspiration fitness stuffs. The fitspiration pages often motivate people to eat a healthy diet and work out in an extreme way to achieve the perfect muscular body without an ounce of fats. While these well-toned body with beautiful abs is what people considered as the ideal body, but the thing with fitspo is that it is equally as problematic as thinspo. The fitspo only refined the thinspo as they often have an unhealthy devotion to exercise of dieting. Fitspo inspired body shame as it triggered hopeless and anxiety in people who couldn’t reach the ideal body shape.
It is important that you are having a healthy fitness inspiration to improve your physical health instead of keeping in shape. In fact, love and respect your body instead of torturing it, and accept the natural beauty within you. The real inspiration should be something to motivate you towards real health goals and not feeling suffocated from being imprisoned in the ideal body shape.
Source: The Great Fitness Experiment