Learning from Pro-Ana


There is an alien inside me. Actually, there are many. I have multiple identities that are daily, or hourly, or within each second, created differently and mediated through multiple lenses. Some of those lenses are physical, some mental, and some theoretical. These constructions are often at odds, creating a fight-fight-fight mentality.

I have been “researching” the pro-ana (pro-anorexia) community since 2002. One day, I happened a pro-ana website and was shocked and amazed that such sites--and I later learned, communities--existed. I wasn’t shocked that the sentiment existed, but that there were people for whom this was a reality and they had found a way to share that reality. At that time, I could identify privately as a recovering anoretic, and potentially as pro-ana scholar publicly, but those were two mediated realities that did not interconnect.


“Foremost, I struggle with notions of identity, often made manifest in the ways I choose to choose: eat or not eat, feel pain or not feel pain, communicate and connect with others or not....Because I will always struggle with them--the choices, the identities, the dis*ease.’ Gresham, “What’s Eating You?” in Dissonant Disabilities

Learning about Choices