Photo: Alexa Chung / Instagram
Instagram has changed its user policies to ban “thinspiration” (or “thinspo”) images and other photographs that celebrate self-harm. Thinspo devotees ostensibly post pictures of slim-looking men and women as inspiration for those wanting to lose weight. More usually, however, the images are a thinly veiled cover for the pro-anorexia community.The ban comes days after MTV host and model Alexa Chung removed this picture (at right) from Instagram after it attracted a wave of comments about how thin her legs are. The comments were so alarming — some loved them, some said she was “ugly” — she made her account private because she did not want to be seen as a thinspo advocate, she said:
Hi, I am here. I can read. Ok everyone thanks for the teen angst discussions. People are different sizes. I’m not trying to be thinspo for anyone. I am now making this acct private. Byyyyyeeee.
That incident highlighted a week in which thinspo on Instagram became a hot topic — just as it did in previous weeks on Pinterest and Tumblr, both of which have also passed bans on self-harm and thinspo. The companies all appear to regard thinspo as a threat to the environment they’re hoping to make friendly for advertisers.
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