Pinterest Users Start Civil War Against 'Thinspo' After Self-Harm Ban Fails

thinspo antithinspo

Photo: Pinterest / Becky S

Pinterest users have begun a civil war against fellow users who promote “thinspo” images on the scrapbook site by polluting the #thinspo tag with images of attractive, curvy women and aphorisms inspiring women to love their bodies no matter what they look like.

Images tagged #thinspo, short for “thinspiration,” are posted by women trying to lose weight. They’re technically intended to motivate women to stay on their diet and exercise regimens. But thinspo is widely understood as a codeword used by the bizarre “pro-ana,” or pro-anorexia, community, which advocates dramatic, unhealthy weight loss through starvation.

Pinterest began to become littered with thinspo images back in February, and gained wide attention in March when Pinterest changed its user rules to ban self-harm images.

The ban failed. A search for “thinspo” on Pinterest still returns hundreds of photographs of impossibly thin women, and girls who have taken photographs of themselves in their underwear to show others how thin they are.It’s a business issue for Pinterest: If the site is to ever generate revenue and survive in the long term, it will need relationships with advertisers. They tend to shy away from controversial content, and “inspirational” self-harming images fall into that category.

Recently, angry Pinterest users have begun adding the #thinspo tag to images of cute, curvy women, and graphics with mottoes such as “Keep calm and keep eating” and “Thinspiration is not inspiring.” Those images also carry an #antithinspo tag.

It is now impossible to search for thinspo on Pinterest without also getting a bunch of antithinspo material.

The antithinspo tag has yet to arrive on Tumblr, which has a similar problem. (Here’s a particularly disturbing Tumblr blog, from a woman who weighs herself twice a day but eats only one meal a day.)

Now, users are polluting the thinspo search results with images of women who are happy not being thin.

Thinspo images on Pinterest are now littered with photos of sad-looking skeletons.

Thinspo women seem to be at war with their bodies.

That war can inflict real injuries.

The antithinspo case is difficult to make: They criticise the thinspo users at the same time as trying to reassure them.

Now check out how Pinterest's thinspo war got started.

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