Running across Tumblr, Pinterest, and Instagram these days, I notice many posts encouraging young girls to get thin. I love flipping through fitsperation blogs, myself (they’re great motivators). But thinsporation? Certainly, it’s not healthy to be overweight or obese. Certainly, these blogs are sending the right message…Wrong.
There is a clear difference between “Fitspo” blogs and “Thinspo” blogs. Out of “Thinsperation” came pro-ana and pro-mia blogs and boards. (If you don’t know what pro-ana and pro-mia stands for…it’s pro-anorexia and pro-bulimia, respectively.) Imagine the most popular forms of social media being used by teenage girls spreading tips and motivation on starving themselves, or worse, vomiting from their binges. It isn’t a pretty sight. Better yet, imagine these same blogs being masked by ideas of encouraging a healthy lifestyle.
What I want to do is clear the confusion between these two social media trend topics, “thinspo” and fitspo”.
“Fitspo” is defined as “images of active, strong, and fit women that promote proper exercise and diet. May also include images healthy foods…” (Urban Dictionary). The “fitspo” Tumblrs that I have come across showcase pictures of healthy dishes to encourage eating right.
And the Instagram photos that are categorized as “fitspo” showcase women exercising or motivating phrases:
The main message “fitspo” images are sending is that in order to be strong and healthy, one must eat right and exercise regularly.
“Thinspo”, on the other hand, encourages young women to get skinny by unhealthy means. And sometimes, while doing this, it disguises itself as a healthy means of achieving a desired weight (NY Daily News).
It is extremely important for young people to know the difference between these two trends because adolescence is such an impressionable time. We live in a society that says, if it’s posted on the Internet, it must be true. But it isn’t. According to the United States Department of Agriculture’s Dietary Guidelines, there are two important points in achieving and keeping a healthy weight (Myplate.gov):
- Maintain a calorie balance overtime (which would mean cutting calories for people who are overweight/obese) AND
- Consume more foods packed with nutrients (which are vegetables, fruits, whole-grains, lean meats, beans, fat-free/low-fat dairy products, fish, nuts, and seeds)
Also, don’t forget to exercise! People should treat exercise like they would brushing their teeth or getting some sleep. And always remember, there are other sources out there, other than social media, to help with dieting and exercising.
By ARIELLE COLON