Monday, 15 July 2013

When does inspiration cross the line?

The internet is a hub of activity with an infinite amount of sites dedicated to an extensive range of different topics. When we use it to search for inspiration, we're bound to get a few obscure sites pop up.

This morning I typed in "Weight Inspiration" into google and I was greeted with 3 options to peruse. Thinspiration, Fitspiration and Fatspiration. I decided to look at all 3, but I don't think I was ready for information they each contained.

Image sourced via google.

Thinspiration or Thispro, is a term dedicated primarily to eating disorders. Sadly, it's not inspiration for recovery, it's full of people giving each other advice on how to hide their disorders, how to convince their bodies that they aren't hungry, how to beat hunger pain and also thousands of pictures of frail and sick bodies asking for critique on which areas they need to "work on".  What's even more disturbing about these sites are the people who sit on the other side of their screens and support these poor girls. People who take it very seriously and have little to no issue encouraging this behaviour.

It's easy to sit here and label these sites as being inappropriate, but if we're honest, we know it's not right. We have the medical field on our side and we have knowledge that eating disorders are dangerous and sometimes deadly.

Image sourced via google

Fitsiration or Fitspo is the middle of the road. It's a term dedicated to getting fit and healthy. It can blur the lines with people placing an excessive and unrealistic amount of pressure on themselves to achieve results. It is however full of information, inspiration and encouragement to lead a healthy life with exercise and healthy/clean eating. It's not without it's faults, but it's to be a much more positive topic with the majority of people offering advice and support to each other.

Again, it's easy to sit here and say that it's a somewhat positive term when I haven't read through all the related sites. It's unrealistic for me to read everything and I'm sure there are some aspects that take training or work outs too far but at face value it seems to be ok.

Image sourced via google

Fatspiration or Fatspo is a term dedicated to promoting fat acceptance. These sites promote beauty at any size and while they appear to be positive and inspirational, I find it hard to get my head around the fact that there is a lot of encouragement for people that are very overweight. Some of the people on these sites are dangerously overweight and appear to use "beauty at any size" as a motto to justify their inability to shift it. I'm overweight and even though I read some things that made me think "Yeah! Stick it to the skinnys!" most of it made me feel sorry for these girls. I think when you read between the lines, it's hiding a much bigger problem under the umbrella of self acceptance. The advocates say that they are trying to reclaim the word Fat and turn it into a positive as a way to counteract those who have used it against them as an insult. I believe that everyone has the right to feel beautiful, but emphasising obesity doesn't seem to be a constructive way of achieving it.

All of these terms have their dangers and all have their good and bad sides, but they all come back to one thing - body image. They focus on how much or how little fat we have on them and they blur the lines between healthy choices and health obsession. The fact of the matter is, weight is only one of may things that define who you are. If you don't like yourself, you're never going to be happy with the way you look. It all goes hand in hand.

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