I first discovered Tumblr when I was freshly 11 years old – back when the website didn’t have sensitive content warnings. I was entering an entirely new form of social media – I only used kik messenger prior to Tumblr and this was a dramatic shift. Finding a platform in which I could find accounts catered to my interests was something completely new for me, which meant I had barely developed those said interests in the first place. Through Tumblr I learned about different fandoms, one of which was ‘Skins’. Each season of the show delves into the different physical and mental struggles that are faced by young people. Another fandom I had become a part of was that relating to the show ‘Degrassi’. Now, both of these shows should probably not be watched by an 11 year old, and definitely not to the extent to which I viewed them. One of the subject matters covered in both of those shows (which was then heavily displayed across Tumblr blogs) was that concerning eating disorders. Soon enough, began the trend of what is known as #Thinspo.
But then suddenly, these pictures were everywhere. I mean, everywhere. People reblog photos of incredibly thin actors and models, paired with captions promoting unhealthy weight loss. Not only were these posts and photos used to encourage eating disorders, but they were also providing in-depth information on how to do so. I will never forget reading all of the different tips that were being posted on a daily basis. I would even find myself and some of my friends watching the movies and shows that the blogs recommended, it was an easy spell to fall under.
Seeing as I was so impressionable, as were countless young kids, teens and adults using the internet for the past 15 years, this type of content can be incredibly dangerous. Even as I was growing into my late teens and now my 20s I was still being exposed to different forms of media promoting these behaviors as well. It’s scary to think back now to how readily available this content was to all types of audiences. Also the fact that apps like Instagram and TikTok are now following the same trends, endangering many people. Although there are content moderators on social media platforms nowadays, there are still many instances in which these posts are somehow overlooked. I am still seeing posts to this day about shows and movies that were used as “thinspo” years and years ago, just resurfacing for the new generation of youth.
I tried not adding any specifics about ED’s in this blog so as to not make anyone uncomfortable, I just feel as though it is an important topic to be covered when thinking about the internet and social media. Also, I won’t add any images in this post for the same reason.