My Best Friend, Ana

The Problem

According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, "90% of those who have eating disorders are women between the ages of 12 and 25." Yet, many of those suffering with eating disorders during these ages go years until they are finally diagnosed, which by that point has lead to other health issues (both mental and physical). Through social media, there has been a rapid upswing in the number of "pro-eating disorder" sites/blogs which encourage eating disorders as a lifestyle choice rather than a mental health issue. Hundreds of these blogs share crash dieting techniques, coach one another on socially acceptable pretexts for refusing food, vent with one another after breaking fasts or binging, give tips on hiding weight loss, share advice on reducing the side-effects, etc. Teens who foster this "pro-eating disorder" attitude suffer in silence, hiding their way of thinking from family and friends who may not know about the symptoms and tricks behind the disorder. Many of the girls involved in this online community personify the disorders or take on pseudonyms as "Ana" or "Mia" (short for anorexia and bulimia).

Plan of Action

Our goal is to educate a general audience as well as our target demographic (females 12-25) by making and distributing a short documentary about the dangers of the online pro-eating disorder community. Through interviews with clinical psychologists, recovering eating disorder patients, social media experts, and personal stories, we aim to educate audiences so that they are aware of the secretive "pro-Ana" blogging, can identify warning signs in family or friends, and can self-reflect if they are one of the hundreds of thousands of secret bloggers.

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