26 March 2012

ThinsPo: The hunger pins

Thinspo photo of skeleton

Source: jezebel.com via Fashion on Pinterest


Fashion blogs get a lot of media attention but as of late "thinspiration" or "thinspo" blogs have been gaining negative attention. These "pro-ana" blogs promote anorexia through pictures of extremely thin females and tips to help avoid eating.

Do you think ThinsPo sites should be shut down? Do you think operating these sites should be punishable by law as a public harm?

Here are notes listed as tips on thinspo blogs:

  • Someone told me that if you take a pure cold bath for 15-30 min and lower your body temp, your body burns around 200 cals for every degree it has to raise itself to reach a normal body temperature. This person tried it, a 30 min bath lowered their temp about 3-4 degrees
  • Instead of buying food, buy yourself flowers. Food is depressing, but flowers make you happy.
  • Be careful who you tell. It’s great to have online friends – in fact, I would encourage it – but unless you’re 100% positive that your friends or boyfriend/girlfriend will understand or help, DON’T TELL THEM. But, if you’re sure a friend or your boyfriend/girlfriend will be supportive, ask them to help you stick to your plan and meet your goals.
  • Drink one glass of water every hour. It will make you feel full.
  • Wear a rubber band around your wrist. Snap it when you want to eat.
  • Have 6 small meals a day. Take 2 apples, and split them so you can make 6 meals out of them. That way your body will be tricked into thinking it’s eating more.
  • Eating 100 cals 4 times a day is better than eating a 400 cal meal.
  • Thinspo is your best friend. You think you’ve lost weight? Check out some fashion models or skinny celebrities online and you’ll realize that you can probably do better.

Actions taken against thinspiration

Just as websites can get into trouble for contributory intellectual property infringement, tort claims can arise by someone alleging damages for a a harm. So, website owners are wise to disclaim responsibilities and also diminish the possibility of having a legal duty to the users. This is attained through terms of  use.

It is my understanding that AOL was the first to take action by prohibiting material that promotes physical harm to oneself or others. Yahoo followed by removing 115 pro-ana sites because the sites violated Yahoo's terms of service. You can learn more about thinspiration in the Huffington Post article here.

Pinterest's terms of service were recently changed to prohibit material that “creates a risk of harm, loss, physical or mental injury, emotional distress, death, disability, disfigurement, or physical or mental illness to yourself, to any other person, or to any animal.” Previously, Pinterest only had the condition that they did not allow nudity or hateful content.

Tumblr responded to its large and ever-growing ThinsPro-related blogs by banning blogs it considered self-harming. You can read Tumblr's new policy on its website (here). This new policy includes showing a PSA to people who search for pro self-harm related blog terms.

What are Terms of Use/Terms of Service?

These are terms and conditions website users must abide by in order to use or retain the given website's services. Some websites may require you to specifically check off that you have read these terms but they are often found at a website's footer.

By use of websites such as different service providers, stores, large blogs, and forums. These terms usually shift liability to the user and ban activity that could get the website provider into legal trouble. Here is where the provider often reserves the right to limit a user's access or terminate the user's account due to violations.

If drafted correctly, terms of use will be upheld by U.S. Courts. To make this a stronger possibility your terms should include a severability clause. (e.g., If any provision of these terms of service is deemed invalid by a court of competent jurisdiction, the invalidity of such provision shall not affect the validity of the remaining provisions of these terms of service, which shall remain in full force and effect.)

What to include in your Terms of use/Terms of Service

These terms are quite straight forward to draft; I have drafted a few for different clients I had in a business law clinic. There are probably tons of templates online but the key is to make sure you are thinking of the services or discussion platforms you provide to users of your website. Amongst other things you want to explain 1. who owns your website, 2. description of your service, 3. who the terms apply to, e.g. everyone who accesses your site, registered users, or anonymous commenters, 4. age restrictions, 5. information on third-party sites, 6. account termination policies, 7. website modification policy, 8. limitation of liability, and 9. a warranty disclaimer.

Keep in mind that due to case law, your warranty and limitation of liability sections must be under different headings in order to be upheld. They must also be displayed in CAPS to be found to properly alert your reader.

♥ Thanks for reading and supporting my blog! 


  1. very interesting post!What about follow each other?

  2. I agree with you and this is a very helpful post. Anyway as long as too skinny models will hit the catwalk all of these teen fashiobloggers will try to look like them...
    You have a very interesting blog!
    Don't Call Me Fashion Blogger

    1. Thanks Francesca. I agree about the size of models and although some countries have created laws around the size of models, the self-governing most agencies follow is just too relaxed. But even when the models are the right size it does not help that they get photoshopped smaller or into some person's idea of perfection, which is at that point unattainable (ie: unbalanced proportions, no pores, no wrinkles or laugh lines, etc).

  3. I am not going to lie....when you put photos on the internet of yourself...it's like you are subjecting yourself to living life in a fishbowl. Staying in shape is important, and I've put on 4 lbs during the winter. Since I hit 30 last year, I'm telling you...the weight is just not the same anymore. This site is a bit extreme for my taste, and unfortunately if we have rail thin models strutting down the runway...it sends a hard message.

    1. I agree with you B. What I find shocking is the "studies" that have determined that women actually are more receptive to seeing skinny models. --I remember somethings about the 2005 real women Dove ads bringing up this issue, where the viewers actually felt worse of themselves seeing a fuller figured woman. --It was some Arizona State University psychological study... -But I wonder if this reaction has been programmed into viewers through trends in model's sizes anyway.

  4. I think it is quite disturbing for girls to be able to push themselves and compete or justify extreme skinny looks. I checked your link and am googling thinspo in utter shock bc I didn't know how big a problem this is. I like that you relay it back to the law. It reminds me of the bullying issue.

    1. It is disturbing indeed. Some of those "suggestions" read like a guide to starvation. Interesting that you bring up the bullying issue. --It makes me think of how real issues sort of play out like trends. -We haven't tackled eating disorders, which lead to many deaths, but society jumps around from focusing on different drug problems and now bullying. -Sort of marginalizes the ongoing food disorder issue.

  5. I do not understand it when I see people making "thinspiration" Pinterest boards or tweeting with the hashtag #thinspiration. It projects such a negative message.

    Twitter: @GlamKitten88

  6. It's awful, of course, but there are a lot of websites that I would file under "public" harm. If we're banning thinspo posts, shouldn't we also be banning "I love my obese body/real women have curves" websites? Pinterest taking these down feels a little yucky to my sense of propriety, and definitely seems a little contrary to the first amendement.

    That said, yes, they're gross. Ew.

    1. Molly, thanks for your thought provoking comment. I agree that promoting the opposite equally unhealthy lifestyle is just as bad. -But from pinterest's policy terms those would fall under the excluded material as well--as promoting self harm.

      But the First Amendment concern is an even greater point. Website owners do have the right to limit content since the owners could be left to answer to what they allow the user's to do (think Napster) but should website owners be able to shift liability onto users by not micromanaging and just being a space provider? Hmm... Can Pinterest be sued over First Amendment violations? Yes. Are those lawsuits likely to be fruitful for the plaintiff? Probably not.

  7. wow i would never follow a blog like that, it is unbelievable people promote hurting yourself

    Misikko Hana Giveaway

    1. Thanks for stopping by Kimberly!

  8. I totally and complete agreed with you girl. All this awful sites should be reported and shut-down immediately. I have noticed now they even have groups in Instagram talking about this disturbing topic and showing off photos and techniques of how lose the weight and keep it off in such unhealthy way. Truly disgusting. Thx for sharing such amazing information we must raised awareness indeed.

    <3 Marina

    1. Thanks Marina.

      It is sad that many women think the tricks to losing extreme weight is not harmful to their bodies because they may start to look better, They do not realize the damage that they do and that the unhealthy lifestyle is not sustainable. -The extreme sickly think images make me run to a cookie --they are making me unhealthy in the opposite way!!

  9. I am a 100% with you! This sites only promote unhealthy habbits!

    Thanks for stopping by my blog! My master is not especifically on IP but I had a course about it and it's so interesting!!

    Let me take the time to say I'm now following on twitter (CatarinaAlmeid) and also on Facebook (#13). Please follow me aswell: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Fashion-Lovers/219808911447560

    and also on twitter at: https://twitter.com/#!/FashLoversblog


    1. Thanks Cate! As you can see I heart IP :) And throughout each day I find ways to take at least one (seemingly not legal) conversation into an IP discussion.

  10. I heard about this yesterday and am glad the thinspo boards got shut down on pinterest! i don't think it's right to promote that kind of message.

    1. Thanks for sharing your thoughts!! :)

  11. I think is so wrong that people are promoting anorexia to young kids, it should totally be stopped and ASAP, what is this world coming to!! And yes whomever it is that is doing this nasty things should get in trouble!

    1. Thanks for stopping by and sharing your view Mariely!


I appreciate your comments. I read each one even if I do not get a chance to reply. ♥

Tweet me @FashionBlawger for quick or individualized responses.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...