From Ana and Mia With Love: An Ethical Debate of Online Pro-Anorexic/Bulimic Websites

Karleigh Ellsworth

Abstract


Online pro-anorexia/bulimia websites promote the idea that eating disorders are not diseases or illnesses, but rather represent lifestyle choices. Anorexia and bulimia are endorsed as skills which are achieved through the assistance of community forums, chat groups, and blogs. Public online communities create connections and bonds through exchanged sympathetic support or advice to seeking individuals. “Pro-ana/mia” websites cause much ethical debate in that the majority of the forums provide tips and tricks that substantiate dangerous behavior including weight loss competitions, photo comparisons while rewarding those whose bones are most visible, techniques on purging quietly, and learning to lie to family and friends about lifestyle choices. The purpose of this research is to discuss the ethical and non-ethical effects of pro-ana/mia websites through a critical analysis of select websites using a pro- eating disorder perspective in order to demonstrate the principles of autonomy, beneficence, nonmaleficence, and justice. Due to the fact that the moral principles found in Principlism have prima facie standing, the process of distinguishing which principles obtain higher importance is fundamental.

Keywords


Pro-Anorexia/Bulimia; Ethics; Principlism

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