When does "fitspiration" become "thinspiration?" That is the fine line that Pinterest administrators are scrambling to figure out in an effort to adhere to their new policy to restrict pro-anorexia images on the site.
Pinterest has exploded in recent months as users have flocked to the site seeking inspiration on everything from room designs to dinner recipes to fashion. I have one board dedicated to craft ideas for kids and another with images of places I would someday like to visit. I also have a board entitled, "My Inspiration," where I keep funny quotes about parenting as well as what I would consider "fitspirational" images and quotes that make me want to get up and go running. They make me want to pass on the potato chips and eat a well-balanced meal instead.
I see that as a good kind of inspiration. But sadly, Pinterest is also filling up with "thinspiration" or pro-anorexia tagged images that inspire users — mostly women and young girls — to lose weight for the sake of losing weight. Many of the images are brazenly labeled "thinspiration," or "perks of anorexia," like this one or this one of barely covered models with their ribs poking out or these shots of openly anorexic models Jade McSorely or Freja Beha Erichsen.
The popularity of these toxic images has led to policy changes on Facebook and Tumblr in efforts to prevent images that encourage self-harm. Last week, Pinterest made its own policy changes that will prevent users from sharing these types of images. The site will depend on self-policing from users in the community. So if you see an image that's promoting anorexia, eating disorders, or any other kind of self-harm, report it and hopefully it will soon be deleted.
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