‘Bonespiration’ isn’t new, but it’s still pretty damn bad


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‘Bonespiration’ isn’t new, but it’s still pretty damn bad

And Instagram is a terrifying host for it

Eating disorders are not new, and thus it stands to reason that neither are the communities of people online encouraging one another to stay sick.

In 2012, a number of social media platforms like Tumblr and Instagram began banning the use of tags that could promote such disorders, like #thinspiration and #thinspo.

But what those platforms didn't take into consideration was is the scale of people online participating in the toxic culture, and their dedication to getting around it: #ana #proana #zero #calories #fat #kcal #thinkthin #cw (for current weight) #gw (for goal weight) #bonespiration #bonespo and the list goes on.

#SkinnyChristmas is the one trending right now, and before then we'll see #ThinThanksgiving and #HungryHalloween.

So no, just because #bonespiration has made it to Instagram doesn't mean it's "new," but the ramifications of it latching on in a space where many users, particularly young girls, didn't know about it before, could be catastrophic.


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The first usage of the hashtag #bonespiration appeared on Twitter in 2013, but it existed on other platforms long before then — this sudden appearance was not "sudden" at all, but born out of a need to adapt when Twitter was screening users elsewhere.

Now, in the past week, the New York Post, The Times, The Independent and other papers are reporting on the "brand new trend" of girls posting photos with protruding hip bones, ribs and collarbones along with the hashtag — but they've always been there.

We'll never be able to stop these communities from coming up with tags — there needs to be a better way of censoring what comes in and what goes out.

Anorexia and eating disorders are the most fatal of psychiatric disorders, and call for more than the little warning that appears in search, asking if you're "sure" you're still interested in seeing the harmful content.

In a few weeks or months, this particular hashtag may be blocked on Twitter, but the users won't mind.

They'll already be elsewhere.


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