Over one half of teenage girls use unhealthy behaviors such as skipping meals, taking laxatives and intentional regurgitation.(Smouse) Over 400 public sites serve the purpose of encouraging Bulimia and Anorexia.(Laurence) These graphic websites include “thinsporation”, mantras stating “you ARE a fat ass,” and daily challenges promoting eating less than 500 calories a day.(SOURCE NEEDED?) Websites encouraging bulimic behavior turn the pre existing insecure thoughts of young women into fatal actions. The government should disband these websites in efforts to combat one of the most common diseases with in the teenage population.
Anorexia and Bulimia put lives in danger. According to one physiatrics report, “anorexia has the highest mortality rates of any mental illness, with 20 per cent of sufferers dying from the disease.”(Penberthy) At this point, the government must step in to help control this mental epidemic. When it shifts from personal decisions to life threatening and controlling diseases it should been seen by the government as what it is: a fatal disease. The government helps fund cancer research; this could potentially have the same effect.
Though much of America can agree that these websites are harmful, the immediate shutdown of these websites has been postponed on the terms of infringing Freedom of Speech. When researching at school, in order to write this article, I was able to easily find and access these demeaning websites. Other sites are given federal filters, or shut down, in order to protect children.(French) This is already limiting freedom of speech. Shutting down these websites is within reach of the argument already made to ban child pornography sites, and damaging content of the sort.(French) The government has the power to shelter students from these sites, particularly in school setting, where eating disorders often passed on.
In order to fight against the most deadly mental illness, the government must shut down these websites. Minimally, the government could put filters on these sites within schools. These websites do have an impact. When researching, I sat in my classroom, with a few of my peers gathered around, looking at gory pictures of skeletal bodies and reading “inspiration” that made me, a girl with a strong sense of self and beaming confidence, question myself for eating that unnecessary, but so damn delicious bar of ice cream. Living with any insecurities is emotionally confining. Young, insecure women should have the freedom to feel. Especially at a time in our lives when feeling is so passionate. Disbanding sites that encourage acting on our insecurities, should not be seen as limiting freedom of speech; instead seen as expanding the freedom to love ourselves, and take control of our lives.
French, Rose. "Educators Grapple with Internet Limits." Atlanta Journal-Constitution. 13 Oct. 2014: A.1. SIRS Issues Researcher. Web. 15 Mar. 2016.
Johnson, Chandra. "Is the Media's Focus on Weight Loss Harmful?." Deseret News. 08 Sep. 2015: n.p. SIRS Issues Researcher. Web. 14 Mar. 2016.
Laurance, Jeremy. "Hundreds of Websites Urging Girls to 'Starve for Perfection'." The Independent. 28 Nov. 2012: 16. SIRS Issues Researcher. Web. 14 Mar. 2016.
Smouse, Becca. "Social Media Stands Up to Bad Body Trends." University Wire. 10 Jul. 2014: n.p. SIRS Issues Researcher. Web. 15 Mar. 2016.
Penberthy, David. "Websites That Make You Want to Vomit." Sunday Telegraph (Surry Hills). 04 Sep. 2011: 44. SIRS Issues Researcher. Web. 17 Mar. 2016.