Out of the Guardian comes a troubling story about photographers who are preying on young women who have joined anorexic groups and soliciting them for sexually explicit pictures, often against their will.
guardian: ‘As you know, beauty has one name: being thin. Our models are underweight, skinny, thin, bony – just like you. We want you. Regardless of the costs, we want you to join our agency. Let’s face facts, on anorexic porn websites, men are masturbating watching your pictures. You are a superstar of starvation and if you were selling and marketing your frame you would be more wealthy than most of us because men would pay any price for watching those pictures.”
This was the email Sasha McDonald (name changed) was sent last year from a pornography agency specialising in anorexic images.
In case you are wondering who Sasha is – she’s one of many young women who have joined anorexic groups, herself first diagnosed with the disease when she was 15.
“I was very lonely and felt worthless,” she says. “I retreated into an online pro-anorexic [pro-ana] community and shared everything. I didn’t realise the danger I was putting myself under.” Despite receiving professional support, McDonald found herself becoming more entrenched in the online anorexic world. She wrote a blog of her battle with anorexia, recording the small amounts she ate and publishing photographs of herself in her underwear as evidence of her emaciated body.
“I was dangerously underweight and so ill that I felt proud of the comments from other website users saying how beautiful and skinny my body was. I relied on the judgments of the friends I had made on pro-anorexia websites because I assumed they were people like me – scared, depressed, exhausted and battling an illness that torments you continuously,” says McDonald.
An assumption that later turned out to be flawed…
But McDonald was horrified when a fellow member of one pro-anorexia website emailed her requesting that she join a pornography agency.
But it gets worse…
McDonald also found that emaciated photographs she had published of herself on her blog had been posted on anorexia porn forums for users with fetishes about super-skinny women to admire. “Beautiful girl – much prettier than all those meat mountains. Bones and ribs must be very visible. If their BMI [body mass index] is above 15, they are not attractive,” says one forum user commenting on a skeletal photograph of McDonald.
Bones and ribs must be very visible. Is this the type of imagery that certain men are being