The nude image of Isabelle Caro, a 27-year-old anorexic, is turning up on billboards all over Italy and spreading like wildfire over the internet. No-l-ita says they launched this campaign to "use advertising as an instrument to promote awareness of social evils." But many fear that while the image may shock most, it will likely be used as a source of "thinspiration" for those who frequent pro-ana websites, MySpace pages and message boards.
How could anyone strive to look like a startling picture of such serious illness? For starters, pro-anas are ill themselves. And they are looking for validation. Over at MamaVISION, there's an interesting debate going on. Shana, from the "post-pro-ana" site We Bite Back (an online community started by a former pro-ana who got tired of looking for thinspiration and decided to get healthy) had this to say:
"people turn to pro-ana because anorexia hurts like hell. and it hurts even more to think that what you are doing is twisted and sick and wrong and abnormal. so if they turn it around, make starvation holy, coveted and an ideal, it makes their illness almost a… talent. it’s a desperate attempt to feel good. and it can work, just very temporarily."
The image is shocking on its own. That's what severe anorexia looks like. Now imagine a girl or young woman who sees this ad and thinks, "I wonder how much she weighs. Do I have more 'fat' on my thighs? How long will it take before my ribs stick out like that?" For some, that's what anorexia feels like.
Fashion Statement: Oliviero Toscani
Why is No-l-ita Offering No-Information for Sufferers?