Date of Award
Bachelor of Arts in Cultural Studies (BA)
There is media concern that books about eating disorders are harmful to young readers. However, there is little research on how readers interpret the content of novels and memoirs featuring characters with eating disorders. This project considers the thinspiration images used as motivation to lose weight on so-called pro-ana and pro-mia social networks for people with eating disorders, and draws parallels between thinspiration and images used on the covers of eating disorder books. This paper uses a Gramscian lens to dismantle media claims by analyzing the interactions between members of eating disorder social networks, showing that website users tum to novels and memoirs not only to entrench themselves in their eating disorders but also to witness paths to recovery and to redefine their own identities. Ultimately, eating disorder books function as tools for both self-destruction and social resistance against the negative social narratives associated with eating disorders.
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Mulholland, Nadezh, "When Ana Becomes the Protagonist: Eating Disorder Narratives, the Pursuit of Thinness and Social Resistance on the Internet" (2014). Cultural Studies Capstone Papers. 36.