Object 1: A screenshot of a pro anorexia group chat on WhatsApp
June 1, 2021
This is a screenshot of a pro anorexia group chat on WhatsApp. It was posted in 2017. The words were originally written in German, they have been translated. This is interesting from a Tok perspective because the women on this group saw no problem communicating this harmful information, and instead saw their group chat as a way of helping other girls who also wanted to lose wight and as a way of connecting with other who are also feeling the same. However, those who don’t suffer from an eating disorder will find this atmosphere of controlling food consumption among friends, normalising having an eating disorder.
This object enriches the exhibition because it raises the challenge that having access to these group chats allow people to communicate fasting techniques which encourage others to limit their food intake; clearly posing a serious danger to their health. The response to these damaging methods is met by support from other members, therefore the true nature of these processes is overshadowed by the group support. In this way, the screenshot highlights how having access to
groups which spread such damaging information can lead to a social pressure to agree, support and take part in these procedures. This object further enriches the exhibition because it raises the challenge that when members communicate how long they have fasted for, it fuels others to do the same, normalising eating very small amounts of food. It is interesting that someone who does not struggle with an eating disorder would believe that telling other people to fast, and how long for is incredibility toxic, whereas girls in this group would find this chat supportive and helpful. This illustrates how perspective and individual reaction can be very different depending on your state of mind and the importance of censorship in social media for impressionable and vulnerable people.