#anawarrior identities and the stigmatization process: An ethnography in Italian networked publics

Agnese Vellar

Abstract


Received opinion holds that pro-ana are “sites that promote anorexia”. In this paper, I will describe the stigmatization process operating in digital environments and the evolution of pro-ana identities in the light of the theories that view eating disorders (EDs) as culture-bound syndromes. I will then illustrate the findings of an ethnographic study of the ana-mia (from the contraction of anorexia and bulimia) culture that has emerged on Italian social media (blogs and visual SNSs such as Instagram). Analyzing the forms of self-representation drew back the curtains on the “popular discourse” of the ana-mias, whose digital bodies express the need for self-discipline typical of post-feminist identity in neoliberal societies. Ana-mias represent themselves as #anawarriors: their life is an ongoing battle against their illness and to defend themselves from outsiders, but is some cases also to gain visibility and reach the status of microcelebrities.


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DOI: https://doi.org/10.5210/fm.v22i6.8412



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