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Franca Sozzani Launches Petition Against Pro-Anorexia Websites

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Vogue Italia editor-in-chief Franca Sozzani took to her blog on Friday to write about the topic of Facebook and anorexia and launch a petition against pro-anorexia websites.

Sozzani cites a recent study out of the University of Haifa in which a group of 248 girls, ages 12 to 19, were surveyed on their Internet and television intake and asked about their eating habits and weight loss techniques. From the press release:

The results showed that the more time girls spend on Facebook, the more they suffered conditions of bulimia, anorexia, physical dissatisfaction, negative physical self-image, negative approach to eating and more of an urge to be on a weight-loss diet. Extensive online exposure to fashion and music content showed similar tendencies, but manifested in fewer types of eating disorders. As such, the more the exposure to fashion content on the Internet, the higher a girl's chances of developing anorexia. A similar direct link was found between viewing gossip- and leisure-related television programs (the likes of "Gossip Girl") and eating disorders in adolescent girls. The study also revealed that the level of personal empowerment in these girls is negatively linked to eating disorders, such that the higher the level of empowerment, the more positive the physical self-image and the lower the chances of developing an eating disorder.

Sozzani writes:

Models, as I have underlined before, are in most cases naturally long, lean and slender being still very young and still not fully developed. The image they convey, however, is often that of an excessive thinness, but designers themselves discard those who are visibly suffering from nutritional problems. This is a topic that has been often discussed with false prejudice against fashion when nobody was left to blame.

Yet now we find out that not only the girls' parents or fashion, or models are to be blamed. The more time you spend logged in Facebook the more chance you have to become anorexic. Reading the article it looked like the social network was guilty of showing virtual role models that girls tend to imitate. Wrong, and sometimes even fake models, the result of photoshop alterations. The younger tend to feel inadequate as regards such models and put their health at stake trying to imitate them. They accept messages passively and adjust to them. Sometimes destroying their lives.

Sozzani also mentions the recent death of Isabelle Caro, who struggled with anorexia from the time she was 13 and adds that pro-anorexia blogs are even more dangerous than Facebook -- "There [are] countless of them and their number is growing in America."

To sign Vogue.it's petition to shut down pro-anorexia websites and blogs, click here.

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Facebook and Anorexia | The Jewish Week