Sunday, 19 December 2010
Monday, 6 December 2010
Another Wahanda article I wrote a wee while back, check it out on wwww.wahanda.com and remember girls while we may not like to be sweaty bettys, it's essentially good for our bodies deep down. So get sweating! X
Sunday, 5 December 2010
Centred on who will go on to own Downton Abbey, the series tribulates the highs and impending contraints for the artiscoracy. Having to marry for money, to secure their future, rather than love being a prominent problem for Lady Mary.
Even including the feminist movement "votes for women" it follows a servants desire to make a career for herself, rather than living a life serving others. What I liked was the kindness between the upstairs, artisocracy and the downstairs servants lives, they truly seemed like a family in it together. Whether this is realistic, perhaps not, but it makes pleasant viewing. My favourite character being the kindly Mr Bates, a suprising love interest his caring and modest manner makes him a man women sympathise with and adore.
The Only Way is Essex
The X Factor
Good riddance to Wagner and his bloody earrings! (apparently from Acessorize if anyone fancies the look...hmm think I'll sit this one out!)
Friday, 8 October 2010
The title is fitting, it was indeed 500 days of Summer, I at first thought the fool that I am, that it was referring to the 500 days of summer the season, but alas on second thoughts there is only 365 days of the whole year...soo this is not possible.
Alas no, my dear readers it's referring to the 500 days with which he spends with the aptly named girl Summer. Further pun in store for you, which I won't say yet, as it ruin it for you.
The film first starts off with this is a "a girl meets boy" story, by a narrator with an overly familar voice- anyone know were he's from? Anyway, the film tells us that although it is a "girl meets boy" story it does not take the conventional path most romances do.
The story revovles around the two main characters, Summer, played by Zooey Deschanel and Tom, Joseph Gordon Levitt. Both emit a quirky quality to the film, Zooey with her natural good looks and tinkling voice, and Joseph with his his irrestible shy charm viewers may remember from the teen hit 10 things I hate about you, albeit now he's now all grown up. All I can say I was admiring his great acting, who am I kidding, his great looks throughout the film swoon.
Anyway, their gender roles are reversed as it's Summer whos the commitment phobe, and Tom who believes in true love and soulmates (this just makes us adore him more). So we watch with pain, as Summer states she only wants "something casual", refusing him even to name Levitt her boyfriend a few months down the line. I felt like screaming, well if you won't Summer I bloody will!
Anyway, that's kooky Summer for you- can't commit, which we found later in the film is because her parents divorced when she was young.
Reflecting, the film mostly is an romance, delivering the mass audiences what they expect, a sweet, cutesy, if quirky romance. The kind of romance you only see in films.
The film tries very hard not to be the run of the mill blockbuster romance, with it's kooky take on life- for example the couple shouting penis loud in a park- and the narrative techniques of the film add to this effect. From the start there is a third person narrative, overseeing the action which makes it feel almost less realistic, more that we as the audience are observing the human relationship from afar and it's pros and cons.
The funny cartoons, of Summer and Tom are an artistic embellishment to the film, they add to the kooky nature of the film and overall the humour. They also help the audience detach itself from the traditonal "girl meets boy" story, however they, like the spilt narrative, peter out once the story is in full swing. As at first, the narrative jumps back and forth from when he (Tom) was happy with Summer, and then onto the darker despairs of their relationship. This is another attempt for the film trying to escape from the conventional love story by not conforming to linear narrative of the bam meets girl- bam- has relationship bam- has argument bam- breaks up with girl/resolves issue.
However, towards the end there is not as much twoing and froing, as just as the story is reaching it's climax- the possiblity of Tom winning back the love of his life, emphasis on possiblity, the film reverts back to the conventional structure of a love story. This emerses the viewer into the story, right at it's pinnacle.
Unfortunately however, he does not manage to win back his love, finding out that the commitment phobe is now a fully fledged wife to someone else. Oooh harsh, the audience can identify with the unfairness of the situation. Whilst when with him, Summer would not even call Tom her boyfriend she has now peformed the ultimate commitment; of marriage.
The viewers always knew, due to the non linear narrative of the film, that they would break up. But I always thought they would get back together however, it was not to be. What follows is his despair, him quitting his job (at a cards writing company, something I think would actually be quite fun!), but then picking himself up, smartening up his act and fulfilling his dream career of being an architect.. phew!
So really it wasn't all bad, he lost Summer the supposed love of his life but is on his way for career success. Just as he is going to his interview for the dream job, the annoying narrator kicks in again, and he mets a beautiful girl.
You never guess what her name is....it's Autumn.
Cue pictures of leaves and trees. Told you I would save the cheesy pun till last, the end of Summer and now a new beginnging: Autumn.
A Good (and clever) Watch
Overall looking back I thought this film was a clever take on the boy- meets- girl tale, similar to indie flicks like Juno. However, the only thing I did find was that I couldn't help but be annoyed with the perfectly pretty Summer, how dare she say she only wanted something "casual" then spend every waking moment with him, seeming suprised when Tom calls them a couple. Jeez. And then the unspeakable moment at the end, when she ditches lovely Tom for some blonde geezer we don't even see get to see the face of! She attempts to make friends at the end, all the while seemingly flirting and tossing her sleek locks...god damn it. Poor boy, no wonder he was confused.
Also, did kinda cringe at the cheesy pun at the end, a bit much don't ya think? Viewers never know if Tom will finally find his true soulmate and be happy in love:; if only they just added a few family/marriage photos at the credits I would have been duly satisifed.
This would have given hope to viewers that true love does exist, but then again wouldn't this only be conforming to the traditonal love story? And, boy this film sure doesn't want that....
Wednesday, 6 October 2010
Uvulectomy and Nasal Turbinate Reduction – Coblation
•The scientific bit...
Ever noticed the small dangly piece of tissue (the uvula) near the back of your tongue - except perhaps it isn’t that small? If it’s over enlarged, this could be the cause of your snoring. Experts have found that a large or elongated uvula can create the dreaded nightly noise. When the person is asleep, their breathing can cause the uvula to vibrate, and that’s why they snore.
Others may have an obstructed nasal airway – if the nasal passage is blocked, breathing through the nose can cause the flow of air to become rather turbulent, causing vibrations that result in the deafening sound of snoring. The most common cause of nasal obstruction is an enlargement of the balloon shaped membranes, aka turbinates. Well, now you know.
Don’t despair – if you suffer from the former, you might want to try out an uvulectomy, a non-invasive procedure that uses coblation therapy to help reduce the size of a large or elongated uvula. Rather than physically remove or cut the excess tissue, the treatment uses radio frequency energy to reduce the size. The energy gently removes the excess tissue and opens up the oral airway, so you can breathe freely- without waking up your partner!
The procedure takes little more than twenty minutes, so you can be in and out in a jiffy and cured of your snoring dilemma for good. It’s usually performed using a local anaesthetic, and has minimal “downtime”, so you’ll be back to your old (non-snoring) self pretty quickly.
Similarly to the uvulectomy, nasal turbinate reduction also uses coblation. Using radio frequency energy it gently shrinks the size of the turbinates, opening up the nasal airways so you can breathe freely (and quietly).
The Pillar Procedure
The Pillar Procedure is a well known and simple surgical treatment for treating those who have problems snoring and can even help those who suffer from mild to moderate Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA).
•The scientific bit...
Another reason for snoring can be that when we age, or put on weight, our tissue and muscles in our mouths (just like everywhere else on our bodies) begin to lose their rigidity and strength. When the tissue starts to sag, breathing in our sleep causes the weakened tissue to vibrate and produce that loud snoring noise that keeps us up through the night. In some extreme cases, breathing can even cause the tissue in the soft palate to completely collapse, obstructing the upper airway and producing OSA.
What the Pillar does is strengthen the sagging tissue, and therefore reduce any vibrations or obstructions that is causing the awful snoring noise we all despise. The simple outpatient procedure takes less than 30 minutes using local anaesthetic. It claims to cause little or no discomfort, so there’s no need to book days out of work for recovery. During the actual procedure, four to six teeny tiny woven implants are placed on the top of our mouth, otherwise known as the soft palate. The implants act as structural support to the sagging tissue, making it stronger and therefore less likely to vibrate, so you can sleep soundlessly. Over time your body should naturally heal and provide the structural support your tissue needs.
If you don’t fancy going for surgery, there are various products on the market that you can try out, from nose strips, nasal dilators to snoring sprays. First take a look at your lifestyle choices - as they could just be the root of your problem.
Everyone knows that your diet affects your body. Being overweight, especially around the neck area prevents air to flow freely in and out, as it squeezes the airway restricting normal breathing. This causes the tissue to vibrate, and that’s when you get snoring. A change in diet and a sensible exercise regime will greatly help your snoring, making you feel and look good in the process!
Alcohol & Smoking
Yes, you’ve guessed it - the two baddies we all love to hate can cause snoring. Smoking irritates the lining of the nasal cavity and throat causing it to swell, and if it becomes congested it makes it difficult to breathe through your nose as the airflow is decreased. Try to steer clear of those who smoke, as even second hand smoke has been proven to influence snoring. If you find you can’t live without a ciggie, you can reduce the effects of snoring by having your last cigarette at least 4 hours before you go to bed.
Snoring is always worse after a few drinks - this is because alcohol slows the brain’s responses, causing the muscles to relax even more than during a normal night’s sleep. This can obstruct the airway, and can even induce the sleep disorder ‘obstructive sleep apnoea’, (where your sleep is interrupted by periods of not breathing). So if you are a snorer, it is best to avoid copious amounts of alcohol - at least just before you go to bed…
After a hard day at the office, all you want to do is kick back and get some sleep. However, it has been proven that stress is related to snoring, as during REM sleep (when the brain is organising and making sense of your day’s stimuli), if you had a particularly stressful day this results in rapid or deep breathing, and thus leads to snoring.
Snorers tend to take deep and fast gulps of air when they sleep, so the key is to slow down the speed and volume of each breath. So to combat stress, and in turn reduce your snoring, try out relaxing breathing techniques such as meditation and yoga and focus on your body’s breathing before you get your forty winks.
If snoring’s getting you down, (especially if you’re not the one snoring), don’t have sleepless nights over it - get some help from medical spas around the country or alternatively take action and improve your lifestyle, for a healthier and happier you. Either way you’ll be saying goodbye to sleepless nights, and hello to the land of nod.
Everyone seems to be going yoga crazy. With evidence that yoga releases stress, high powered business men and women alike are whipping out their yoga mats for a little piece of relaxation in their hectic schedules. I even found out that it reduces snoring, so I decided to see what the fuss is all about, and jump on the yoga bandwagon to discover if it really is all it’s cracked up to be...
Set close to the town centre of Woking, the fitness expert’s David Lloyd’s boasts various facilities, from a 20m swimming pool, eight tennis courts and an open plan gym - the place is pretty vast.
However, we weren’t there for the gym. It was the yoga studio we were after; a spacious, relaxing room with dimmed lights spotted around the edge of the wall...ahh, bliss.
As a yoga newbie I was a little scared that we would be out of our depth with difficult moves to learn, but the instructor made sure we felt at home, and offered help if we needed it. She reassured us that yoga is not a competition, but that you must go at your own pace, and not do anything that does not feel right. And so with this in mind, we began.
Turns out there was nothing to fear, as hatha yoga is full of gentle movements, which are not hard to do - but the emphasis instead is on how long you can hold the pose for.
We started on our back, practising stretching our arms upwards then pulling in our knees, all the while focusing on taking deep slow breaths - holding the breath in while stretching, and exhaling when we relaxed the pose.
After we had practised various postures on our backs, we started to begin some more active movements, like the classic downward dog, lifting the foot if we could at the same time.
After practising poses on the mat, we started to do stretching movements standing up. Classic physical exercises such as touching our toes and stretching upwards were key, and while standing we were told to stand up straight with our feet slightly apart. The tutor told us to imagine that our body had a fine line going through it, to keep the body in symmetry.
Stretching isn’t the only focus in hatha yoga – you learn to balance too. While balancing on one leg, the tutor told us it’s something we find hard as we get older, but luckily I managed not to topple over.
No part of the studio was unused, as we used the mirrored studio walls to balance against whilst we practised stretching into a triangle pose. Surprisingly though the movement was simple, holding and keeping the pose was not, as this is where you can feel your muscles pulling.
At one part we were told we could now do our own stretching poses – in other words, the part where you can show off, as some ladies did head stands, shoulder stands... you name it, they did it!
To relax after the vigorous head stands, shoulder stands or my go at holding my legs into the air, the instructor advised us to get into the child pose, to relax and regain the blood back into our heads, as you can get a little light- headed after all that stretching.
We finished off the session with a little meditation. This was my favourite part, where we simply lay on our mats with the lights dimmed down. It proved to be very relaxing - I nearly nodded off! The instructor read us a short poem (Dance Like Nobody’s Watching) and we were told to imagine a white light coming from our navel, touching others around us, and then going back into ourselves - pretty deep stuff…
Afterwards, we were left feeling relaxed and renewed. After a quick nip in the pool, I was quite pleased I did not feel any aches or pains but felt more stretched out, so to speak - handy if you spend most of your time sat down in an office. The movements were all relatively easy, but next time I may try out a class that has a faster pace, such as dance or aerobics.
However I may consider giving yoga another go, as it was relaxing and good exercise... so who knows, it could be me standing on my head soon - like a yoga pro!
Wednesday, 29 September 2010
Usually you are more likely to find bears crashing out, gorging on any food they can find. Associated with inactivity, they are perhaps a tad on the slovenly side.
Well, not this bear - the so-called “Yoga bear” at Aharti Zoo in Finland was found by a tourist amusingly practising a 15 minute stretching routine, for all to see.
Apparently her postures resembled those used in yoga- web programmer Meta Penca told the Guardian that she looked “exactly the same as when people do yoga; easy, slow, focused and calm”.
Paul Harvey, a yoga trainer and teacher for 15 years agrees she was practising the ancient Indian discipline. “The first is spread legs, holding big toes or feet - and she’s doing pretty good with claws,” he told the paper ironically.
Not only did she look like she was doing yoga, but she also seems to be abit of an expert too. As yoga expert Paul adds, the bear’s flexibility and balance marked the bear out as something of a pro: “These are not beginner’s postures. Yogi bear is definitely an advanced practitioner”.
If you want to find your zen away from the zoo, why not check out one of our many yoga retreats and studios across the country – you’ll be as flexible as a bear in no time.
Now there’s a sentence we never thought we’d say…
Another Article I did for Wahanda..was singing the bear necessities throughout, love it and how cute is that bear!
Hope you all like :) X
Saturday, 18 September 2010
As I'm currently interning at Wahanda, http://www.wahanda.com/, a health and wellness website, I thought why not pop up some of the blog articles i've done there so you guys can benefit from the healthy tips too!
I've been learning some really interesting info, about all the different treatments you can have- some are interesting, i've been researching what causes the terrible noise that is snoring and what you can do about it (handy I may pass on it on to my mum as shes always moaning about my dad's loud snoring!) Some are extravagent, the 24 carat gold facial for those who fancy all out luxury, and some are just verging on plain crazy- vajazzling- just don't ask!
Anyway, i've been really enjoying my time at Wahanda, and learning along the way...so here for now is my very first blog article. On the subject of nutrition which I find very interesting as although I don't always manage to eat healthily, most of the time not so! I have been to see a nutritonist, as I find I must eat every three hours otherwise I'm left feeling weak and faint. The lady advised me to eat little but often, snacking reguarly on seeds, (suprisingly tasty!), nuts and oatcakes, which I now love- perfect with a smidgen of hummus mmmm. Also some foods can even help you concentrate and boost your brain power; just what you need when you've got a hectic day at the office.
Soo here goes, let me know your thoughts!
We all know that eating the right foods are good for us, but did you know the foods you eat could affect the way you think, how shiny your hair is, and even improve your skin? Read Wahanda's guide on the super foods you should be eating to stay super healthy...
Feed your hair...
What you eat can reflect the state of your tresses. If your hair is thinning for example, it may be because you are lacking in iron, and may be suffering from anaemia. If your locks are lacking in vitality, it could be because you are missing out on essential vitamins in your diet.
Here's a list of super foods to make your hair shine....
Not only do eggs provide a great source of protein to your diet, but they also contain valuable vitamins for your hair. High in vitamins, A, D and E, eating an egg can turn a dull head of hair into radiant and shiny locks. Eat eggs to banish those bad hair days, as the fatty acids within the yolk turn frizzy hair into a shiny and controllable mane.
Not only do carrots help you see in the dark, but carrots are also a key ingredient for healthy looking hair. The vitamin A in carrots is great for a healthy scalp, so get crunching on those carrots for hair that's the envy of all your friends.
Another veggie that is good for your hair is popeye's favourite, spinach. The leafy green provides with large amounts of vitamins A, and C, which the body uses to make sebum. Sebum acts as a natural conditoner for your hair, so instead of buying lots of supermarket hair conditioner, eat spinach for a natural and tasty treat.
Feed your mind with "brain" foods...
If you find yourself slumped halfway through the day and can't concentrate because your mind's wandering, your diet could use a makeover. By eating the right foods, you can sharpen your mind's dithering attention span and even change the way your brain functions. For a more productive day eat "smart" foods, otherwise known as "brain" foods that help you focus...
For snack time
A diet rich in fruits and whole grains can be very nutritous, so try eating mixed seeds and nuts as a healthy snack when hunger calls. A good source of antioxidant vitamin E, it has been proven to cause less cognitive decline as you age. Blueberries are another fruity yet tasty snack which experts say can help protect the brain from oxidative stress and improve your capacity to learn- perfect for city types who don't have much time on their hands.
Want to perk yourself up at lunchtime? The ultimate brain food to eat is fish. High in protein and rich in omega 3, fish is essential for brain function and development. Scentifically proven to slow mental decline, it may play a vital role in enhancing memory- sounds good to us....
At lunchtime, rather than go for that meaty sandwich, pick up a tuna or salmon one instead to ensure you have the most brain power in the office.
For that afternoon kick
Lacking energy? Eat some sugar- not literally table sugar- but rather snacks that contain glucose for that much- needed energy boost halfway through the day. However, be sure to do this in moderation so it can enhance your memory without piling on the pounds, else you'll have to make sure you're burning it off too. Why not try a healthy smoothie, or citrus fruits such as oranges or bananas for a natural sweet snack to boost your memory power.
Feed your skin...
It's true what they say- your diet can affect your skin. Everyone knows that if you eat junk food all day long it may result in a less than clear complexion. Facials can only do so much but it's time to sort your skin out from within....
For a truly clear complexion, try to maintain a healthy, balanced diet full of whole grain foods such as cereals and rice, and plenty of fruit and veggies, especially dark green and orange vegetables- all the brights.
Eating certain foods can trigger a skin flare- up, so try to steer clear of vinegar, soy sauce, consuming alcohol and too many dairy products. If you suffer from bad skin, you may want to discuss cutting out dairy products for a while with your doctor to see if there is an improvement. It could be that you're intolerant- as dairy products are high in oestrogen, it can interfere with a woman's hormonal balance and therefore can affect your skin and immune system.
If you don't fancy cutting out dairy products all together, try switching from cow's milk to goat's milk, and go for cheeses that are low in salt.
Be sure to consult your doctor or nutritonist before cutting out any food groups, and check out our nutritional advice from the experts for more information.
Don't have the time to prepare all this healthy food? Check out our mobdeal, for a huge saving on a "My detox Diet" programme- freshly prepared food delivered straight to your door. For only £59, you will receive healthy and nutritious breakfasts, lunches and dinners, plus snacks and detox teas to ensure you keep on track of your new healthy regime. What more could you want?
Tuesday, 7 September 2010
Our only day of sun.....followed by
rain, rain and you've guessed it...more rain!
But that did not stop us from having fun, oh no when there is your uni mates, and with the little help of alcohol the rain is soon forgotten.
I'm the one waving, like an absolute fool.
Sunday, 22 August 2010
Sitting beside me is the new edition of my favourite, The Sunday Times Style magazine, it captures fashion and all the new trends at the moment in such a witty, intelligent way, that I love devouring it every Sunday.
The problem is, with websites that are so easily accessible and for no charge, the web poses as a major threat for the print media. The fact that websites can instantly provide readers with their specialised interests, in a lot more detail than magazines can, which in contrast are aimed at reaching a broad audience, and therefore cover broader topics, sets a tough standard for magazines to keep up with.
Friday, 20 August 2010
Sooo next week I am going camping...should be interesting as, shock, horror I have never actually been camping. I may have spent the odd evening as a child messing around in a tent, but other than that...nada.
I'm really looking forward to it as i'm going with my uni mates, but jeez many questions are now popping into my head. What to take...have we got ground sheets, torches, a stove- if we decide to cook, but most of all What to wear?!
Self admittedly, I am a what you call "a girlie girl", meaning that I own no trainers, eek! No rain mac, o dear and no big furry fleeces to keep you warm at night, disaster! As it's summer, well supposedly, my wardrobe mainly consists of little sandals, dresses worn with leggings...clothing that may not survive the british weather outdoors.
Soo if the weather does take a turn for the worst, most likely, I will be in a confundle of my grandma's fleece, my mum's walking boots and my old jeans- at least I still have them! So don't expect any remotely fashionable/attractive pictures to come from this weekend! One saviour is my sister, the love that she is, is letting me borrow her superdry joggers to sleep in AND she is buying one of those utility jackets/parka's that are fashionable at the moment from River Island and allowing me borrow it for the week! Yesss, finally a fashionable and practical item! I may not end up looking like a misshapen eccentric blob.
If, and that's a big if, the weather does hold out, I'll jump in glee as I can then wear my fashionable denim shirt, leggings and little dresses. Maybe, even whip out the sunglasses...even get a tan...too far Emily, too far.
Also, what do you do when camping? My friend suggested we go for a run when we get there, I hope she was joking. Hopefully if the worst comes to the worst and it tips it down, we can recuperate spending most of our time in a warm, cosy pub sinking into plenty of cider and blacks...mmm. Don't get me wrong, I'll happily do a little exploring, I hear Corfe Castle is near by- but big hikes and lots of mud- just isn't my thing.
Seriously, some of my family relatives went camping this summer...not once...but twice. Why? It probably costs just as much, knowing our country, to go camping when you get a cheap last minute deal away to spain. Ahh..sun...sea...and sand. If I wasn't so skint, believe me I be on a flight far, far away before you could say...torchlight?
This is putting a very negative perspective on my upcoming mini- holiday away. I promise you I am looking forward to it, tipsy evenings and sing songs by the campfire with my favourite people. A chance to inhale the fresh air...to experience the "big outdoors"...
I'l be back next week to fill you in on how it went! Eek! X
Thursday, 12 August 2010
The internship everyone is dreaming of, pretty unrealistic but oh, the clothes.
Sunday, 8 August 2010
Wednesday, 28 July 2010
So, how about the so called New Feminism of the 90s? Several books have surfaced discussing the new "power feminism" the modern take on feminism. Personally the "aspirational" post feminist figures of Katie Price as empowering for young women, just don't ring in true for me. How can posing for men, using your sexuality to essentially please men be empowering?
Many young women I know, see pole dancers and the like as "empowering strong figures" but perhaps unfashionably so, I just don't see how. In my study I argued the infamous influx of WonderBra advertisements which were portrayed as confident, assertive images of desirable women who were in control of their sexuality, were merely sexually objectifying images of women targeted at the male gaze. Not so different from the past sexual objects for men to look at that feminist fought so hard to resist. Now women, are openly welcoming the male gaze and sexual expolitation under the post feminist guise that they are "pleasing themselves" not men. Sexy is now cool, and it is a sign of your "sexual liberation" to show you are comfortable with your sexuality, to make an objection backwardly brands you as "uptight" and evidentbly an old fashioned feminist.
I discovered however what with the backlash of feminism, it ulitmately allows advertising and generally culture to provide sexist images under the guise that it is now "post feminist" as women are no longer exploited- but are actively choosing to be sexual objects. This is worrying as it represents a deeper and higher form of expolitation as women are actively choosing, there is no objection and advertisers can freely present sexist images, without critque.
Feminism has ulimately turned full circle. Whilst triumps of feminism include women now being heavyweights in their careers being just as successful as men and can choose their own lifestyle. Many young women today, the Katie Price's of the noughties, choose to regress back to the passive sexual objects for men's admiration.
Soo before I was contemplating the idea of finishing Uni forever, and most of all FREEDOM.
And as much like i thought its not so much freedom, but being poor, working your way out of debt, or at least trying to earn a few pennies, and most importantly wondering what you are going to do with yourself for the forseeable future!
Alot of people are jokily saying they are experiencing a premature "mid life crisis", for the first time you are out of full time education, and your life is in your hands. I could say I'm in the same boat as all the other graduee's, yet I don't feel scared. (perhaps I should?!) With no concrete plans as of yet, I'm just happy to be home after a hellish third year and enjoying the summer :)
(I didn't realise how much I missed home- cooked food, and am eating like a horse! )
July has been a busy month for mee. What with 21sts, a trip to London- Camden Town (Koko) which I loved, and declared "I love London why don't we all get a flat and live here?" to my bemused uni friend. Then the following a trip out in Guildford, just as pricey, not as exciting. And of course the biggun- GRADUATION. Yes, the day, well the week finally dawned. Graduation ball complete with chart topper Plan B, a slilent disco and all my fav pals looking grand in their frocks/suits- it was night to remember :) Then the actual day, a loong day starting at 6.30! eek and ending at 4pm...trooper! Alot of standing around in hot robes, mine felt like it was strangling me, but overall the feeling of elation is unique. Standing on the guildhall steps, throwing your hats into the air with parents proudly looking on- loved it. Advice for fellow graduates, try not to have a bad hair day as literally you will never have so many cameras pointing at you, from all angles, ever again. (Unless you become famous, or perhaps on your wedding day!)
I must admit, after all the photos have been taken, posted on facebook and stories regaled I did feel a sense of emptiness. Back to work I went sigh, and realised I must up the ante for my desired internship. If before, I wasn't ready I sure am now, and starting to want it more than ever. The sad reality that my life as a student of Portsmouth Uni is over, no more babylon, no more late night kens, most of all i will miss my uni friends who i feel i have just got closest to.
But hey, as they say "they think its all over..well it is now!" isn't the end of the world, it's the beginnging of a new chapter. If you think optismically the "world is your oyster" (I keep being told this) soo don't look back, but rather forward to your chosen careers and the next step, as although its scary the...
Wednesday, 9 June 2010
However, this is a site with a difference. The young girls are not happy and healthy, chatting merrily with their friends. They are suffering from a serious eating disorder: Anorexia Nervosa.
Anorexia has always been around; a deadly eating disorder that has taken many lives, it has a higher mortality rate than any other psychological disorder taking 50,000 individuals lives per year. It is thought that 7 Million girls and women suffer with an eating disorder, however experts can never be sure as many will never admit to having the disorder.
In an appearance obsessed society, where looks are the most important thing the mantra “thin is beautiful” is continually emphasized in the media. Constant images of abnormally thin models dominate, creating an unrealistic body expectation for young teens. It has been found that 61% of young women feel inadequate compared to the media’s image of beautiful women.
The “skinny” look is in, according to a recent study, over 1/2 the females between the ages of 18-25 would prefer to be run over by a truck then be fat, and 2/3 surveyed would rather be mean or stupid. Glamorized by celebrities such as Kate Moss who was criticised for stating “Nothing tastes as good as skinny feels” our society is a dangerous place for those with an eating disorder.
It was only a matter of time until the skeletal images from women’s magazines progressed to the web. The rise in popularity of blogging and social networking sites sparked a new and deadly trend: Pro Ana websites.
The first influx of Pro Ana sites hit the internet in 2001. Termed as the first wave of Pro Ana sites, they were designed to help fellow anorexia sufferers reach out to each other. Whilst before anorexia was a taboo subject, Pro Ana sites propelled anorexia into the spotlight, providing an “Ana” community for young sufferers to share what they were going through with each other.
PrettyThin, a Pro Ana website is a place where young girls can make friends with fellow sufferers; it is where they feel accepted and supported. Several members state it has “saved their life”, that they would not know what to do without it. As a one member Dollface states, when she is on the site she feels she is not alone, that people understand her.
“Sometimes when i'm on this site it just hits me, i can't believe there is a place where i can come and talk about my eating disorder; openly and honestly. it's amazing, and i am so glad this site is here for me to have as a safe haven. i feel understood. when i look at a comment on a post and its exactly how i am feeling or thinking i am just blown away at the realization that i am not alone. thank you pretty thin. <3>
However, whilst this seems positive that girls or boys for that matter can openly talk about their disorder. The website shockingly does not offer support for sufferers to recover; rather they encourage the girls to “stay strong”, to “keep motivated”, providing tips and tricks on how to in one case hide the symptoms of the illness.
“At a certain weight, which is different for everyone, you will lose your period. This is a good thing because it means that you’re losing weight…..Don’t let your mother find out about your lost period because she will most likely take you to the doctor. Never under any circumstances tell a doctor that you’ve lost your period. They will have you in an eating disorder clinic faster than you can say "What the hell?"
As the health professional body (NEDA) The National Disorders Association says Pro Ana sites ultimately provide a false support system that instead of provide treatment and help to recover, encourage the girls to carry on with the illness.
“These sites provide no useful information on treatment but instead encourage and falsely support those who, sadly, are ill but do not seek help."
Young teens, as like with other social networking sites, become hooked, they look to Pro Ana sites for a source of “support” where others will not criticise their eating disorder, but will help and encourage the individual to “achieve their goals”. As one member of PrettyThin says,
“I start every day by checking out the forums to keep me motivated. I never walk away from the computer after checking up on PT feeling sad... Everyone is kind and really helpful. Not only has PT helped me lose weight and achieve my goals, the people on it are all wonderfully supportive”
An unhealthy Community.
Pro Ana sites like PrettyThin are ultimately destructive as whilst they can talk to others with the same condition, this results in the girls sharing tips and tricks on how to loose weight. As Health professionals the National association of Anorexia Nervosa and Assiotated disorders (ANAD) argue whilst at first it provides a community for sufferers to feel understood and not so alone, it is ultimately is an unhealthy community that,
“Creates the opportunity to compare to more and more dangerous methods of weight loss, and increase the drive and interest, and increase the severity and frequency of eating disorders behaviours.”
The chat forums are dangerous for young teens suffering from the disorder as the girls encourage each other to “reach their goals”. As one member Empty Eyes found when she stumbled across PrettyThin whilst researching for a university project.
She initially had bulimia; however by joining the site she states how by merely hearing the tips and tricks “helped” her become a complete anorexic.
“It just helped get me past being bulimic and began to help me to decrease my intake just by hearing tips, and having other girls support me in general…. Over a course of four months I ended up loosing lots of weight and became completely anorexic”.
This depicts how Pro Ana sites are a negative influence as they intensify existent eating disorders. Empty Eyes shockingly posts how she “never thought she could do it” (become anorexic) until going on the site.
“I never thought I could do it and this site helped me to feel accomplished with other girls almost "cheering me on".
The girls shockingly spur each other on to loose weight, either through the chat forums, discussion areas or blog posts. Whilst in some cases it is positive as the girls can discuss painful situations they are going through, it is dangerous as they share and compare dieting tricks, often providing new ideas for the members. One member of PrettyThin shockingly posts a dangerous fasting diet she is going to undertake, and asks if anyone wants to join for support. One response states,
“I’l join we can be diet buddies, it would be nice to have support”.
Glamorization of a serious Illness.
Not only does this normalize the illness; undermining the dangers of Anorexia but it in turn glamorizes the illness turning it into a mere lifestyle choice, chosen by the individual because it is seen as “cool” and suits their interests. Radical Pro Ana sites such as PrettyThin have been criticised for glamorizing anorexia as a cool, lifestyle option, as it states it is a site “for those choosing to take the Ana lifestyle upon themselves”.
This according to the Academy of eating disorders plays directly to the psychology of victims as those who have the disorder deny they have the illness but claim it is their “choice”, it is a “lifestyle” that they choose to adopt.
“One of the diagnostic criteria for anorexia nervosa is denial of the seriousness of the illness; thus websites that glorify anorexia as a lifestyle choice play directly to the psychology of its victims.”
The glamorization of anorexia by pro- ana sites is ultimately dangerous as not only undermine the dangers of a serious illness, but it turns a deadly mental disorder into a fashionable lifestyle statement. As in recent years there has been a rise in what is termed “Wannarexics”, individuals who choose and seek out to be anorexic, because it is now seen as “cool”. They hope to learn “how” to be anorexic via Pro Ana sites, picking up tips and encouragement from others to stay skinny.
This angers first wavers of the Pro Ana movement who claim “Wannarexics” are “probably sicker than the person who has the real eating disorder” as they are happy to be anorexic, they want and choose to have the disorder. Karen, a sufferer of anorexia and founder of first wave Pro Ana site argues this trivialises anorexia from a serious mental disorder to some fad diet chosen by the individual. As she claims “wanna’s”,
“seek consciously to become anorexic. They don anorexia because it is stylish. They “usually think [anorexia is] cool, it’s the thing, it’s a fad diet but it’s not.”
Karen argues ultimately “Wanna’s” fulfil society’s expectations that anorexia is something feigned, something that the individual can just choose to don because it suits their interests.
“They assume it’s feigned,” she says. “They think, ‘Oh, just eat the sandwich.’ And it’s not that easy.” She says how anorexia is not something you choose to one day simply have, but is a way of dealing with pain. Speaking from her own experience she found anorexia met her needs, it was a means of coping with her suffering.
“ I hated myself so much I would so anything to get rid of myself. So controlling my weight emerged as a way to deal with self- hate, pain, and in some measure to make life bearable”.
Second wave sites like Pretty Thin are often more dangerous than the original Pro Ana sites as they undermine the dangers of an eating disorder like Anorexia Nervosa, as the Academy for eating disorders (AED) says
“The Web sites pose a danger in that they promote anorexia nervosa as a lifestyle, provide support and encouragement to engage in health threatening behaviours, and neglect the serious consequences of starvation.”
The look: “Thinspiration”
Pro Ana sites like PrettyThin turn anorexia into an attractive “cool” look for girls to aspire to. Whilst the “skinny” look is already glamorized by celebrities in magazines, the sites similarly post up images of emancipated celebs as an act of “inspiration” for Anorexic sufferers.
Coined “thinspiration”, it is a common trait of Pro Ana sites, who often post pictures of shockingly thin celebrities and runway models. Pro Ana website Pro Thin Spo claims it has the largest selection of “Thinspiration” in the world and shockingly states it is the “Queen of the starvation scene!”; posting numerous shocking images of gaunt young women from the skinniest runway models to categories merely titled “Bones”.
PrettyThin takes this one step further, by asking members to post up pictures of themselves on the site. They have a feature of “picture of the week” and “hall of fame” in which girls pictures are chosen on the pretense because of their “artistic quality” or having a “cute theme”. The images are all of scantily clad young girls, some only wearing underwear with bones visibly protruding from their emancipated bodies. One image that is deeply shocking is of a girl lying down with their rib cage visibly jutting out. The comment exclaims what a beautiful shot of beauty this is, how it has “great lighting, great focus, great pose”!
This not only provides inspiration for the girls to loose weight, but instills competition between members for who has the skinniest body. The website seems to applaud those who are skinny, placing them in the “hall of fame”.
PrettyThin turns anorexia into a fashion statement, a certain way of beauty that others may not understand. They hide under the guise of “beauty”, claiming they are not a Pro Ana website but are about “beauty in our eyes”. This could be because many Pro Ana sites are being shut down; therefore Prettythin is changing its tactics to avoid the same fate.
However, sites like PrettyThin are ultimately more dangerous for young girls as not only do they normalize, but glamorize a serious life- threatening mental disorder into a mere fashion statement. As PrettyThin whilst it has the usual thinspiration pictures, has sections of “Bitchspo” and “Scenespo” pictures where skinny young girls either rock the alternative look, or take on a feisty “you suck” persona. This makes “thinspiration” images more fun, attractive and essentially relatable for young teens. However, this is ultimately worrying as under the guise of beauty and expressing yourself, it turns worrying anorexic images into something cool and artistic. The slang of “Btichspo” and “Thinspo” also is used to target the vulnerable young teens. Found on many Pro Ana sites the terms, ED, Thinso, Ana, Ana-mia create a sense of cool for anorexics. They are terms for only those “in the know” and ulitmately glamourize and take away the serious meaning of the terms. The health professionals Bodwhys (the Eating Disorders Association of Ireland) note that pro-ana sites,
“encourages obsessive ness and minimisation of the seriousness of these potentially deadly disorders.”
To ban or not to ban? A complex Issue.
The simple answer would be to ban all Pro Ana sites, however this is more difficult than it seems. Whilst service engines Yahoo and Geocities reguarly shut down Pro Ana sites, as soon as they do a new site pops up in its place. There are more than 500 Pro Ana/Mia sites out there and it is proving difficult to control. There are so many out there, and sometimes it often hard to tell the difference between supportive recovery sites and those that are Pro Ana, as a spokesperson for Myspace says it is “often very tricky to distinguish between support groups for users who are suffering from eating disorders and groups that might be termed as “pro” anorexia or bulmia”. Like PrettyThin, they often take steps to conceal themselves claiming they are not Pro Ana, but are neutral or recovery sites. Also they become private, so only members can see the full content; making it extremely difficult for moderators to shut down sites.
Whilst there has been numerous campaigns for the government to take action and clamp down on Pro Ana sites; with talk of banning all sites and plans to introduce laws that fines or jails the owner of the Pro Ana site. Beat the eating disorder charity argue it is not the answer, as it would not solve the root causes of the problem.
They argue by banning the sites the government would be taking away the only refuge young sufferers have. “People who use these awful sites tell us it can be the only place where they feel understood, accepted and not judged” it would be taking away the only support the young teens have. Therefore they call for not a complete outlaw of the sites, but to regulate and provide more support online.
Essentially whilst many argue Pro Ana sites are dangerous, they alone do not cause eating disorders like Anorexia. Charities like Beat recongise that the root problem is in fact within society. A lack of understanding causes the young teens to search for acceptance within Pro Ana sites. They state that if there was a general understanding from everyone, sufferers would not need to seek Pro Ana websites for refuge.
"We are calling on everyone to provide that understanding, so that a pro-ana site is no longer the only refuge."
Cause of Anorexia? We need to look closer at society…
It may be easy to blame Pro Ana sites for the increasing deaths of Anorexia. However that is the easy option out, we need to look closer at our society at large until we can truly blame Pro Ana for the cause of eating disorders like Anorexia. Everywhere we turn thin, beautiful images of women are drummed into us. The cultural ideal of female beauty is instilled in us from a range of media, glamorized by stick thin celebrities in magazines to skeletal size zero models on the runways we are constantly told: thin is beautiful. It is a minefield for vulnerable young teens insecure about their body image. Therefore until society changes, anorexia will continue to exist and will keep killing young girl’s lives.
If you are suffering from an eating disorder, or know someone who is please find support and information to help overcome the illness.
Telephone the Supportline Helpline for confidential emotional support on any issue. It also keeps details of other agencies, support groups and counsellors throughout the UK.
Call 01708 765200, or email firstname.lastname@example.org
For support, advice, information and befriending to sufferers to families. Anorexia and Bulimia care can put parents of sufferers in contact with other parents of sufferers. Call 01462 423351 or see www.anorexiabulimiacare.co.uk
For Information on eating disorders including diagnosis, signs, causes, risks and treatments. Visit www.eatingdisorderexpert.co.uk
Visit a recovery site like Something fishy which includes support forums, information and help for parents and carers. www.somethingfishy.org