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

Agnese Vellar


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.

Full Text:


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

A Great Cities Initiative of the University of Illinois at Chicago University Library.

© First Monday, 1995-2019. ISSN 1396-0466.