The Truth About Online Anorexia

Title: The Truth About Online Anorexia
Rating: 3.5/5
Genre: Documentary
Starring: Fearne Cotton

Whenever something starts becoming more prevalent, public information about it follows suit. There's plenty of shows about the dangers of drinking, and it only makes sense that anorexia is another big one that the cheap documentary's done over here seem to thrive on (for some reason the UK loves gawking at the misfortunes of other people, whether it's regular people with mushrooms under their arms or reality TV), but this one has a slight twist; rather than go “this disease is bad,” it explores the very specific idea of pro anorexia websites and the influence they hold. With local radio host Fearne Cotton roped into the experiment, the naturally slender woman takes a look into the dark underworld of the lifestyle.

It isn't long before she discovers how easy it is for anyone with a rudimentary knowledge of how to search on google could easily stumble upon these sites and forums, and with a growing concern amongst pre-teens about their weight, learning about things such as dieting and the appeal of looking thin from the age of 10, it seems like a recipe for disaster. The sites that are offering tips on how to remain thinner by creating a collage of “thinspiration” (models and actresses whose figures you would wish for yourself) to distract yourself from the fact your days meals consist of an apple and two rice cakes; the psychological pressure and feeling of guilt if you fail to keep to the regime and that horrifying thought that for those with the affliction it may be the only form of support they have; the only social interaction they receive from those who are going through the same ordeal.

Now I pride myself on being able to witness just about anything and remain unaffected; between graphic depictions of some of the most horrific genetic diseases imaginable, smallpox, anthrax not to mention all those decapitations and effects designed to fool people into thinking its real, the fact that some of the images depicted here were so horrendous to see speaks volumes about the issue at hand, but it doesn't just use shock value to make its point. In fact the whole piece feels less like a tired 'look at this' segment saying this is horrific and shoving stuff under our nose to try and prove its point as it does more of a general exploration into the phenomenon, and if anything becomes painfully apparent, its that there's more to it than simply morons not eating enough. I'm still far from an expert, but I dare say I understand it far better now than I did before.

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