What bothers me most is the belief out there that pictures and disordered ideas on the Internet will spread or cause eating disorders. Images don't cause, inspire, promote, permit, or spread mental illness. Do sites about UFOs cause schizophrenic delusions or soap commercials cause germ phobia? The people creating and consuming pro-ana and pro-mia stuff are often quite ill, and that is sad, but they're not causing other people to be ill - they're providing a scratch to the itch that ill people are feeling.
"Thinspiration" and pro-ana stuff is symptom, not cause. I don't look at it because it is upsetting to see the pain and distortions of mental illness and feel helpless to help the sufferer.
Look at it this way: if someone is telling us that they are in pain, or see little green men in the bathtub, or have terror of their own body size, does it help to say "Stop feeling that!" "Stop telling me that!" "Those are unacceptable thoughts!"
No, we don't. We feel sympathy and, if possible, we try to help. When we can't - because the people are anonymous and unreachable - we respectfully avert our eyes.
P.S. Why am I writing about it here? Because I'm getting more and more media queries and forwarded messages from friends and family because of media on it.