Critical Criminology

, Volume 17, Issue 2, pp 93–108 | Cite as

“Starving Is the Most Fun a Girl Can Have”: The Pro-Ana Subculture as Edgework

  • Jeannine A. GaileyEmail author


The media have been focusing on websites that are “pro-anorexic” to illustrate the pervasiveness of eating disorders in the US. This study focuses on the narratives of women who participate in “pro-ana” sites using Lyng’s (Am J Sociol 95:851–886, 1990) concept of edgework. Results indicate that women struggle with feelings of loss of control and through various skills are able to resume control. These data point to the intense emotive reactions fasting elicits, reactions which both reinforce and provide motivation to remain in the subculture. Findings contribute to the literature by focusing on women’s edgework and demonstrating the similarities between men and women edgeworkers.


Young Woman Eating Disorder Online Community Gender Role Stereotype Emotional High 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



Special thanks to Jeff Ferrell, Blake Hestir, Michael Katovich and the anonymous reviewers for their comments, suggestions, and insights on an earlier draft of this manuscript.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Sociology, Criminal Justice, and AnthropologyTexas Christian UniversityFort WorthUSA

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