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

Article

Abstract

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.

References

  1. Adler, P., & Adler, P. (2008). The cyber worlds of self-injurers: Deviant communities, relationships and selves. Symbolic Interaction, 31, 33–56.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Bordo, S. (1993). Unbearable weight: feminism, western culture, and the body. Berkeley: University of California Press.Google Scholar
  3. British charity issues anorexia Internet warning. (2007). Reuters, Yahoo! News. Retrieved January 10, 2007.Google Scholar
  4. Boyles, S. (2001). Internet refuge for those with eating disorders. WebMD.com. Retrieved October 24, 2006.Google Scholar
  5. Dias, K. (2003). The ana sanctuary: Women’s pro-anorexia narratives in cyberspace. Journal of International Women’s Studies, 4, 31–45.Google Scholar
  6. Ferrell, J. (1998a). Freight train graffiti. Subculture, media, dislocation. Justice Quarterly, 15, 101–122.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Ferrell, J. (1998b). Criminological verstehen: Inside the immediacy of crime. In J. Ferrell & M. Hamm (Eds.), Ethnography at the edge. Crime, deviance, and field research (pp. 20–42). Boston: Northeastern University Press.Google Scholar
  8. Ferrell, J. (1999). Cultural criminology. Annual Review of Sociology, 25, 395–418.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Ferrell, J., & Hamm, M. (1998). True confessions. Crime, deviance, and field research. In J. Ferrell & M. Hamm (Eds.), Ethnography at the edge. Crime, deviance, and field research (pp. 2–19). Boston: Northeastern University Press.Google Scholar
  10. Gelder, K., & Thornton, S. (1997). The subcultures reader. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  11. Glaser, B., & Strauss, A. (1967). The discovery of grounded theory. Chicago: Aldine.Google Scholar
  12. Hayward, K. J., & Young, J. (2004). Cultural criminology. Some notes on the script. Theoretical Criminology, 8, 259–273.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Hebdige, D. (1988). Hiding in the light: On images and things. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  14. Hesse-Biber, S. (2007). The cult of thinness. New York: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  15. Lois, J. (2001). Peaks and valleys. The gendered emotional culture of edgework. Gender and Society, 15, 381–406.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Lyng, S. (1990). Edgework: A social psychological analysis of voluntary risk-taking. American Journal of Sociology, 95, 851–886.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Lyng, S. (1998). Dangerous methods. Risk taking and the research process. In J. Ferrell & M. Hamm (Eds.), Ethnography at the edge. Crime, deviance, and field research (pp. 221–251). Boston: Northeastern University Press.Google Scholar
  18. Lyng, S. (2005). Edgework: The sociology of risk-taking. London, NY: Routledge.Google Scholar
  19. Malson, H. (1998). The thin woman. Feminism, post-structuralism and the social psychology of anorexia nervosa. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  20. McLorg, P. A., & Taub, D. E. (1987). Anorexia nervosa and bulimia: The development of deviant identities. Deviant Behavior, 8, 177–189.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Miller, E. M. (1991). Assessing the risk of inattention to class, race/ethnicity, and gender: Comment on Lyng. American Journal of Sociology, 96, 1530–1534.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Mills, C. W. (1940). Situated actions and vocabularies of motive. American Sociological Review, 5, 904–913.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Neumark-Sztainer, D., Rock, C. L., Thornquist, M. D., Cheskin, L. J., Neuhoser, M. L., & Barnett, M. J. (2000). Weight-control behaviors among adults and adolescents: Associations with dietary intake. Preventive Medicine, 30, 381–391.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Percent of People in US using Computers, 1997, 2001. (2003). World Almanac and book of facts, pp. 708–711.Google Scholar
  25. Quinn, J. F., & Forsyth, C. J. (2005). Describing sexual behavior in the era of the internet: A typology for empirical research. Deviant Behavior, 26, 191–207.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Rajah, V. (2007). Resistance as edgework in violent intimate relationships of drug-involved women. British Journal of Criminology, 47, 196–213.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Reaves, J. (2001). Anorexia goes high tech. TIME.com Retrieved June 22, 2006.Google Scholar
  28. Rheingold, H. (1993). The virtual community: Homesteading on the electronic frontier. Reading, MA: Addison-Wesley.Google Scholar
  29. Rich, E. (2006). Anorexic dis(connection): Managing anorexia as an illness and an identity. Sociology of Health & Illness, 28, 284–305.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Smith, C. W. (2005). Financial edgework: Trading in market currents. In S. Lyng (Ed.), Edgework: The sociology of risk-taking (pp. 187–200). London, NY: Routledge.Google Scholar
  31. Sprague, J. (2005). Feminist methodologies for critical researchers: Bridging differences. Walnut Creek: Altamira.Google Scholar
  32. Thompson, J. K., & Kinder, B. (2003). Eating Disorders. In M. Hersen & S. Turner (Eds.), Handbook of adult psychopathology (pp. 555–582). New York: Plenum Press.Google Scholar
  33. Wilson, J. L., Peebles, R., Hardy, K. K., & Litt, I. F. (2006). Surfing for thinness: A pilot study of pro-eating disorder web site usage in adolescents with eating disorders. Pediatrics, 118, 1635–1643.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2009

Authors and Affiliations

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

Personalised recommendations