Any addiction may be defined as the abuse of a pleasure. Fasting certainly has its pleasures; the exercise of control, the novel dissociation from food, the beauty of sacrificing yourself and desires to something you consider more important than survival. Fasting out of grief can be cathartic and cleansing; fasting in worship can be a powerful affirmation of faith. Fasting for health reasons can breed a cherished appreciation of your body.

Anorexia, and other eating disorders, can be considered an addiction to the quite normal (and healthy) pleasures of eating or fasting.

So a pro-anorexia website is somewhat equivalent to a pro-alcoholism website (I'm sure those exist, too). If a blessing, it's a highly mixed one. For companionship to be consistently helpful, love must be involved. And anorexia is a hate driven disease. Self-hatred, but hatred nonetheless. The example from Ayn Rand demonstrates that sort of lifestyle in an austere, artistic sense... but the fact is, humans are not made of marble, and a person who truly hated herself and others as much as that woman would gradually shrink away from enviable and devolve into pathetic. Hatred has a redux quality to it.

I am not going to pre-judge people who are affirmatively anorexic; it's certainly possible that they have plenty of unconditional love to offer each other. But people seek out audiences that reflect their own perception of themselves. Your typical anorexic would feel uncomfortable around a group of people who strongly encourage him or her to care for the self.

I don't know how much it reinforces a behavior to see it reflected in your friends. I don't even know if there is a cure for an addictive personality. One thing I do know, is that the majority of people afflicted with anorexia are physically not yet mature. And children do not have the same individual rights as adults... as a biological imperative for survival, if you completely disregard moral arguments.

This is hardly the first time in history that the aesthetic and even the solvent qualities of self-destruction were celebrated. I toy with the belief that our fascination with it is a simple corruption of an even deeper adoration of self-denial. We come to the point of believing that anything even remotely involving self-sacrifice is beautiful, even when the results before our eyes are not, because sacrificing our own desires is one of the primary ways we affirm our existence as willing beings.

Which is precisely what anorexics are trying to do.

As regards the rights of the body; any person in this world has rights coupled with realistic constraints. You have the right to attempt to walk through walls, but you will get bruises. You have the right to kill yourself, but it will affect other people. One of the truisms along this line is: you may do anything you wish to your body, but if you have an addictive tendency for it, you will lose control over yourself. Addicts have the same rights as any other person, but the choices they make are more vital, have consequences more dire.

You play with starvation. It's your choice. I have read a few of your nodes, and you do seem just a little bit overly concerned with the gastro-intestinal -- but that is not enough to label you an addict. It seems to be a hobby. If you were an addict, anorexia would rapidly cease to be a choice for you. What does that mean with regards to your rights? Alcoholics who wish to stop must make some difficult choices regarding friendships and social situations. Anorexics who wish to regain control over themselves (paradoxical, isn't it) must also limit their exposure to the encouragement of their disease.

When people protest this sort of webpage, it is a cart-before-the-horse type reaction. They want to see young people shielded from the encouragement of the anorexic addiction, before the young people have made up their minds to quit. It doesn't work... but I understand the impulse. Especially since the kind of realistic self-knowledge and lethal determination that are required even to decide to fight an addiction are... not only almost impossible, but truly horrifying... in the minds of adolescents. And some people will resort to censorship in order to defy helplessness.

Personally, I don't believe those websites are helping at all. I do believe that our inability to help these young people without their cooperation (or that of their families) is quite real. In the absence of any constructive action, I will not waste more energy.

But I'm a bit bizarre... I don't stare at wrecked cars, either.