Romanticizing ED’s on TikTok

atxwaif

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99% sure they were referencing this post, which is open to the public.

This is much more of a relief. I was starting to worry that I could be coexisting on the forums with someone whose interests were not in the name of valuing our community... and who would be witnessing some of my own naïvete in the form of discussion posts. I hope that doesn't sound too vain. :nervous:
 

nav16

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I don't know if any of you all actively use Tik Tok, but I've been on it for about a year and have seen some concerning trends. A lot of these aren't necessarily romanticizing ED's, but the Tik Tok culture around being skinny is very unhealthy. I thought they would fit best in this thread.

You can see "skinny check" type videos (sometimes with hundreds of thousands of likes) where they're showing off that they're an XXS or that their bracelets are loose and things like that. I'm not familiar with the pro-ana side of the internet, but I saw some commenters saying these videos are reminiscent of that type of content.
1622035263475.png1622035300950.png1622035335724.png

Also, there's a lot of people who post outfit ideas on the app. If that person is anywhere from skinny to average, the majority of the comments only focus on size. This one isn't necessarily romanticizing, but I thought I would include because of how much of a fixation on size and complaining you can see when the original post had nothing to do with it. I searched "outfit ideas" on Tik Tok and I saw all these comments within a few minutes of looking:
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Next, there's the "I wish I looked like them" genre. The videos are just basically "thinspo" compilations of celebrities/IG models, but the comments are sad considering that when I went to a lot of their profiles they were 15/16.
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Also, I know it's already been discussed, but the "what I eat in a day" videos from teenagers are concerning especially considering that they're still growing. They'll eat like 10 grapes and some skinny pop and call it a night.

Sorry this is a very long post. I feel like there are good parts of Tik Tok, but other parts are just a cesspool of insecure teenagers who are prone to developing EDs because of this strange culture around skinniness.
 
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Fremdschämen

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I don't know if any of you all actively use Tik Tok, but I've been on it for about a year and have seen some concerning trends. A lot of these aren't necessarily romanticizing ED's, but the Tik Tok culture around being skinny is very unhealthy. I thought they would fit best in this thread.

You can see "skinny check" type videos (sometimes with hundreds of thousands of likes) where they're showing off that they're an XXS or that their bracelets are loose and things like that. I'm not familiar with the pro-ana side of the internet, but I saw some commenters saying these videos are reminiscent of that type of content.
View attachment 102559View attachment 102564View attachment 102566

Also, there's a lot of people who post outfit ideas on the app. If that person is anywhere from skinny to average, the majority of the comments only focus on size. This one isn't necessarily romanticizing, but I thought I would include because of how much of a fixation on size and complaining you can see when the original post had nothing to do with it. I searched "outfit ideas" on Tik Tok and I saw all these comments within a few minutes of looking:
View attachment 102555
View attachment 102558
View attachment 102557
View attachment 102556

Next, there's the "I wish I looked like them" genre. The videos are just basically "thinspo" compilations of celebrities/IG models, but the comments are sad considering that when I went to a lot of their profiles they were 15/16.
View attachment 102565
View attachment 102567
View attachment 102568

Also, I know it's already been discussed, but the "what I eat in a day" videos from teenagers are concerning especially considering that they're still growing. They'll eat like 10 grapes and some skinny pop and call it a night.

Sorry this is a very long post. I feel like there are good parts of Tik Tok, but other parts are just a cesspool of insecure teenagers who are prone to developing EDs because of this strange culture around skinniness.
I don't know why this is giving me such early 2000s LJ vibes.

It's so strange to see people being so openly disordered on such a large platform. On all the older websites that we used to use (LJ, Tumblr, etc), you had to look for this type of content. Whether it be public communities, or specific tags, it was difficult to just stumble upon these things for the most part (modelling Tumblr and the like were a different story). It's so easy for kids to just look at the trending page or however it's called, and suddenly see obvious body checks with a thousand comments saying how beautiful and skinny the person is.

Cheesy bread girl comes to mind; busted in the face, but people still compliment her because of her weight.
 
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nav16

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I don't know why this is giving me such early 2000s LJ vibes.

It's so strange to see people being so openly disordered on such a large platform. On all the older websites that we used to use (LJ, Tumblr, etc), you had to look for this type of content. Whether it be public communities, or specific tags, it was difficult to just stumble upon these things for the most part (modelling Tumblr and the like were a different story). It's so easy for kids to just look at the trending page or however it's called, and suddenly see obvious body checks with a thousand comments saying how beautiful and skinny the person is.

Cheesy bread girl comes to mind; busted in the face, but people still compliment her because of her weight.
I’m not really familiar with LJ or that side of tumblr. I don’t know what LJ is actually. From what I know about other pro ana spaces, I hear that it’s usually people who know they have a disorder, hate that they have a disorder, and want to heal but don’t know how (maybe some older members have more insight and I’d love to hear it). However, on Tik Tok, EDs have been rebranded from a mental illness to “relatable content.”

I wanted to see how in the open ED content was so I tried a couple searches. When I tried “ana” or anything like it, I was just met with information on how to get help and the hashtag was disabled. However, when I just typed “skinny…” well the results below were within the first 20 videos. I don’t know if anybody needs it, but big trigger warning for body dysmorphia, anorexia, bulimia, all of those things.

View attachment trim.78C3E529-D682-4EFD-A798-617B6F700065.MOV
View attachment trim.0F6A789E-AF14-491F-AAE9-C0F559D0C616.MOV
View attachment trim.B76B95C1-D337-47AE-A653-585A8EA84A1A.MOV

For people who may not know, Tik Tok is known for having an extremely fine tuned algorithm compared to other social media platforms, so liking one post that doesn’t seem that bad i.e. about healthy food, lack of confidence, outfit ideas, can pull you into a rabbit hole of Tik Toks like this. I’ve gotten videos like this because they have like half a million likes. They might not affect me because I can just scroll past them and feel bad for people struggling, but a lot of more vulnerable people (especially teen girls who are most of the comments on these videos) won’t be able to.

When anybody is called out on making content that fosters this type of environment they always have one of two responses. 1) I’m coping with my trauma and 2) I’m normalizing talking about EDs. I find this hard to believe though, because it’s strange that they start making many more of these “jokes” after their videos with this content get tens if not hundreds of thousands of likes. And I don’t know why you would want to normalize people in your comments saying “OMG same I’m always binging and purging 🤪” like in the third video.

This is already a super long post, but Tik Tok teens have an obsession with “normalizing” mental illness, but in the process they just trivialize it. They’ve done this with depression, anxiety, OCD, ADHD, and now with eating disorders, and I have see this culture translating to the behavior of kids at school in regards to mental illness.

I don’t really know what can be done about this. It’s hard to crack down on these people because Tik Tok is such an impersonal platform. You see a video and you either like it or scroll because of the 15 seconds you see, unlike Instagram or YouTube where it’s a bit more connected to the person/personality who created it. This has just been my experience though, so if anyone has anything to add I’d love to hear it.
 
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eliza88

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I feel like there are good parts of Tik Tok, but other parts are just a cesspool of insecure teenagers who are prone to developing EDs because of this strange culture around skinniness.

For me, I feel less “concern” and more annoyance. After a couple of times looking through Tik Tok, I deleted the thing. The content is so much more filtered, edited, and “teenager” to me. I am pretty sure most avid users on Tik Tok are teenagers and they fit the entire vibe of it too.

I can’t really sit here and be a hypocrite saying these young girls shouldn’t be wanting to diet and lose weight when most members on SG (some are as young as those on Tik Tok) probably went through the same thing (wanting to lose weight). Difference is we aren’t whining in the comments section, spamming it with “I want to be skinny” and “I want to lose weight” comments which I find very nonconstructive and whiny. There are actual constructive discussions from all types of people talking about healthy weight loss, what works, what doesn’t instead of this incessant, useless spamming comments.

Also, I know it's already been discussed, but the "what I eat in a day" videos from teenagers are concerning especially considering that they're still growing. They'll eat like 10 grapes and some skinny pop and call it a night.

Well nobody is filtering through the users like our screening process here. They could be 200 pounds sitting behind their phone screens “eating ten grapes and a pop” before going to bed, and if that were the case, that sounds fine to me.
 
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nav16

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For me, I feel less “concern” and more annoyance. After a couple of times looking through Tik Tok, I deleted the thing. The content is so much more filtered, edited, and “teenager” to me. I am pretty sure most avid users on Tik Tok are teenagers and they fit the entire vibe of it too.

I can’t really sit here and be a hypocrite saying these young girls shouldn’t be wanting to diet and lose weight when most members on SG (some are as young as those on Tik Tok) probably went through the same thing (wanting to lose weight). Difference is we aren’t whining in the comments section, spamming it with “I want to be skinny” and “I want to lose weight” comments which I find very nonconstructive and whiny. There are actual constructive discussions from all types of people talking about healthy weight loss, what works, what doesn’t instead of this incessant, useless spamming comments.



Well nobody is filtering through the users like our screening process here. They could be 200 pounds sitting behind their phone screens “eating ten grapes and a pop” before going to bed, and if that were the case, that sounds fine to me.
I understand where you’re coming from. My problem is more with the platform itself for so readily promoting this content to unsuspecting teenagers. The comments like that can be very annoying when you’re just looking for cute outfits, and I agree they come off whiny and unnecessary. But the people here on SG know the type of content they’re coming for, which isn’t the same for these teenagers. I mean I’m the same age as these teenagers and possibly younger than a lot of them, and I want to lose weight.

It can lead super easily to an extremely unhealthy relationship with food that’s worse for them in the long run.
 
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delicateeuphoria

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I’m not really familiar with LJ or that side of tumblr. I don’t know what LJ is actually. From what I know about other pro ana spaces, I hear that it’s usually people who know they have a disorder, hate that they have a disorder, and want to heal but don’t know how (maybe some older members have more insight and I’d love to hear it). However, on Tik Tok, EDs have been rebranded from a mental illness to “relatable content.”

I wanted to see how in the open ED content was so I tried a couple searches. When I tried “ana” or anything like it, I was just met with information on how to get help and the hashtag was disabled. However, when I just typed “skinny…” well the results below were within the first 20 videos. I don’t know if anybody needs it, but big trigger warning for body dysmorphia, anorexia, bulimia, all of those things.

View attachment 102912
View attachment 102913
View attachment 102914

For people who may not know, Tik Tok is known for having an extremely fine tuned algorithm compared to other social media platforms, so liking one post that doesn’t seem that bad i.e. about healthy food, lack of confidence, outfit ideas, can pull you into a rabbit hole of Tik Toks like this. I’ve gotten videos like this because they have like half a million likes. They might not affect me because I can just scroll past them and feel bad for people struggling, but a lot of more vulnerable people (especially teen girls who are most of the comments on these videos) won’t be able to.

When anybody is called out on making content that fosters this type of environment they always have one of two responses. 1) I’m coping with my trauma and 2) I’m normalizing talking about EDs. I find this hard to believe though, because it’s strange that they start making many more of these “jokes” after their videos with this content get tens if not hundreds of thousands of likes. And I don’t know why you would want to normalize people in your comments saying “OMG same I’m always binging and purging 🤪” like in the third video.

This is already a super long post, but Tik Tok teens have an obsession with “normalizing” mental illness, but in the process they just trivialize it. They’ve done this with depression, anxiety, OCD, ADHD, and now with eating disorders, and I have see this culture translating to the behavior of kids at school in regards to mental illness.

I don’t really know what can be done about this. It’s hard to crack down on these people because Tik Tok is such an impersonal platform. You see a video and you either like it or scroll because of the 15 seconds you see, unlike Instagram or YouTube where it’s a bit more connected to the person/personality who created it. This has just been my experience though, so if anyone has anything to add I’d love to hear it.
This whole TikTok situation seems like a sort of ultimate consequence of Gen-Z trauma dumping as a form of "humour". Before I deleted the app, it would be in almost every comment section including the ones of innocuous videos of people with their parents, eating decadent meals or enjoying a more luxurious lifestyle - there'd be masses of comments from people going "wow wish I had a good relationship with my dad/food/money".

I've always enjoyed a bit of dark humour and poking fun at my bad experiences amongst consenting friends, not in the comment sections of some random person who's just trying to share a piece of their life where thousands of people can now get their mood ruined by being exposed to someone else's trauma dumping. It's become extremely annoying and unoriginal and also seems to go hand in hand with the extreme "privilege policing" that's rampant on TikTok too, which is a whole other can of worms that I won't get into.

But overall this seems like a more generational issue rather than an issue with TikTok itself - the same type of trauma dumping content is littered throughout Twitter, Pinterest comments and even some niche Facebook groups I'm in (Frogspotting is the first one that comes to mind). I'm not a "bootstraps" type of person, but I do think that a lot of Gen Z and young Millennials simply don't know and don't want to learn how to take some more control in their own lives or accept the things that they can't control and move on, and instead try to make it everyone else's problem on social media. It's fucking annoying.
 
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Tinyportia

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I understand where you’re coming from. My problem is more with the platform itself for so readily promoting this content to unsuspecting teenagers. The comments like that can be very annoying when you’re just looking for cute outfits, and I agree they come off whiny and unnecessary. But the people here on SG know the type of content they’re coming for, which isn’t the same for these teenagers. I mean I’m the same age as these teenagers and possibly younger than a lot of them, and I want to lose weight.

It can lead super easily to an extremely unhealthy relationship with food that’s worse for them in the long run.

On the ED side, I 100% agree with you. I think there’s definitely a correlation btw social media and eating disorders (we discussed the issue in this thread FYI).

Tiktok in particular seems to be the platform that’s always called out as being the most “problematic” of all the social media sites bc of its algorithm. Whilst I haven’t used Tiktok myself, I understand it’s pretty straight forward to reset your algorithm/fyp so couldn’t someone just do that if they wanted to avoid seeing triggering content?

I don’t know what LJ is actually

Livejournal :)
 
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delicateeuphoria

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Whilst I haven’t used Tiktok myself, I understand it’s pretty straight forward to reset your algorithm/fyp so couldn’t someone just do that if they wanted to avoid seeing triggering content?
Unfortunately, that's not necessarily the case - I started seeing a lot of ED content and even though I would select "not interested" and move on, it kept showing up in my feed. The only explanation I can think of for it is that I interacted with a number of videos regarding models, fashion, fitness, and lower-calorie meals, which must overlap a lot with the ED content consumers on there too.

I also started receiving a lot more ED content when I started interacting with anime-related videos which is weird since all the shows I watch are action/gory shows so I'm not seeing the connection there. Overall it just seems like there's a ton of ED content on there and it bleeds into otherwise normal algorithms which is why the app is considered to be even more problematic than ones like tumblr/twitter where you can just block entire hashtags/users.
 
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nav16

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On the ED side, I 100% agree with you. I think there’s definitely a correlation btw social media and eating disorders (we discussed the issue in this thread FYI).

Tiktok in particular seems to be the platform that’s always called out as being the most “problematic” of all the social media sites bc of its algorithm. Whilst I haven’t used Tiktok myself, I understand it’s pretty straight forward to reset your algorithm/fyp so couldn’t someone just do that if they wanted to avoid seeing triggering content?
I really agree with everything that @delicateeuphoria has contributed so far.

I feel like the “Not Interested” button doesn’t work for me. Whenever I see something I don’t like I click it, but it seems like I’ll just get more of that type of content. The only way I can think to “reset” it is to make a new account. There’s no way to say explicitly what type of content you would and would not like, so you kind of just scroll and hope for the best.

Also, I don’t interact with fashion/model/fitness content often. I mostly use Tik Tok for the occasionally very funny videos and keeping up with artists that I like, but I still get this type of content from time to time.

This whole TikTok situation seems like a sort of ultimate consequence of Gen-Z trauma dumping as a form of "humour". Before I deleted the app, it would be in almost every comment section including the ones of innocuous videos of people with their parents, eating decadent meals or enjoying a more luxurious lifestyle - there'd be masses of comments from people going "wow wish I had a good relationship with my dad/food/money".

But overall this seems like a more generational issue rather than an issue with TikTok itself - the same type of trauma dumping content is littered throughout Twitter, Pinterest comments and even some niche Facebook groups I'm in (Frogspotting is the first one that comes to mind).
I totally agree with this. Commenters will project every single life problem they have on to random people just living their lives, and there’s so much strange competitiveness over who was more trauma as if trauma’s a good thing. When I think about it more I feel like the audience for Tik Tok, which is mainly Gen Z, is a huge reason why it breeds so much toxicity.
 
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Fremdschämen

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I’m not really familiar with LJ or that side of tumblr. I don’t know what LJ is actually.
Have you ever looked in the mirror and felt yourself shriveling and crumbling from being ten thousand years old?

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raindancexo

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I hope it's okay that I add on here with what I've been seeing lately. I went through this thread and honestly wish I'd saved all of the bullshit pro-ana Tiktoks I've seen over the last year, especially with people proudly showcasing disordered behaviors. As someone who did have an ED (recovered), I can't help but think that some of it seems so superficial and ignorant-- almost feels like a trend? Reading through the comments, there is so much trauma dumping and attention-seeking as if it's a competition. This app reeks of toxicity.

I don't know what any of their intentions are, but real or not, these people seriously need help.

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BTW I have Snejana as my TikTok profile pic. 😊
 
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