Like everywhere else on the Internet, a thinspiration community has popped up on Instagram. A quick search for "thinspo" -- the shorthand term used for these glorifications of the super-skinny -- on Hashgram, a site that aggregates tags on Instagram photos, pulls up a bunch of disturbing images. Though, not all the images or mantras are unhealthy, a lot of them are. Also, that they are tagged "thinspo" signals the poster wants to indicates a certain acceptance of the thinspo mind-set. (Unless they're using the tag to make a point, like this homegirl.)
It's totally completely unsurprising that the popular photo sharing app has been used to present of these photos that glorify super-skinny body images and the unhealthy behaviors associated with attaining this "ideal." Wherever there's a platform, especially a visual one, these communities seem to pop up. We saw it on Tumblr and Pinterest earlier. And we already know this stuff has existed since the beginning of the Internet.
This thinspo crowd has likely existed since the beginning of Instagram, only getting more popular as the app has gotten more users. Instagram just opened up to Android users, for example, giving more thinspo posters access to the app. But a recent controversy involving the thin (and beautiful) fashion muse Alexa Chung brought this particular platform to our attention. Chung posted the photo at right of herself and her mom on the platform. And, though she did not tag it "thinspo," the image, which showcases Chung's slender legs and her jutting out collar bone, drew both thinspo participants as well as critics. The Daily Mail has a screenshot of some of the comments, which range from "nice legs ;)" to more critical, like, "alexa knows exactly what she's doing, u don't get this way without trying, it's not 'nature' - lol." Since, Chung has made her account private, denying she has an eating disorder. "Ok everyone thanks for the teen angst discussions. People are different sizes. I'm not trying to be thinspo for anyone. I am now making this acct private. Byyyyyeeee," she wrote.