ANA is red
They wear red bracelets. They wear blue bracelets. And some wear both.
These beaded bracelets are the accoutrements of those living the pro-ana/pro-mia lifestyle, an underground movement that promotes self-starvation and/or bingeing/purging. Ana is short for anorexia, and mia is short for bulimia.
The bracelets are worn so that those who are pro ana/mia are able to recognize one another, to show that they are proud anorexics and/or bulimics, and to offer encouragement to lose weight, aka "thinspiration."
Many anas wear the red beaded bracelets on their left wrists; some wear them on the wrist of the hand they use to eat with as a constant reminder to resist hunger.
Mias wear the blue beaded bracelet on their right wrists.
The ana bracelets are distinguished by their silver dragonfly clasps, as seen in the photo above, and many pro anas refer to themselves as "Dragonflies." Dragonflies consider anorexia a lifestyle choice, as well as a badge of honour.
The pro-ana/mia lifestyle has taken flight on the Internet and is now a worldwide phenomenon.
This disturbing quote is from a pro-ana/mia blog:
I propose that we all get a red beaded bracelet. You can make it or buy them. Wear it daily or when you go out to secretly say that you are proud to be pro-ana or proud to have an ED that is. Anytime you see someone wearing a red beaded bracelet, capture their eye contact and point to your bracelet, and if they return the same point to theirs ... then they are ED friendly. If not, then its just someone whom is wearing one.
As for those who are older and feel silly wearing a beaded bracelet, wear a red t-shirt every Monday or when you go out on Mondays.
Please pass this along to every proED clubs, forums, websites (secrets/public) for we need to be known widespread secretly amongst us. So, copy/paste everyone!!!"
[NOTE: I have not posted the link to this blog for obvious reasons]
The proliferation of pro-ana/mia websites worldwide is a scourge and, unfortunately, getting those sites shut down is akin to tilting at windmills.
What can you do?
If you see your child wearing one of these bracelets, express your concern in a calm and non-threatening way. Don’t be surprised if your child acts defensively and becomes very angry when confronted. Many often have trouble admitting, even to themselves, that they have a problem with disordered eating. Explain why you are concerned, and make an appointment with a medical professional for an objective assessment of your child’s condition.
It is imperative that you have your child assessed as soon as possible because the pro-ana/mia adherents tend to pursue this lifestyle to the fullest extent, evidencing an “all or nothing " approach. It becomes, for many, a religious experience.