An online community and website for teens promotes healthy attitudes about body image, eating, and self esteem

The National Eating Disorders Association’s (NEDA) new website, is meant to provide a positive space for teens to join together in support of healthy body image and self-esteem. Originally developed by Scarlet Hemkes in conjunction with Riverduinen in the Netherlands (, Proud2Bme came from Hemkes’ desire to provide a compelling alternative to pro-ana/pro-mia websites she found to be so toxic.Hemkes herself suffered from both anorexia and bulimia for nearly ten years, and was disturbed by the many sites that promoted disordered eating and extreme weight-control behaviors instead of recovery.

The English-language version of the site launched last week at the NEDA
conference in Los Angeles and covers a range of topics including beauty, fashion, and entertainment, all with a slant towards facilitating healthier attitudes and positive self-image in young people. It is also meant to be a space for individuals who may be struggling with eating disorders to reach out in a community that supports recovery and mental, physical, and emotional wellbeing. The online forum where teens can post about their struggles and ask questions is a strictly “body-snark free zone,” where bashing others’ appearance and talk about numbers is banned. In addition to the community forums, Proud2Bme includes personal stories, specifically focused on activism around body-acceptance, interviews, a blog, information about health, beauty and fashion, resources for parents, and links to treatment providers and support groups through NEDA’s website.

Teens today are well connected to a variety of social networking communities and will continue to seek out information on topics of interest like beauty, health, and entertainment. Proud2Bme may fill a much-needed niche by providing current and socially relevant information on these topics, while promoting self-acceptance and healthy lifestyles. It is also yet another space where those seeking help and connection to others who may be struggling with similar issues can come together. For up to date stories and posts, you can follow Proud2Bme on Facebook:  (@Proud2BmeUS) on Twitter

By: Sarah Forsberg