History of We Bite Back
It was the beginning of May in 2006. Ms. Orange had been a moderator on a pro-ana forum (not WBB) for a year prior, and there was an active, thriving membership to keep the community going.
As she’d been getting to know people on her forums, she found that the older members became more of real friends than “ana buddies”. They were starting to grow weary with the whole pro-ana schtick, even though they formed a community that was outwardly labelled as such. Ms. Orange didn’t have much impetus to change how her community was perceived, and the community didn’t have the extra umph they needed to actively focus on recovery.
Then, something happened. The free service provider that hosted the pro-ana board was planning to shut down the forum community. Ms. Orange and her friends were going to lose their support base.
She couldn’t let so many people lose their community, especially when they were all at a sort of turning point – they were at least considering recovery. Their new attitude was not properly represented on a pro-ana forum.
Ms. Orange knew there had to be a place that her friends – former pro-ana website users – could go to keep friends, stay positive and not be alone in their recovery struggles. Otherwise, they would all end up going back to pro-ana communities and becoming progressively worse.
On May 10th, 2006, Ms. Orange set up We Bite Back… even though she couldn’t even afford to pay for the site registration because she was so flat broke at the time. One of her friends – a nice lady in the southern USA – paid the registration costs.
Ms. Orange wanted so much to see her friends become healthy, happy people. There are so many incredibly intelligent people afflicted with eating disorders. If they were to allow their brains the sugar and calories to think properly, they would display this intelligence more readily. Ms. Orange knew from personal experience how much prolonged heavy caloric restriction and electrolyte imbalances could keep her from thinking straight. All emotions become dulled… It’s not really living – it’s mere survival.
After she built the site, Ms. Orange watched people recover and start doing amazing things with their lives that they previously said could not be done. They were starting to believe in themselves. She watched herself do amazing things as well, because she finally made it a personal priority to recover. She made it her “job” to recover!
Ms. Orange felt it was very important that we have a community that would not disappear – one that would not embody a spirit of destruction and low self esteem. It was important that this community would be made to emulate the close, supportive ties found in pro-anorexic boards, but to remove all the permissive attitudes to self-harm and self-destructive comments. It was time to stop focusing all our energies on “helping” others just so we could avoid helping ourselves. It was time to work themselves out of their “comfort” zone of destructive pro-anorexia.
You are who your friends are. If all your friends are miserable and you are feeling vulnerable at the time, they will drag you down. If you are down and you surround yourself with people who are all actively pursuing recovery, health and happiness, they will help you stay strong.
Instead of swapping tips to lose more weight, people on We Bite Back encourage one another to be stronger, happier, healthier people.
It’s time for people to actively pursue their own recovery, and bite their eating disorders back.
It’s time for ethics above aesthetics. It’s time to bite back!
Two other Canadian women now administrate the forum. Spender and Delenda took over administrative duties in 2011, and while the original forum remains strong as ever, they have since expanded WBB into a prorecovery resource on Facebook, Tumblr, Twitter and Instagram.
WBB would not be possible without the work of the post-mod-squad and demi-mods, whom dedicate their time to managing membership, responding to posts, and updating various social media sites.
Special thanks to post-mod veGA for designing this site and running our Twitter, demi-mod vanillaa for managing the Tumblr, Spender for running our Facebook page, Delenda for running the Instagram, and Radar Hill http://www.radarhill.com/ for providing hosting and website management.