I’ve talked about my experiences with anorexia a lot. In relation to the roots of it, the lessons learned and the weight lost. In fact, I have another 2000 word article that isn’t completed yet in draft about my latest struggles that I plan to add to the mix (I’m just not quite ready to share yet). But in keeping with the March challenge that Kitten invited me to join, I’d like to talk about it from a new angle: anorexia and femininity.
At first blush, it can be easy to see how femininity and anorexia are intertwined. Anorexia can include compulsions towards “feminine” ideals like hourglass figures and a desire to be “thin and pretty”.
In essence, anorexic women often desire to be more attractive, and often times desire characteristics (like the hourglass figure) that signal fertility in order to attract a man. But in the application of trying to achieve perfection, anorexia actually moves far, far away from these things. In the quest for the perfect hourglass figure, many of us emaciate ourselves to the point of inducing amenorrhea, a lack of menstrual cycle, making fertility chances rather low. While it seems counterintuitive, the disorder ushers us further, instead of focusing on our body’s warning signs.
In addition to that, an anorexic’s wardrobe is rather unfeminine, despite the fact that the whole point of the disorder is to be a better, more attractive woman. Anorexic people tend to wear baggy clothing to conceal their weight (which is easy to hide if you are expected to wear frumpy, “modest” clothing like me). There is no hint of womanly curves and sometimes our bodies are concealed well enough you truly cannot distinguish whether we are a man or a woman. Instead of emphasizing our shape as women, we hide it in shame and disgust until such time as we feel it is perfect (a time that doesn’t exist, because death finds us first).
The disorder destroys our once supple skin with a shallow gray complexion and sunken in cheeks. Occasionally our skin even sheds off in gray, flaky patches from protein deficiencies and other associated problems with a lack of adequate nutrition.
In our quest to be more desirable, we reach a point at which we actually grow hair everywhere (really the last thing to make a gal feel feminine) as our bodies try to keep us warm during what they perceive to be a period of starvation. Our backs and chests grow white downy hair to keep us warm andn cover our protruding ribs.
Instead of having a gentle air about us of feminine confidence and strength, we find ourselves curled into a ball without even being able to muster the energy to stand, shivering as we watch the rest of the world go by.
Death knocks on our door as we push ourselves further after seeing the warped view of femininity on magazines, tv sets, computer ads and posters around us. We find ourselves dying to the pursuit of femininity in a way just as warped as the view presented to us via these mediums.
The warm feminine spirit we possess as women, when starved, turns cold and icy because of the pain that goes along with starving to death. Being cannibalized by your own body has a way of changing a woman and her spirit. When you can’t even take care of yourself, you definitely don’t have the energy to be a loving wife and a motherly influence to your children.
The sharp feminine mind, with its sweetness and sass (and a bit of saltiness too – let the reader understand), fades away without proper nourishment. There is no witty banter to be had with the masculinity around you if you are verging on blacking out because you refuse to feed yourself and fuel your brain.
Anorexia focuses on physical aspects of feminine beauty, but it is corrupt. It twists true femininity and turns one aspect of it isn’t something abhorrent: the destruction of the female body and its loveliness. Femininity is like a plant with many vines branching out: the feminine spirit, mind and body. When one branch becomes overcome by sickness, the others quickly follow and all are heavily affected.
Bones don’t convince anyone of inherent, undeniable beauty. Set your mind and heart on true femininity, where the health of your spirit, body, and mind are priceless, not anorexia, where your worth is found in your size and shape.
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