The Feminine Strong
In 2008, my sister was diagnosed with anorexia. My world shattered. One in ten people die from anorexia of those who get the eating disorder. I was beyond scared for her life. I cried many nights and most of the time I did not know where the tears came from or why exactly I was crying. I had nightmares about losing her. I already felt as though I had lost her. She was an entirely different person. E.D. (the Eating Disorder voice, as she called it) had taken over her body and turned her into someone I could no longer relate to. Just the year before we were inseparable, like one person. When E.D. took over I lost my role model, my big sister, and most importantly my best friend.
While she was recovering I tried to support her and be there for her, but for some reason I could not stand to be around her. I know several times I hurt her the way I acted, but inside I hated myself even more just for feeling this way. The turning point in our relationship came slow and gradual, as is the case with some miracles: they may not happen in one defining moment, but when you look back you realize that the most arduous years of your life are the miracles. Those years she was in recovery became the years I learned more about myself and the world around me. Anorexia is such a common addiction in American society because of the way women are portrayed in the media and the way women view themselves. I realized the psychological consequences of such a culture by seeing my sister fight the messages of advertising and gender-stereotyping: Women are not good enough the way they are; they are flawed and imperfect, and in order to become perfect, they must look and act a certain way that is appropriate to their role as a female. These messages have already destroyed many women.
When I was younger, I tried to rid myself of the typical girl image by being strong, hardheaded and tough. I wore t-shirts and jeans almost every day, and by doing so I thought I was showing that I wasn’t weak. But now that I understand how society oppresses girls and how devastating the effects can be, I embrace the fact that I can be feminine and still be strong.