When History Repeats Itself
You know the saying that history can repeat itself? It sounds cliche, but it’s kind of shocking when it happens to you in real life.
Before I was a proud feminist/atheist/vegetarian I was unfortunately anorexic. Yet no one in my family seemed to notice the signs, even though when I think back they were pretty obvious. I would constantly check myself in the mirror and talk about dieting and weight loss. I would secretly go online and read fasting tips on anorexia sights. When my family discovered my notebook full of "thinsperation” I had a total meltdown and decided those days were over and I would come to respect my body and those of others for what they were.
Lately I’ve been noticing the first signs of anorexia in my cousin. She is about 11 years old and is gorgeous even by todays beauty standards for most adult women. But as of late she has been compulsively looking in mirrors and grabbing (imaginary) fat off of her thighs. She’s constantly asking me how to go on a diet and constantly demeaning herself with derogatory words. When I first noticed this I asked myself if maybe I was just imagining those things the way my cousin imagined the fat on her pre-pubescent thighs. But when I went through my old journals again I realized that this wasn’t imaginary and if I didn’t try to help - and quick - she would go through the same thing that I did and I wouldn’t wish that on anyone. Ever. So, I went and told her mother.
The thing that stunned me the most was that when I confronted my aunt about the situation, she casually brushed it aside like it was nothing. She told me she preferred her daughter thin anyways. My cousin doesn’t listen to me, either. She says she just wants to be skinnier and not even facts about how horrible eating disorders are scare her.
I think the internet has only made it easier for my generation to have eating disorders. It's easy to Google anorexia tips and find forums where people encourage this type of behavior. There’s not enough web regulation to permanently get these websites off of the internet. I’m a little afraid for girls as young as nine who are starting to notice things like dieting and body image, who also have parents who praise beauty above talent or intelligence. Then, on top of everything, the media idolizes sexualized images of photo-shopped women. I'm afraid for my cousin, and I just wish her mom could open her eyes and see what she’s doing.
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