Since I feel like we all know each other so well by now (said the girl who developed a parasocial relationship with the internet), I want to post about a very exciting first–and ladies and gents, I apologize if any of the posts that follow violate your Victorian sensibilities:
This past fall, I bought my first bra in two years.
Okay, stay with me here, people. Let me explain why a) I haven’t owned a bra and b) why this is such a big deal.
I have always been a late bloomer. And no, I didn’t just hit puberty at 26. But my physical and experiential immaturity had a lot to do with my meeting and embracing ED–and my losing my claims to womanhood in the process.
Anorexia (and associated EDNOS, such as exercise bulimia) causes, as you can well imagine, extreme fat loss. Now, as wonderful as that may seem in our fat-phobic culture, it’s actually pretty damn scary–especially if you happen to be a woman. Women need body fat in order to be women. We have breasts and hips for a reason: a certain level of body fat is necessary for maintaining proper levels of the hormones that make us women.
So what? You ask. I hate getting my period, and I don’t want kids now anyway. Well, here’s “so what:” The hormones that give us our monthly cycles, the hormones that make it possible for us to be fertile, are also the hormones that make it possible for us to maintain bone density and avoid osteoporosis. The hormones that make it possible for us to have breasts are the hormones that make it possible to avoid breast cancer. The hormones that make us women are the hormones that contribute to thyroid function, sexual function, and many other bodily processes that make living possible and enjoyable.
And when you drop to absurdly low levels of body fat–in order to get that elusive and “sexy” six-pack–you disrupt all of those hormones, which can make your life, in a word, suck.
In the next few posts, I want to discuss a couple of really important things, which may or may not touch on the taboo. I hope you don’t mind:
- Anorexia as a means of delaying sexual function & avoiding sexual maturation
- Anorexia and the loss of the menstrual cycle
That said, in my next post, I guess I’ll start at the very beginning, which is indeed a very good place to start…