They keep telling me that women are equal,
but I have a hard time believing it.
How can women be equal when the streets are full of walking skeletons;
girls as young as 14 with gaunt faces,
skin pulled so tight I fear bones might pierce
through the purple, gossamer veil
which so delicately clings to their cheeks.
Twiggy thighs that can barely stand a gust of wind.
Razor kisses up and down both arms.
Thinning hair, almost as lifeless as the bulging eyes
ready to pop out of their sockets.
Frail and dizzy with a visible spine,
she says no to the pizza
even though she hasn’t eaten in days.
You see, nothing tastes as good as skinny feels.
That’s what we’re taught.
For 19 years I thought I was nothing more
than a pretty face.
On my knees, bent over the toilet
fingers in my mouth, coercing the ugliness to go.
I wish I could say I did it for myself.
But I did it for that boy who said “just friends”
after I realized I loved him.
I did it for the boy who picked her over me.
I did it for every boy, everywhere.
And that to me is the saddest part.
An infliction, a disease which unraveled every corner of my life
was not even mine.
How depressing it is to know that I
ruined so much of myself for
those who care so little.
So do not throw women’s equality in my face.
You have no right.
Not when girls are starving and binging and purging
and bleeding themselves dry to conform to a man’s idea of beautiful.
You think the right to vote is equality?
Tell that to the girl in the bathroom who
looks down when she washes her hands
because she can’t stand her reflection.
Tell that to the girl in the emergency room
who fainted twice today
because all she ate was water.
Or maybe you should tell that to the family of the girl
who swallowed 130 pills
because she weighed 135 pounds.
By Sophia Grey, Contributor
Featured Image from “Girl, Interrupted” (1999)