THE MANY FACETS OF FEMININITY
Every year, 1.6 million women in the world learn that they are affected by cancer. The announcement of the diagnosis is a violent trauma, the word “cancer” is scary, and rightly so. This is the beginning of a battle that no one can prepare us for, even if we are fortunate enough to be supported by those around us, which will push us to withdraw into oneself, questioning our fundamental essence.
If treatments are necessary and unavoidable, the fear of their side effects is an additional difficulty to overcome. Their impact on our already bruised body makes us even more vulnerable. Cancer directly affects our femininity, at least what we thought was essential to feel like a woman and to be a woman in our society.
In my fight against the disease, the aggressiveness of the treatments to fight the cancerous cells harmed my bodily appearance, depriving me of my hair, my eyelashes, and my eyebrows, not to mention my chest. I fled the bathroom, up until then a place of pleasure and a moment of relaxation. It became a place of suffering, where the idea of catching a glimpse of my reflection in the mirror paralyzed me. In addition to the physical pain, this image of me, altered, plunged me into a great distress and cut me off from the world, dreading the gaze of others, even and especially that of my entourage.
No longer recognizing myself, how should I introduce myself, define myself? Was I still a woman,
a “real” woman? How could this be possible, dispossessed of everything, at least what I thought was essential to being a woman?
I have wondered at length on the subject, from my personal experience but also, sharing with other women who had also gone through the ordeal of the disease.
How can you preserve your femininity when the body is so damaged? How do you find the desire to return to the bathroom? How can you take care of yourself and do yourself good? How can we regain self-esteem and accept self respect?
My usual beauty products no longer suited my particular needs, from my fragile skin, to my heightened sense of smell and my painful scars.
Faced with a vacuum that I considered unacceptable considering the number of women involved and the importance of these gestures of comfort in this battle, I decided to create a range of cosmetics to help us take care of ourselves, to continue despite everything, to feel like a woman.
Adversity has helped me to refocus things but never, ever to renounce being a woman, but to assert it louder and stronger than ever before. Adversity taught me to love my body, to cherish it even more. My beauty is certainly not that of glossy papers. Still, things change, the world changes and thanks to all of us who show that femininity is not a straitjacket or a matter of norms but an incredible force of life that allows us to move mountains, to face the most difficult trials, to believe in the impossible and to make it a reality.
It is not trivial to remember that there is not ONE type of femininity, but femininities with many facets that express themselves differently, and that in every one of us is the most beautiful incarnation.
Since the beginning of this OZALYS adventure, because it is one really, I have had the immense good fortune to meet every day sensitive, combative, flirtatious, funny, conquering, generous, intelligent and moving women. They all have their own idea of what it is to be a woman but with the same common point, the desire to take full advantage of every moment of life because they know the price.