|These are some girls from the school. They don't seem too miserable! |
I DARE YOU to tell me they could use a little makeup....
1) Removing mirrors sends a clear message to girls that their bodies should be used for doing things (hugs! sports! thinking!), not just for being looked at. When is the last time somebody told YOU this message so blatantly? Did anybody tell you this as a young teen? Okay, how about this: when was the last time you saw any form of popular media share this message, in any way or form? Bottom line: this school is trying to fight the good fight. They (and we!) are up against a powerful toxic cultural environment. Yes, I realize that removing mirrors doesn't get rid of this larger environment, but every little bit helps. Let's be supportive of positive change.
2) Some people have suggested that this ban prevents creative expression. I call bullshit. I agree wholeheartedly that makeup and fashion can be a form of self-expression. I enjoy these things in my own life, though not without angst and expense. That said, let's not forget that there's a powerful beauty industry that wants us to believe that we're "expressing ourselves" when we buy their products and then apply them exactly as directed by magazines. This industry benefits even more when we decide we can't be "ourselves" without these products. Here's a crazy idea: without makeup, without mirrors, and because of the strict dress code, these poor, poor girls will be forced to express themselves through things like: creative writing, drama class, music class, journaling, or by (gasp!) just being themselves.
3) Finally: vanity makes us dumber. Don't believe me? Check out the research for yourself. Numerous psychological studies find that worrying about appearance (called "self-objectifying" in the literature) leads to poorer performance on all sorts of mental tasks, from math tests to word recall, and even something wacky-cool called the Stroop Test. Given this, if removing mirrors helps reduce the mental energy that students had been putting toward their looks, that mental energy can now be put toward helping them be more successful learners. Since giving up mirrors. I can't claim to have become any smarter, per say, but I'm definitely better able to focus.
In closing, I admit that I am biased about this topic. But... I'm not biased because I'm avoiding mirrors; I'm biased because I had an eating disorder when I was in high school. Now, I'd never suggest that getting rid of mirrors could ever cure a full-blown eating disorder. But, creating a daily environment in which young women are valued for their minds and spirits instead of their looks just might help prevent one.
Every little bit helps.
But now tell me what you think. Am I a lone supporter? Love it? Hate it? Feeling mixed? How would this have impacted YOU as a teen?
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