Where sociology, contemporary feminism, body image & beauty culture collide with everyday life.
I'll look forward to it!
Just caught this on Yahoo news... I'm really looking forward to seeing this! I think it's FANTASTIC!!
THanks so much! I'm nervous but also excited.
Front page of Yahoo! Congrats. I hadn't checked your blog much since the end of the experiment since it has been so sporadic. I miss it. It is very strange seeing photos of you now. Almost distracting from your posts, which are too often nowadays about what you look like rather than are like. It seems to take away from your original message. Sorry to be a downer, but as a faithful reader for a year, I thought I'd say your looks (while lovely) are not remotely the most interesting or worthwhile thing you have to write about.
Oh gosh, no worries about being a "downer." I have the exact same opinion about the past few months! I see it as a vanity relapse that boomeranged back once the no-mirrors project ended. I'd kept myself away from all that vain girlie stuff for so long that I went ahead and gave myself permission to indulge for a while. 12 months without mirrors followed by 3 months of increased vanity and fun play with dress/hair/makeup was something I decided to allow myself to experience without judgement. I wanted see where it would go and how I'd feel about it. So I let the pendulum swing, and I'm happy to report that it seems to be settling back to a more grounded place than where I started 16 months ago! :)
Watching you on 20/20 tonight and I have to say you look gorgeous! Good for you and what a positive message to all girls and women alike!
girl, you are an inspiration. just caught you on 20/20. you are so beautiful and thank you for sharing this story.
loved it!! you should be proud of yourself, what a courage it took to do what you did!!
Watching your story on 20/20 right now and I can't believe the comments you've gotten on your blog on the past. You are an absolutely beautiful woman, inside and out. Contrary to another previous commenter, if I looked like you, I would look in the mirror every day...
I loved this story. You are so beautiful and a great inspiration for our daughters.
You are awesome! A beauty inside and out! Just saw your story on 20/20 and am so impressed with your strength and focus on what is important! Great job!
Thank You so much - It was delightful to watch you tonight, it brought tears to my eyes - what a wonderful thing you did. Many years ago, before the internet, even, I read about a woman who stopped looking in the mirror: she was around 40 when she started, and she would only look in a mirror about every 5 years (as I recall...) to "orient" herself to her changes. She said she did so in order to live her life from 'the inside out', not looking at herself, but to others, - similar to you. Wish I could remember more, or find her, now. Anyway - Many Congratulations ! Lou
Awesome story on 20/20!!!
Just saw your story on 20/20.. what an inspiring personal project, you are very beautiful, thanks so much for sharing your journey! Best wishes to you & your husband, you made a gorgeous bride! :)
OMG!! I LOVE YOU!!! This is the most amazing experiment ever!! YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL!!!! I don't know if I could do this. You are amazing! Kudos to you and poo- poo to all those negative comments you received. You rock :)
Kjerstin, you inspire! Just viewed your interview and loved it! I heard about your story probably a year ago, and I like you am an academic (Ph.D. student in medical anthropology) and am also interested in body image, among other topics. I think your experiment and bravery were a beautiful thing! And also, you are beautiful! Keep up the insightful work!!!
Just saw you on 20/20! Beautiful story, beautiful woman. I felt so bad when you showed some of the horrible comments people posted on your blog. Just remember - some people need to put other people down to make themselves feel better. It's their problem - not yours. The ones who called you fat and ugly are probably living in their parents basement and playing video games all day. Congrats on finishing out your project!
Thank you for going public about your "obsession"! When I was about 8, my mom made such a fuss about how looking into a mirror would make me vain and "no one likes a vain girl" that I trained myself not to see myself in mirrors. It took a very supportive teacher when I was 21 to help me face myself and accept what I looked like in a mirror. I still tend not to look....
I just saw your story on ABC. As a former sufferer from an ED I find your story truly inspiring! You're doing great things for so many women by unveiling the truth behind genuine beauty; thank you for that!
I just saw ur show, and I want to say I have a great amount of respect for u! I know I wouldn't have been able to do it, I struggle to much bout my looks and I'm only 18/:. But anyways, don't let those ignorant people who have nothing better to say or do bout why u've done bring u down, their just being mean and mest up. But their not not important, ur friends and family are, and i know there's a lot of people on here who support everything u've done so far( me lol), and find u inspiring. Ur beautiful, and ur husband is a one of a kind. :) good luck on everything, and don't give up, keep moving ahead, because ur a wonderfull person!. Xoxo, best wishes. Erika.
I just saw your story on 20/20...I must say bravo!! As am I watching your segment all I could think about was "write was she feels and is saying is what I've been battling my entire adult life" the way you described your husband (congrats by the way) is how I feel my boyfriend. I have my masters in counseling and use to be a therapist for young girls with eating disorders..something I went thru as well. You have given me strength thru a hard time I'm going thru right now with my weight. Thank you for wheat you've done!! Keep it up you're amazing!
Congratulation. The story was amazing and still is. Enjoy your life and continue to be a success.
You are brave and intelligent and wonderful and beautiful... And an inspiration to all women. You go girl!
I just watched your story on 20/20 with my 12kids year old daughter! You are an inspiration! Thank you for allowing us to see your story!
Just saw your interview. Fantastic REAL story of how society has everyone trained on what is beautiful. You are gorgeous and an inspiration. Glad you are healthy and you are a gorgeous bride. Society has become nasty and cruel toward people who don't fit the mold of what's on the current cover of a magazine. I am an overweight woman who struggles daily with self image let alone the looks I get from the public. So I have a problem and am trying to fix it but in the meantime I am not stupid or lazy. That is exactly what it has come down to in this world. What happened to the golden rule?? Does anyone teach that or believe that anymore?? I do and will continue even if society doesn't. Keep inspiring. You are great at it. Congrats to you and your husband best of luck.
I just caught the special tonight on 20/20 and I couldn't resist finding your blog! I am so proud to be a woman amongst women like you. You are absolutely gorgeous inside and out. Thank you for sharing your story!!!
I watched this story and I just had to write to you. Personally, I'd never be able to go that long without looking at myself in a mirror, mostly because I'm too insecure. With that being said, I think you are extremely brave to do something like this. KUDOS TO YOU! When you read those horrible comments people were writing I was just floored. But you know something, those ignorant fools can't do anything but TRY to tear people down. I'm so happy you had the strength to not let them get to you. I think you are a beautiful woman, and being a size 2 is not as great as it seems - trust me! You look great the way you are.
Hi there. I just watched you on 20/20 and I am in awe! I did not know about your blog until I watched the show. I am exactly like you! I have such issues with self image. You truly inspire me to think twice about how I feel about myself. Thank you
Hey there.... your an inspiration. I just watched you on 20/20 and I think you are fabulous. I sometimes wonder if my two daughters will have personal issues with themselves. Audrey (9) refuses to eat meat and says she will never put on the weight. Angelika (12) says everyday she isn't pretty enough no matter how much I tell her otherwise. I had them watch your story so I am hoping you inspired them as much as you have inspired me.
I as many others have just seen your story on ABC and I was very inspired by your story and as a senior in high school, i have struggled with weight and how i look. This story alone has shown me that i'm not alone and that I can overcome my problems if I set a goal for myself and build up my self esteem. I try to work out as much as I can but I feel what brings me down is that I am constantly checking my weight on the scale and no change...maybe i should try something like excercise without weighing myself on a scale? :) well anyways this experiment has really inspired me and you have now gained a new follower :)
Just saw your story tonight on 20/20.As a child of the 1960's when Twiggy was the fashion sensation, I understand the negativity of watching the mirror. Still find fault with my appearance every time I look in my mirror even at age 56. Plan to follow your lead and look in the mirror a little less. Thank you.You are a beautiful young woman--inside and outside.Good for you.
I saw the last part of the story on 20/20. I like the concept of eliminating the mirrors. I haven't read your blog before so forgive me if I get anything that I say wrong. I have often thought that women of the past (before mirrors) received their body image from the people around them. So to me, it was perfectly natural that you wanted to eliminate mirrors. I was surprised however that you decided to continue to wear makeup during your experiment. I have two dauthers so I know how influential and damaging comments of any kind can be. Thanks for bringing attention to this issue. It's needed and very necessary. But one thing I hope people will learn is that it's how you feel about yourself that's most important not what others feel about you. Whether people realize it or not, our opinions say more about ourselves than the ones we're making comments about.
Just saw the special! So exciting. I'm going to promote your story on my blog, www.genderequalityallies.tumblr.com. We're a group of students promoting gender equality, including, more specifically, body-confidence and self-love for young women every where. Thank you for your inspiring story!
Wow! You are absolutely gorgeous! And not to mention a beautiful soul! Just watched the episode and I don't even know you but I feel so proud for you! What an amazing message... I loved the response about facing it head on because it made you focus on how you feel. My daughter is 4 and I'm seriously scared of what she may face seeing how the imagery of women is portrayed, and only getting worse. I think what you did is fabulous. As for the ridiculous comments from earlier, it is a shame that these poor, ugly people didn't have better parents to set examples or teach them the meaning of beauty and kindness and compassion for others. At times I feel like the youth of this nation is doomed, and then I hear of a message such as this. Thank you!! And by the way, you were an amazingly beautiful bride! <3
Btw, my name is Ashley Evans and I'm from Rome, Ga. I will be sharing this story with my 4 year old. It's amazing what she understands at such a young age and if more people instill love for others, no matter their looks, it would be a more peaceful, pleasant society. =)
I just watched your story on ABC and put your blog in my favorites. you are beautiful inside and out. I have struggled with bulimia for thirty years. I think about my weight every day. Thank you for sharing your story.
I think your amazing for having the courage to do that. I know I wouldn't. I. Proud that you were able to do that and to get better self esteem! You rock. Congrats I liked the episode!
i just saw you on 20/20 and i must say that you are pretty and have guts to go a whole year without mirrors! all those people that said that you are fat or ugly are just mad at the way they look so they say bad things about other people just to make themselves feel better. and just in case they dont know (since their so ignorant) nobody in this world is perfect. not everyone is gonna be a size 2 and look alike because then this world would be a boring place. i dont know why women even wanna look like walking toothpicks.at 19 i was a size 0 and my weight was 88 lbs. many people might think i weighed so little because i starved myself or because i was anorexic but i ate like a grown man. i would eat anything you put infront of me but for some reason i never gained a pound. everyone would tell me that i was soo lucky i was thin but i didnt like it. i think women look so beautiful with a little meat on their bones not like how i was lolluckily i got pregnant and had my baby boy 2 months ago. i am now 20 and i weigh 109 pounds. even though i still look skinny i feel better because i am now wearing size 5 jeans.in my opinion i think women are beautiful in every shape (just not super skinny lol).you are a brave, and beautiful women!and congrats on your wedding.. you looked soo pretty!!
Your story is awesome! The part where you're looking in the mirror when trying your wedding dress on and didn't like what you saw... I though u were nuts. U looked awesome.I can say... In high school I was so self conscious about my figure even though I worked out like a maniac and was always in sports. I'm 5 yrs out of high school and just found some old pictures and can't believe I didn't live in the moment and love my body. Looking back now, my body was exactly where I'd like to see it now. I give u so much credit for not looking in mirrors. I wish I had that will power.
excellent piece. I would love to chat with you some day. I teach fashion, have for 20 years and constantly advocate for the very issues you blog! You are an inspiration. You need to watch some incredible documentaries that validate what you're doing:America the BeautifulMisrepresentationThey will help you to see that this is an epidemic!Congrats to getting past the point of needing a mirror, but hope one day you will be ok with both... you are an inspiration.
I am watching your piece on television right now. You are so beautiful and an inspiration. I know I definitely could not do that! Congrats on your wedding and good luck in the future. :)
I applaud your efforts to support a true, healthy and positive body image. As someone who suffered with BDD and various unhealthy eating habits, I found comfort in your story. I used to be a size 4, and when a spinal cord injury kept me from physical activity, my weight rapidly escalated. My dysmorphia was so bad, my therapist suggested I cover all the mirrors in my dorm room until I made more progress. I am so much happier now (MANY years later) and have become comfortable with what I see. Sure I'd like to lose a few and I'm sure one day when I really want to (but don't feel I HAVE to) I will, but I now know that's not who I am and I don't have to be scared to see my reflection as I walk past a window! :)
I'm proud of you! I'm a 52 year old woman and I'm pretty happy with myself now but when I was a teenager I had problems looking at myself in the mirror. So I did not look at myself for more than 15 years. I accepted myself when I was 23 years old and started to live a normal life! My problem started from bulling. Thanks for sharing your experience. You are beautiful inside and out! Congratulations!
Hi Kjerstin, Wow, great job and wonderful inspiration! Thank you so very much for sharing...it takes a lot of courage. So glad I caught the mention of your blog in the NYT yesterday and am now subscribing.All the best to you and your husband. Carol
I just saw you on the show last night and wanted to say HOORAY! I loved the idea. I gave up the scale some time ago, and I tend to stay away from mirrors as well - nothing extreme, but I take one look and then move on. My mood is no longer dependent on a weight or reflection. I'm much happier since giving them up!!!
Not too sure on how many comments you have received on the nasty people who have commented you in the past about your journey but I just had to say those people are cowards and wouldn't be able to possess the courage you have displayed during your experience. As a woman who also been criticized on my weight, I am 5'5 and 148 lbs, by no means overweight, but society has put a huge burden on us as women to be a size 2. Your story was very inspirational and I just wanted to let you know even though I don't know you personally , I am very proud of you :)
You are so courageous for putting yourself in the public eye. Don't listen to anyone who says you are anything less than beautiful, they obviously have their own issues to deal with. I wish you the very best, stay true to yourself.
Bravo! That was going to be my comment exactly. Thank you Kjerstin for putting yourself out there as an expample to us all.
I watched your story and I have to tell you I came away feeling happy for you and good about myself. You should be proud of yourself and what a great roll model you are for other women.
I think you're a inspiration and a beauty!!!
I love what you've done! Be proud, be strong!
Well done you! Thank you, on behalf of us girls everywhere. What you did is amazing and inspiring. How truly excellent.
What an amazing story, you are an inspiration and a beautiful woman, congratulations on an amazing accomplishment and your wedding. You definately made me do some soul searching, thank you.
I just watched your story on the yahoo news feed, and it brought tears to my eyes. You are an amazing and inspirational woman, and it gave me an immense sense of pride as a woman to hear about your journey, struggles, and achievements. Cheers to you, to your marriage, and to your future, which is surely bright.
Your story is beautiful and so are you. Thank you for sharing it with the world. My daughters and I enjoyed watching your strength and determination to bring awareness to issues of body image. You are a perfect example of how inner beauty can shine its way out!
Just saw your story on the yahoo feed, too. I totally connect with your story and the challenge of loving who you are no mater what you look like. I have made a commitment to not weigh myself and have not seen a number on a scale in 2 years (even at the doctor's office, I just turn around). I was determining my self-worth based on a number. Up a few pounds meant I was a bad person while down a few pounds meant I was a good girl. It was maddening. Now that I have ignored a scale, I have discovered that I like how I look and am more confident in my body. I am 5'7" and probably 170 lbs. I really don't know exactly, but I can tell when my pants fit too tight or are getting loose.
I saw your story on yahoo and I want you to know that you are beautiful...I have struggled (and still do) with fitting in based on my weight and clothing size. I do have a "goal" weight and size, and while I don't aspire to be model thin, it does control my happiness and self-worth. Your story and blog have really inspired me to pay less attention to these numbers and to focus more on finding ways to feel good about myself and doing things I love. I think we often miss out on precious moments in our lives and with the people we love when we are so obsessed with image. Thank you for sharing your story.
wow what an amazing story! I just watched your 20/20 segment and it was so inspiring. That must have been such a challenge to complete! I cannot believe some of those people leaving nasty comments - your story is so touching and such an accomplishment! you must be so proud of yourself :) congrats on your wedding and thank you for sharing such a personal story!
I saw your story on Yahoo and just wanted to tell you how much I enjoyed and appreciated your story. The will power and determination to think,attempt and complete that type of goal is amazing to me.( I would have crumbled long ago)Thank you for sharing your story.I have some friends who have started a "company" who are all about changing the way women are perceived and the way we view ourselves.I thought it might be something you would be interested in checking out.http://www.beautyredefined.net/
Just saw the piece ABC 20/20 did. You are courageous and beautiful in every way! I have never seen myself as physically attractive and as I get older, what I see in the mirror becomes more and more of a challenge. Thank you for the inspiration to keep looking beyond what I see physically for a deeper meaning of beautiful. The best to you in all your future endeavors!
Thanks for sharing your story. truly beautiful.
I'm another that just saw your story on Yahoo. I think your project is great! You're certainly not fat and very pretty. :) Thanks for sharing your story with us and congrats on your marriage!
Hi Kjerstin:You are a powerful woman! Thank you for becoming an instant hero in my life. I'm a 53 year old male doctor always horrifed to look in the mirror. Though I know God created me perfect, just as you are PERFECT, my brain fails to accept that. Yet you are truly an inspiration. Thank you for your courage and encouragement, your passion and your teachings, your beauty and your caring. From the aesthetic perspective of a gay man, you are truly physically beautiful. Greek artists would have inmortalized you in paint and sculpture. And what I heard and saw in you is a truly beautiful spirit talking to me, like a little sister advising and teaching a very older brother. Thank you and may you and your partner always cherish each other's outer and inner beauty! Lincoln
You are really an inspiration. I just saw your story on Yahoo and love your courage to take the world on.
I saw your story tonight online and I think you are so brave and an inspiration. Thank you for your courage.
It's refreshing to read your thoughts. Thanks for making us all think and for being such an inspirational role model.
i saw you on yahoo, and i came to say you're beautiful :-) i like your project, i'm psychologist and i share your views. i decided to look your video because i'm also bride, marrying in 2 weeks, and although it didn't have to be like this, this wedding makes me crazy. i became so critical about my looks and feel unsure. this is video from E. Ensler that i uploaded on my youtube account some time ago on this topic, but it's hard to really think like that all the time http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UEUsbLNAfW0
You're beautiful, and I hope you truly know it.
Just saw this when the 20/20 broadcast hit Yahoo! news. As a former bulimic/anorexic/exercise obsessor, I find this experiment incredibly inspirational and I hope you are still feeling its effects every day. Like you, I did not want to obsess over looks to ruin my wedding, so I did not crash-diet, did not stress about the dress size (which was, incidentally, double my 'normal' dress size, so thank you gown designers for THAT bit of neurosis), and when I look at those pictures now I am thrilled to see a normal, happy girl and not a skeleton. But 9 years later I am still checking out the flaws in mirror on a near-constant basis. My husband can't stand to hear me pick myself apart-- it actually makes him mad-- and so I don't know why I do it. I have a 2 year old daughter now and my job is to make sure she doesn't grow up as neurotic and trapped by her appearance as I was. Thank you for sharing your story. Maybe I'll try it.(PS my husband would add, "Why is she wearing makeup at all if looks don't matter?" But one step at a time, dude. Great job with the blind application!)
Just saw your story on 20/20, and like so many others, I have come to say that you are lovely just the way you are. I normally don't comment on blogs - nor do I have much of an active internet presence - but the cruel comments made by readers in the past (a select few were showcased on 20/20) compelled me to weigh in.I suffer from Body Dysmorphic Disorder (BDD), which heavily influences my paired co-morbid disorders of trichotillomania and dermatillomania. Major clinical depression, severe OCD, and moderate anxiety only add to the circus of disorders. Every day is torture as I am mired in minutia of control, and it seems like there is no tomorrow.I am glad, however, that you have found your tomorrow - in your career, in your partner, in your charitable nature, in your lack of reflective surfaces... A year without mirrors is not a denial or suppression of body issues but an emancipation from societal expectations. It is potent combination of bravery and freedom; you are to be congratulated in your success and your conquest.
Woke up this morning fighting the urge to just go back to bed. I have so much to be happy about (my career, my hubby, my kids and first grandbaby!(not in that order)) but I keep coming back to what I see when I look in the mirror. Thank you for giving me a kick in the butt! I admire you tremendously and I will just keep reminding myself that although my body and my face will keep changing every year, who I am inside is all that matters. Keep writing Kjerstin, the world needs to hear your messages!
I felt such a connection to your story. I too battled with anorexia bulimia and compulsive overeating since I was 12. I just turned 30 this summer and have been in recovery for 10 plus years. I feel your story as well as my story is very similar and sometimes I hate my reflection. I have found yoga to be my therapy and have come to accept my body as it changed to a very strong and healthy one. No longer do I hope to be a size 6 as I am satisfied as a 9/10 size. I know that my body structure is meant to proudly show off sexy muscle. My husband in a way is my mirror and he loves every inch no matter how much I hate some parts. I would be interested in challenging myself to avoid mirrors because I have overcome many other challenges in life and I'm not giving up. It does not matter what those mean people say to you online as long as you are secure in knowing that you have met body satisfaction. As a mental health therapist I have learned so much about myself to help myself so i could help others who struggle with mental illness. Thanks so much for your inspirational story it touched my heart. Have a good day
Loved the segment! You are smart, sane, strong, and absolutely gorgeous - mirror or no mirror. You set a great example for the rest of us.
I just saw your story, and admire you for making the changes you needed to stay healthy. You are beautiful, and I hope that you don't just take your husband's word for it, but that you also believe yourself that you are beautiful. Here's a reminder that God thinks so too, and he made you just the way He wanted to!
I just watched the show and I must say you look great! And I TRULY applaud you for going a year without mirrors. Prior to a diagnosis of multiple sclerosis, I spent day in and day out looking into a mirror. Back then, I was so into my looks buying clothes, matching shoes and purses, jewelry, makeup and MORE dresses, shoes and purses! The people I know with MS, were just like me, vain, but now we don’t have that option as most of our money is spent on medication, and getting up the energy to prep before a mirror, is overly exhausting.Anyway, GOOD for you! As I believe it teaches us – young and old – not to be caught up on our looks but the beauty within, not to mention the inner growth. Now, I spend time learning; beatifying my mind.Thanks for sharing your story.Clara
I saw the 20/20 segment and I found it ironic that another segment on the show was about the "new trend" of the feeding tube diet. The woman in the segment stated she felt she was fat(she was in no way even over weight). The show showed her own daughter calling her mother fat and overweight. How sad is it that the mother is teaching her daughter to be insecure and shallow? Maybe that segment of the show should have been focused on how parents are giving their children complexes about their bodies vs the feeding tube diet. A few years from now that mother will be wondering why her daughter has an eating disorder. I applaud what you did and think more stories like yours should be shared with grade schools and high schools so young women know what beautiful women really look like in this world.
So who was this woman interviewed on Today Show this a.m. who gave up mirrors for only 1 month and didn't even mention your experiment? Not playing fair.
Hey, no worries! I declined to be interviewed on the Today Show, and Autumn is a friend of mine... Hopefully I'll have another shot on the show when my book is out!
Just caught your 20/20 story on TeeVee down here in New Zealand and felt an urge to say 'Hi' and how not cool some people can be.Don't for one minute believe your not 100% beautiful.Power to you.
Your 20/20 story just aired in New Zealand and just wanted to say 'good on you'. I can;t believe how some people feel to need to be negative to someone is wanting to be positive in themself. All the best. Arohanui from me to you
Exciting Announcement! THIS WEDNESDAY NIGHT (August 15th), ABC's 20/20 will be featuring a story about my no-mirrors experiment! I'm nervous and excited.