How do you approach the mirror? Optimistically with a smile on your face, or with trepidation and anxiety about what you might encounter? When I was researching the book I spent far too much time watching women watch themselves. Only rarely did I ever see a woman approach a rest room mirror with a positive look on her face. More common were scowls and frowns and facial expressions that signaled disapproval. I watched how women used the mirror and it was primarily like a flaw detector—scanning from top to bottom looking for every out of place hair, wrinkle, mussed up eye liner, fleck between the teeth, blemish, and of course the ubiquitous side glance to see how fat they looked. They also rarely left the mirror smiling. Whatever positive features they may have encountered during their scan obviously paled in comparison to the flaws they found. If I had a thought activated recorder, I can only imagine the negative self-commentary that would be running through their heads as they surveyed their imperfections.
The goal of The Mirror Project is to change all of this and to develop a new relationship with your reflection. I have been traveling around with The Mirror offering people the opportunity to join the Mirror Project and become one of a thousand faces that will be the foundation for the project. This week, we’re taking to the streets with The Mirror to get some candid reactions of passersby. On Tuesday we’ll be at the UNC Campus for National Eating Disorders Awareness Week events to capture Carolina in the mirror! On Friday, the mirror will travel with me to the Binge Eating Disorder Association conference in Philadelphia and we’ll give BEDA attendees the opportunity to capture BEDA in the mirror. The goal is to have fun with your reflection, change that internal dialogue, and when you see your reflection, say something positive about who you are and what you contribute to the world instead of reciting your litany of flaws.
Remember the wise words of Gloria Steinem, “Every time a woman passes a mirror and criticizes herself, there’s a girl watching…”