No Mirrors: Women, Could You Avoid Your Reflections for a Month?
8 months ago
Ladies find taking a 'mirror fast' empowering
Surely, women can't avoid the public parade of magazines that 'reverse retouch' their models beyond recognition, or the surge in Spanx and shapewear that create faux slimdowns, but if ever addressing a gnawing body image issue in private—and let's be honest, when aren't we?—there's one thing we can steer clear of, and it's in our complete control: the mirror.
The rising trend of 'mirror fasts' has women avoiding their reflections in not just their bathrooms, but in store windows, shiny skyscrapers, and subway doors for days, weeks, months or, for the most resilient, years at a time. No longer are they nitpicking at or obsessing over imagined imperfections. And while that quick fix towards confidence is certainly welcome, the measures taken for a 'mirror fast' seem drastic.
Yet women—experimenters and body image experts alike—are applauding the fad.
"I like the idea of taking a break from looking at your reflection, combined with noticing the thoughts that automatically arise in the moment of looking at the mirror," said Dr. Frances Ulman, a clinical psychologist who specializes in body image concerns and eating disorders. "Oftentimes when we are in a routine we don't notice those thoughts: 'Ok, I can face the world' or 'I can't possibility leave the house looking like this' or 'Damn, still ten pounds overweight.' Just what purpose does looking at your reflection serve? That's where the interesting changes may happen."
Autumn Whitefield-Madrano, 36, who went on two month-long mirror fasts, noticed a change in her attitude immediately.
"I was alarmed to find that without looking in the mirror, it was difficult to tell how I was really feeling," she told NBC's Today. "It was as though without a mirror, my brain couldn’t interpret the jumble of free-floating feelings and arrange them into an actual mood. I felt scattered, unmoored, adrift. [But] once I realized how much the mirror had been dictating my moods, a serenity set in that lasted for weeks. It was liberating to untether my feelings from my reflection."