Proud2Bme | Breaking the Skinny Mirror

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Breaking the Skinny Mirror

By Claire Trainor--Honest confession: I don’t remember the last time I went into a dressing room and felt positive about my reflection in the mirror. No matter how great I think my body looks that day, no matter what clothes I’m trying on, no matter what store I’m in, dressing rooms make me feel pretty awful. There’s something about the fluorescent lighting, strange mirror placements, and the absolutely absurd discrepancies in female clothing sizes (how I vary 8 sizes depending on the store is truly beyond me) that makes shopping a terrible experience. Usually, I sit outside the dressing room while my boyfriend tries on clothes and end up buying myself a new bag or pair of shoes, which is perfectly fine with me.

But regardless of my frustration with the average dressing room’s distortion of human form, when I heard about the Skinny Mirror, I was angry. The product’s name is pretty self-explanatory; the mirror changes the viewer’s body to make them look smaller, but otherwise realistic. And while the mirror was originally intended for home use, where the user is aware of the changes to their body, it has recently made its way into store dressing rooms where big brand name companies take off the trademark and lie to customers in order to sell a product. While the Skinny Mirror’s initial goal was to improve self-esteem, it has been changed into a way to make more money by manipulating the way the general public feels about themselves. 

Although the intentions behind the mirrors are good, an admirable change from the normal body-shaming people encounter in daily life, it doesn’t begin to touch the root of the problem: there should be no reason to change your body and skinny doesn't necessarily mean more confidence, or higher self-esteem. Assuming that a person is healthy and listens to what their body wants, changing a reflection is entirely unnecessary. The problem is that most people have this idea that we should feel bad about ourselves if we are anything other than thin (which is not to say that people who are “skinny” don’t experience body shaming, too). The Skinny Mirror tries to fix that.

             

I want to feel good in dressing rooms. I want to feel good when I get dressed in the morning and catch my reflection in the windows of campus buildings. I want to feel good about my body when I’m out to dinner, in class, or walking down the street. But a reflection that lies to me is not a way to make me feel good. A reflection that makes me look skinnier for one moment in time doesn’t change my body. I shouldn’t have to look smaller to feel comfortable in my skin, in the way my body slopes and curves and has angles. No one should.

I don’t mean to shame the Skinny Mirror, or the people who created it. I, too, think that dressing rooms are in desperate need of reform (which should start by eliminating all fluorescent lighting because it’s just not natural). But creating a mirror that makes people look skinnier doesn’t solve the problem: we shouldn’t have to be skinny to be happy. 

About this blogger: Claire Trainor is a freshman at DePaul University majoring in Creative Writing and Psychology. In steady recovery from an eating disorder, she wants to educate, support, and inspire those struggling in anyway. She likes her dogs, hot chocolate, and books.Claire currently runs a (new) blog that can be found here.

For more by Claire Trainor:  

What's Underneath?

A Recovery Post that Talks About Realy Recovery

For more on fashion and body image: 

Stop the Mannequin Madness

Urban Outfitters and the "New Normal"

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Proud2Bme is an online community created by and for teens. We cover everything from fashion and beauty to news, culture, and entertainment—all with the goal of promoting positive body image and encouraging healthy attitudes about food and weight.

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