September 27, 2011

Put on your face: English college’s ban on mirrors needs reflection

By Josh Williams–

Women have consistently been appointed a role within society by the extremely intelligent and all-powerful men. According to the supreme beings, women must be the homemakers, attend the children and must always look their best – if not naturally, then by means of some cosmetic sorcery known as makeup, they must attempt their best. Our tyranny makes length even to accept these women only if they have met certain conditions defined by the all-knowing men:

1. Women must have their hair done just right.
2. Women must have makeup applied with perfection each day.
3. Women must be of a certain weight and a certain figure.

If any of these criterions are not met, a woman typically will not be considered attractive. And in a world where magazine covers always display some new weight loss technique, stress the importance of looking your best and utilize technology to make the women thinner and more voluptuous in all the right areas, being unattractive is a doom that many lasses cannot handle.
Therefore, in a society that forces women to constantly apply makeup, make sure their hair is just right and that their clothes do not give the appearance of a more full figure, it makes sense to remove the one thing that helps them fit into the molded image given to them: mirrors. This is the case in Shelley College, a coeducation public school in Northern England, which banned the use of makeup and has temporarily removed mirrors in bathrooms as an attempt to curb the apparent disease of narcissism that plagues the country.

There are some positive outcomes of this social change, primarily that the issue of narcissism in women finally is earning its spotlight in society, and also that the girls in this school, hopefully, will pay more attention to instruction rather than what they look like. However, banning the use of makeup merely skims the surface of the issue and does little to actually purge the root of the problem: low self-esteem in women.

According to, one of the main reasons that women have self-esteem issues lays in the fact that they “perceive a lack of self-worth,” meaning that they do not feel significant about themselves. Thus, in order to fit in with the role of looking beautiful, women constantly must attend to their physical appearance lest their hair fall out or their eyeliner run. By taking away mirrors, women now stress more about what they look like because society still presses them to look their best. Now, the only difference lays in they have had the tool with which to ensure their perfect appearance taken away from them.

Instead, should the school attempt to root out the source of this issue? It would seem to be more effective to, instead of banning it, in which the women will prize it even more as a forbidden fruit, attempting to find a way to raise the esteem of women so that they feel confident about their looks enough that they would not have to constantly strive to improve it with a mirror and makeup.

This happens not only in school. Rather, this school represents the larger scale of society in which women feel inferior due to their personal appearance. A good way to solve this issue is to target low self-esteem and attempt to make everyone feel good about themselves. If you or someone you know suffers from a low self-esteem and constantly has their mirror in use, do not take it away. Instead, tell them they do not need it.

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Photo: Caitlin Williams/ The Louisville Cardinal

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