To do this, we decided to cover all the mirrors in the school (in the locker rooms and bathrooms- both girls and boys). We snuck into school early (7:30!) and hung up large sheets of black paper over every single mirror in the building, both faculty and student.
Over the sheets of black paper, we stuck body-positive slogans, such as "Warning: Objects in this mirror may be distorted by socially constructed ideas of beauty" and "Be a body-positive warrior".
We hoped that by taking the focus away from their appearances, the students in our school would pay more attention to their personalities and how they related to other people.
However, we got what we were anticipating- people fighting back. As you can see in the slideshow, many students physically removed the paper and crumpled it up, throwing it into the trash. It's kinda unbelievable that they were so reliant on the knowledge of what they look like that they would damage school property.
To be honest, I struggled a bit during the day, as I was worried that I would have food stuck in my braces or something (which, as many people know, is a recurring and prevalent issue for teenagers). I stuck to it though, and noticed that I was able to pay more attention to my interactions with other people and my learning experience at school! (Which is kinda what it's for, anyway.)
I'm glad that the timing of this blog post coincides with #NEDAwareness Week, as the preoccupation teenagers have with appearances can lead to serious eating disorders. Because of society's focus on thinness, both girls and boys develop eating disorders such as anorexia and bulimia.
By reducing adolescents' focus on their outward appearances and instead drawing their focus to their inner selves (and -gasp!- maybe things that don't even involve them [note: I can make fun of teenagers' narcissism. I'm a teenager.]), I believe that the prevalence of eating disorders can be reduced substantially.
If you are worried that you or someone close to you is showing signs of a serious (all eating disorders are serious) eating disorder, get help right away.
NEDA Helpline: 1 (800) 931-2237 (open Monday-Thursday from 9:00 am - 9:00 pm and Friday from 9:00 am - 5:00 pm EST)
NEDA Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
NEDA Live Chat