Taking Back Our Mirrors: How Beauty Ideals Become the Lies That Obscure Our Beauty

Mirrors don’t work the way they’re meant to. We gaze into them to see ourselves, but we don’t see true reflections of the beauty we possess. They become sites to self-examine, point out flaws and what we don’t like. The wrinkles, bulges and marks become what we want to correct - the things that overshadow all the good we should be seeing, all the parts that collectively tell our unique stories.

We don’t go looking in the mirror with these things in mind but the language that surrounds us has conditioned us to see the bad before we even come close to seeing the good that’s so evident. Some magazines and brands use their powerful platforms to make us feel as if we’re lacking in some way. Try as a we might, they keep moving the line, as soon as we brush past a milestone an even bigger one appears up ahead.

“Now that you’ve lost some weight, do you have a thigh gap?” “You look great but we can make you look even better.” These seemingly friendly messages push the bar for perfection further and higher, so much that we risk injury to jump at them.


It’s not problematic to create beauty products that make women feel better about themselves but it is problematic to paint products as what we need to rely on to love ourselves. We have to love ourselves before we put on make-up, that way its application serves the right purpose - enhancement and not total removal of natural beauty. I’m not one for make-up shaming, I just want us to care about being beat on the inside as much as the outside.

When I think of our reflections, and the flaws we so expertly point out in them, I come to conclusion that we don’t own them when we see so much ugliness in ourselves. Our reflections and our mirrors are coated by the lies we’ve been told about what makes a woman beautiful. These lies play in our heads as we nervously approach our mirrors and they play back the long list of things that make us feel unworthy of words like “beautiful” and “sexy”.

The lies that cloud our mirrors are what contribute to the evils of skin bleaching as some women suffer such debilitating self-hate that they decide they can’t inhabit their stunning #melaninonfleek skin. We see our hair in the mirror and we call it ugly because we’ve internalized the lies told about what it is. Our noses - too wide, our lips too big and so it goes. If we looked at ourselves without the stereotypes, the prejudice and the judgment our mirrors would be uncoated and what we’d see and what we’d interpret from it would be of our own making.

To take back our reflections we have to take our mirrors back from those that lie about us. We need to silence their words and let the beauty that looks back at us define what’s truthful about our beauty. With brands like Dove working on helping women see their own beauty we are starting to make strides. Stars like Alicia Keys who have struggled with accepting their own beauty are adding necessary voices to this issue by being truthful about what they’ve faced and by showing us that what they see in the mirror are their truths, gorgeous truths.

One face at a time and one woman at a time we’re going to dust and scrub off all the lies that stubbornly cling to our mirrors. And that’s a charge that “No Lies Told Then” is here for, because these are truths that are worth telling, selling and advertising. Let’s #takebackourmirrors and revel in our magic.