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The school that banned mirrors to teach girls a lesson
In a controversial effort to curb teen vanity, a school in England prohibits makeup and removes mirrors from the girls' bathrooms
A teenage girl applies lipstick: As part of its ban on makeup, a school in Britain has removed all of the mirrors from the women's bathrooms.
A teenage girl applies lipstick: As part of its ban on makeup, a school in Britain has removed all of the mirrors from the women's bathrooms.
Strauss/Curtis/Corbis
T

alk about plain dealing. The 14- to 16-year-old girls at Shelley College in West Yorkshire, England have been banned from wearing makeup, and are checked daily for offending eyeliner and rouge. (Teachers are reportedly armed with "makeup removal kits.") Going even further, the school has removed the mirrors in the girls' bathrooms to curb what's perceived as an obsession with vanity. "There comes a point when you need to stop teachers spending half an hour in the day talking to girls about their makeup," says head teacher John McNally. "It is more sensible to say it's not allowed." Is this a good way to help kids focus on learning over looks?

Girls could benefit from restraints: This could be "a good time for girls to learn that they look fine even when their faces aren't coated in makeup," says Judy M. at Care2. I've taught high school classes where appearances were a huge distraction. The girls were "constantly trying to sneak a look at mirrors and fix their makeup" when they should have been learning.
"British school bans makeup and mirrors"

Hmmm, I'm not so sure: "Teenagers have enough trouble accepting their looks," says Margaret Hartmann at Jezebel. "It seems a bit cruel to take away something that could make them feel a bit more comfortable." Wearing a uniform is one thing, but being told what you can and cannot put on your face is a very personal matter. Still, it could work: Reportedly, in the post-makeup era, one Shelley student said, "Nobody is no prettier or uglier, we all just look normal."
"School removes mirrors, bans teen girls from wearing makeup"

This solution doesn't get at the root of the problem: "Instead of prescriptively banning makeup and mirror-gazing, it'd be awesome if the school put those resources into teaching strong self-esteem for all its students," says Sierra at Babble. Girls are obsessed with their appearance because of "social pressure, media pressure, and a natural fascination with [their] radically changing bod[ies]." Removing mirrors is unlikely to change that. "It's just going to make it harder for [a girl] to check her hair in the middle of the day."
"Will a school's ban on mirrors help teen girls focus?"

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