Schools

So Brave: This High School Replaced the Mirrors in the Girls' Bathroom with 'You Are Beautiful' Signs

Taking affirmation a bit too far

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Mirror
Anna Krivitskaia

No, it's not a headline from Clickhole. Laguna Hills High School in California really did take down the mirrors in the girls' bathroom and replace them with affirming messages like "you are beautiful" and "you're doing better than you think!"

"The signs have helped people remember that everyone is beautiful, everyone is important, everyone is good enough and everyone should be treated equally," 17-year-old Sabrina Astle, the student behind the signs, told ABC News. "I did this because I am passionate about the fact that everyone is important and everyone needs to be cared for."

True and meaningful sentiments, to be sure. But a school administrator notes that there are no immediate plans to put the mirrors back up, which seems likely to produce difficulties.

"Mirrors have a pretty utilitarian purpose aside from vanity," writes Townhall's Christine Rousselle.

Cosmopolitan's Elizabeth Narins loves the stunt, writing, "It's proof that everyone can benefit from a mood boost — and it's more likely to come from confidence than anything you'd see in a mirror."

It's important to build teenagers' confidence levels and take their minds off distractions. We want young people studying hard and preparing for their futures, not fretting at their image in the mirror all day. And some kids need extra help in that regard—particularly young women who struggle with body issues. That's all true.

But there's a difference between being positive and avoiding reality entirely. Sometimes we do need to look at ourselves in the mirror, both literally and figuratively. And while many people—including many school administrators—have advanced the notion that teen depression and bullying rates are higher than ever, this seems to fly in the face of the actual data. Indeed, as I wrote several years ago for The Daily Caller News Foundation, some experts actually think teens are too confident: they evaluate themselves as above average in every category, though they study less often than their predecessors. They get higher grades anyway, due to grade inflation, and come away from school convinced of their own special excellence.

Then they move on to college, expecting to receive the same mix of affirmation and coddling to which they have grown accustomed. And we wonder about the educational environment that produced the Yale University students who screamed at Nicholas Christakis about his obligation to shelter them from offensive Halloween costumes.

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  1. they evaluate themselves as above average in every category

    To be sure, this is not a recent phenomenon.

  2. TL;DR: “All kids are awful. Get off my lawn!”

    1. That’s the most insightful comment you’ve ever made.

  3. TL;DR: “Awful kids! Get off my lawn!”

  4. Designer mirrors for designer kids who will falsely mature under a designed reality. The collapse of this designer existence will be more than jolting and, likely, holds bangles of horror for some unfortunate future society.

    1. Bangles of Horror is the name of the sexual move Crusty introduces on the fifth date.

  5. Progressives hate mirrors because it tells many truths.

    1. Down With Reflection, Up With Projection!

      1. The Musical!

        With extra lecturing!

    2. True, but only in a concrete world viewed within logical physicality.

      Progressive, like much of the world bowing to other forms of mysticism, have figured out how to make even a simple mirror overcome quantifiable reality and reflect imagery unavailable to the terms of actual existence.

      So, ultimately, if you can make your mirror bounce back fantastical things your mirror becomes a source of inspiration. A powerful interplay of existence, reflection, and validated distortion.

      1. Trump looks in the mirror and sees Zac Efron.

        1. Trump could probably hire Zac Efron to be his full time mirror double. Every time Trump looks in a mirror, it’s just a window and Zac is on the other side, mirroring all of Trump’s moves. It’s the most challenging role of Zac’s already rich career.

  6. Senator Stuart Smalley approves this message.

  7. Most importantly, how are the students supposed to know who among them are vampires now!?

    1. By throwing garlic at each other. Duh.

    2. They’re the attractive mopey ones.

      1. *that sparkle in sunlight

        1. “Stephanie Meyer: her vampires are sparkly, which I think we can all agree is wrong.”

    3. They all have black hair and smoke cloves.

    4. Yes, vampire detection is very important. But I am also concerned with all the parsley and cilantro that is going to remain stuck between these girls’ teeth. It’s like this is some dentists’ lobby conspiracy.

  8. How soon before she demands everyone wear a Burqa? And if they get them in black it will also look slimming.

    1. It’s nice how some people manage to tie everything in to the great threat of the Muslim hordes.

      1. At least you admit they’re a threat. No take backs.

        1. I think I take a pretty realistic view of things when it comes to Muslim related issues.

          But the leap from telling girls that they are beautiful to making them cover their faces and bodies completely is a bit of a stretch.

          1. did you think the day would come when mirrors were removed from a women’s restroom? No woman alive goes in there just to pee.

            1. I hadn’t given it much thought, really. In any case, one surprising thing happening does not make any other arbitrary surprising thing you can think of more likely.

          2. Just wait till all the men start wearing yarmulkes to cover their bald spots.

            1. I thought that’s what baseball caps were for.

          3. I agree Zeb, although it is worth mentioning that in some feminist circles they actually like the idea of a Burqa for a variety of reasons, one of which is that it ‘equalizes’ them and supposedly it makes men judge them on their character rather than looks. Ultimately I don’t care either way, but they should be allowed to wear whatever they want within reason including the option not to wear a Burqa as well.

            I went to a high school with some Amish students, and while it’s odd seeing them in a modern setting I would put the Burqa on around the same level as that, personally. No big deal, in other words.

            Maybe just don’t let them hide their face? And the only reason I would even say that is so you can make sure they’re actually the student you think they are. No sending Mom or your sister to school in your place! ^_-

            1. Mostly girls wearing burquas don’t go to school with boys.

              1. Mostly girls wearing burquas don’t go to school

                FTFY

  9. “The signs have helped people remember that everyone is beautiful, everyone is important, everyone is good enough and everyone should be treated equally,”

    “Thank god all my neuroses are mitigated before I reach the age of majority. What a hellish place this would be if I was treated unequally. You know what, I am actually worried that I am being treated unequally. Where is my feminist representative? I want my trophy now.”

    1. And the more athletic should be weighed down to level the field for the weaker snowflakes. And the smart must be drugged so as to not make the stupid insecure. Inch by inch.

      Just bubble wrap the bastards at birth.

    2. Remember, you’re unique… just like everyone else.

  10. If the old adage that actions speak louder than words is true, then taking down all the mirrors clearly says, “There are some ugly girls in this school!”, no matter what the slogans say.

    1. What do you think taking down the mirrors only in the girl’s bathroom says to the boys and the non-binarily-gendered? I’d get a lawsuit going posthaste, it’s California where I’m sure there’s several laws against this sort of discriminatory, hurtful behavior.

      1. What do you think taking down the mirrors only in the girl’s bathroom says to the boys and the non-binarily-gendered? I’d get a lawsuit going posthaste, it’s California where I’m sure there’s several laws against this sort of discriminatory, hurtful behavior.

        Just get something in your eye first or an abrasion that requires a mirror to treat adequately. Then you can demonstrate actual harm and proceed to kick bathroom laws from CA to NC in the nuts as you see fit.

  11. I’d stare deep into her soul, if you know what I mean.*

    *Assuming she’s legal, or at least close to being legal.

  12. What about the men’s room?

    Do they get to keep their mirrors?

    Is this just another example of the Patriarchy!!!!!!

    1. It is pretty amusing that they seem to be implying that men don’t preen in front of mirrors just as much as women.

      1. I don’t know about just as much. That’s never been my experience. But it could just be that I don’t do that at all (aside from making sure my hair and beard don’t look too much like crazy homeless person in the morning) and don’t pay attention to what other dudes do in the bathroom.

      2. Men don’t wear make-up and usually have less hair to fuss about in a mirror. To make the claim that women expend more effort getting gussied up in front of mirror shouldn’t even need any empirical data to confirm.

        1. I don’t like tall men, either.

          1. lol

      3. I have *never* seen a man use a visor mirror for anything but the most basal of ‘preening’ behavior (does ketchup removal count as preening?) and frequently at the behest of his SO (while driving).

        Even then, just as frequently, it’s because the dudes are sitting in the car 15 min. after they should’ve left, with nothing to do but surmise and imply what the women are *still* doing in the bathroom.

        1. I probably watch too much soccer – those guys preen like nobody’s business. I’ve always wondered what’s the point of applying half a tub of hair gel when it’s just going to melt down your face after a few minutes of running around.

        2. does ketchup removal count as preening?

          how about squeezing blackheads?

          1. Checking to make sure the booger came out cleanly.

            1. If it’s hanging from the mirror, it came out cleanly.

              1. You guys are absolutely disgusting.

  13. I am assuming they put up, “Shut up and sit down!” and “Eye contact is rape!” signs in the male heads.

  14. Great, so they can go to class looking like shit and never get dates from boys. That’ll do wonders for their self-esteem.

    1. They can date the spinach in their teeth, more vitamins anyway

    2. Then all blame is on the boys, for not recognizing that all people are beautiful!

      “Everyone is beautiful” is such bullshit, and I contend that no one actually believes it or means it, least of all the people who repeat it. If they want to down play the importance of beauty, fine; they can reach into their bag of platitudes and pull out, “it’s what’s inside that matters”. Or promote that you can find esteem and value in things other than physical appearance, such as academic or athletic performance or l, I don’t know, your skill at completing crossword puzzles.

      But “everyone is beautiful,” aside from being so obviously false, just perpetuates the idea that beauty is essential to a person’s value. Maybe the signs should read, “You’re not beautiful, but so what?” Or “You’ve got a good personality.”

      But not, let’s never even dip a toe into reality. Kids simply can’t handle that!

      1. I’d contend that 90%+ of all teenage girls are smokin hot to most men. I think it’s more that teenage boys are just as self-conscious in their own way and are afraid to ask out the girls, leaving girls with the impression that they’re not attractive. Of course some of the blame should be on society’s expectation that men do all the asking and thus take all the emotional risk in the dating game.

        1. I think you are right. If you are a teenage girl who has reached sexual maturity, and you aren’t ass-ugly or obese, you are almost certainly going to be pretty attractive to most men. It’s mostly other girls who are shitty to girls about their appearances.

          Also, I think most people, especially teenagers, assume that other people are more confident and put together than they really are.

        2. I like that we get to do all the asking. I don’t want to spend all my time batting away advances.

        3. I’d contend that 90%+ of all teenage girls are smokin hot to most men.

          Dad! Stop it! That’s disgusting.

          As a man in his late 30s, I can remember being a bit creeped out when my dad said stuff like this. And, at the same time, seeing the local Girls HS Cross Country team run by the house in the summer, don’t fault him one iota.

        4. Girls are only attracted to guys who ask them out? That’s ridiculous.

          1. Also, I agree with the expectation that men do the asking. A guy will date a girl when it’s convenient even if they don’t like her that much. It’s the premise behind that “He’s just not that into you” book and it’s not in a girl’s best interest.

            1. Men like hot women, women like rich men. It’s a only a rule of thumb. But if your husband is significantly more attractive than you, your relationship is not likely to last. And men who make less money than their wives are more likely to cheat. Handsome poor guys are bad news.

          2. You misunderstood. I mean the fact that (some) guys are too shy to ask out girls makes the girl think that SHE is not attractive. If you keep waiting and expecting someone to ask you out, and nobody asks you out, the logical conclusion (from the girls perspective) is “I must be too ugly to date.”

        5. I dunno. Men SHOULD pursue. It’s just that nowadays, the politically correct consider it rape culture.

          1. Women tend to be more extroverted than men, so they are actually probably on average better suited psychologically to do the initiating. They also aren’t risking getting accused of sexual harassment for saying hi. In the current setting, the onus should be on the women. If they don’t like that, then they shouldn’t have voted for Warren, McCaskill, and Gillibrsnd.

    3. Yeah, I thought about that too! It kinda goes along with the theme of instead of working harder to improve yourself, just demand that no one has the opportunity to do better.

  15. “Indeed, as I wrote several years ago for The Daily Caller News Foundation, some experts actually think teens are too confident: they evaluate themselves as above average in every category, though they study less often than their predecessors.”

    Actual off-the-charts self-esteem is the territory of presidents and serial killers.

    1. This reminds of a segment Stossel did back when he still worked for ABC looking at the correlation between ‘low self-esteem’ and criminal behavior, and finding that, oddly enough, your average inmate at a state pen has unusually high self-esteem, contra the fashionable mythology. It’s a big part of why they don’t think the rules apply to them.

      1. They need a better definition of self esteem. They’re confusing it with self centeredness and bravado. Also this is partly due to the average inmate has a significantly lower IQ than average.

    2. maybe they don’t need to study because they’re already so awesome at everything /sarc

  16. “The signs have helped people remember that everyone is beautiful,

    FALSE

    everyone is important,
    FALSE

    everyone is good enough

    For some things but not for others.

    and everyone should be treated equally,”

    For certain definitions of equal.

    I’m all for people doing their daily affirmations and having some self-confidence, but you gotta get some reality in there too.

    1. Even Stuart Smalley said his daily affirmations in front of the mirror. What are these girls supposed to do now?!?

  17. “I did this because I am passionate about the fact that everyone is important and everyone needs to be cared for.”

    WHAT KIND OF 17 YEAR OLD TALKS LIKE THIS?????

    1. One with a future in politics.

    2. Honestly? In my view there are three options:

      A) Child of divorce, lives with mother no contact with dad.

      B) Abuse of some sort.

      C) One or both parents are ‘activists’.

      At that age, you either project the values of your parents or reject them.

  18. What? Robby wrote for the Daily Caller? But, you’re a cosmo? That ruins all of my hastily determined pre-conceived notions about you. Does not compute

    1. To obsessive libertarians Robby might look a little squishy, but to most of the world, he’s an extreme right-winger.

      1. Sounds like Robby has a self image problem. Someone should replace his bathroom mirror with a sign saying ‘you are woke!’

  19. For your reference Laguna Hills is demographically much whiter than the rest of California.

    http://www.city-data.com/city/…..ornia.html

    And richer, much richer. I smell virtue signalling.

    1. So they definitely don’t get their full budget, yeah?

  20. Nice to know that tax dollars are being used to pump up self esteem instead of, you know, TEACHING kids stuff. Here is an eleven year old report:

    ‘According to the Washington think tank’s annual Brown Center report on education, 6 percent of Korean eighth-graders surveyed expressed confidence in their math skills, compared with 39 percent of U.S. eighth-graders. But a respected international math assessment showed Koreans scoring far ahead of their peers in the United States, raising questions about the importance of self-esteem.”

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/…..01298.html

    1. Also because Koreans have a bit higher IQ average than U.S. kids.

  21. Due to the lack of mirrors, she may be unaware of that huge snot hanging from her nose, but gosh darn it she is beautify and people like her!

  22. “The signs have helped people remember that everyone is beautiful, everyone is important, everyone is good enough and everyone should be treated equally,” 17-year-old Sabrina Astle, the student behind the signs, told ABC News. “I did this because I am passionate about the fact that everyone is important and everyone needs to be cared for.”

    True and meaningful sentiments, to be sure.

    No, some people are ugly. Some people are unimportant. Not everyone is good enough and not everyone should be treated equally. TO BE SURE.

    1. I’m sure you typed this all without the slightest sense of irony.

      1. Not everything is about you. Even if it were, that wouldn’t be ironic.

    2. Yep, those were meaningless and bullshit statements, to be sure.

      Often, Robby comes *this close* to getting it, but he feels the need to put in these milquetoast, play-it-safe phrases that make you want to slap him with a reality stick. You can take the boy out of the safe space, but you can’t take the safe space out of the boy.

      Damn millennials!

      1. Maybe he really does think everyone is beautiful. At least beautiful in the “isn’t humanity amazing” sense. And most people can find someone who thinks they are beautiful in some way.

        Or he’s full of crap.

        1. Saying there’s a seat for every ass is different than saying every ass is beautiful.

          1. Sure, by an objective standard of beauty (if such a thing is possible). But a lot of beauty really is in the eye of the beholder. And standards of beauty do change over time and differ among cultures.

            But I’m really just riffing here. These signs are silly. Some people aren’t terribly beautiful to most people and you have to deal with that if you aren’t one of the beautiful people. Pretending that isn’t true isn’t going to help anyone in the long run.

    3. I gotta say though, that 17 year old Sabrina needs to learn a LOT more about art and aesthetics before she’s “passionate” about anything. Especially to the extent that she thinks that being passionate entitles you to take away OTHER people’s options in a shared common area like bathrooms. Take the mirrors down in your OWN house, little Miss Goody Two Shoes.

  23. Everyone is rich in Laguna Hills. Not necessarily filthy rich, but rich. And not only rich, but the kind of rich where every daughter in high school is lovingly called “princess” and ponies sometimes appear under the Christmas tree. Zits are outlawed. The only reason Hollywood doesn’t head to Laguna Hills when they need an affluent beachcomber vibe is because Santa Monica is closer and the actresses already live there.

    1. Was a time, but Santa Monica and Venice have been no-go zones for going on 30 years. I know liberal Jews who won’t go there.

  24. “The signs have helped people remember that everyone is beautiful, everyone is important, everyone is good enough and everyone should be treated equally,” 17-year-old Sabrina Astle, the student behind the signs, told ABC News. “I did this because I am passionate about the fact that everyone is important and everyone needs to be cared for.”

    And, like, if you have acne or have a bad hair day or spilled something on you because you’re a clumsy bitch, maybe you should just live with that, LOL.

  25. People who claim there are no objective biological signals of beauty are either liars or idiots.

    1. There are, but it’s a fair point that most teenage girls are WAY, WAY too self-conscious about their appearance.
      Every guy I’ve ever spoken with has said that guys are attracted to a much wider range of looks and body types than the conventional ideal. And teenage girls are almost universally attractive, short of morbid obesity or physical deformities. It’s really hard to be a healthy teenage girl and not be physically attractive to most men.

      1. It’s really hard to be a healthy teenage girl and not be physically attractive to most men.

        Evolutionary pressure made sure of it.

      2. Hazel, I sort of agree and also disagree with that. Yes, teenage girls are universally attractive to older men because of their young bodies. But I also remember as a teenager I would be very picky and would invariable focus on some girl’s face. I would develop a crush and not care about any other girl. And some faces are pretty, and some are not, especially when you are a teenage boy. And teenage girls mostly care about what teenage boys think, not what old creepy men think.

        1. Gotta agree with Chipper on this. Although teenage girls mostly care about what other teenage girls think.

  26. It has always irritated me when people refer to the common knowledge that low self-esteem, depression, and bullying definitely are on the rise, because as this post and several studies point out, they definitely aren’t. But I guess I’d say awareness of these problems has dramatically increased. On social media, people post every incident that happens to them and every thought that runs through their head, especially the self-disparaging ones, because the resulting compliment flood from everyone else is addicting. When the current culture is all about defining truth by what makes you feel good, I’d say our best hope is for the next generation to completely rebel and embrace reality and objective facts.

    1. Self esteem is great. But it really needs to be based on something real beyond one’s mere existence.

      And it is an important lesson to learn that for almost everyone, no matter how smart, talented or attractive you are, there are loads of people out there better than you are and you have to deal with that. “Everyone’s a winner” crap is not helpful, I don’t think.

  27. Mirrors help you find out about such things as:

    1. Your fly is open.
    2. You have a giant stain on your shirt that you failed to notice.
    3. There’s a piece of food stuck to your front tooth.
    4. You have a milk mustache.

    Etcetera.
    Failure to notice any of the above will increase future humiliation for students of both sexes. If people have no idea how they look they may become MORE self-conscious about their appearance, not less.

    1. ok, 3, I probably have a compulsion issue with running my tongue over my teeth, but 4? how do you not feel that?

    2. Of course they can still know how they look, they’ll just ask the other teen-age girls in the bathroom how they look and I’m sure the other girls will tell them truthfully exactly how they look. Teen-age girls are nothing but eager to critique every other teen-age girl in a helpful and considerate manner.

    3. Mirrors help you find out about such things as:

      1. Where on my eyeball did my contact go?
      2. My contact is no longer on my eyeball and the discomfort in my eye is some other foreign object.
      3. Why does this thing on the back of my neck/just inside my hairline/behind my ear/at the corner of my mouth sting when I touch it?
      4. I’ve been fingering this thing all day and now I appear to have blood on my finger. Is it the source of the blood?
      5. Is this a boil, a cyst, or a cancerous lesion?
      6. I haven’t been touching anything of note recently and have blood on my hand/arm/shirt/elbow, where is it coming from?

      Et cetera.

      Failure to notice any of the above could have potentially disastrous outcomes. It may be a violation of The Social Contract, but schools should be under no obligation to provide mirrors to students. However, if I were to set aside that the schools steal tax money to build bathrooms and/or buy into social contracts, then providing mirrors as expected and then taking them away is a far more egregious offense than hurt feelings and fears of being unattractive.

      1. Yeah, good point about the contact lens, shit in one’s eyeballs, things.

        I’m not sure about the needing to pop zits and scrutinize skin blemishes bits. I find it’s usually best to inhibit the urge to stand in front of a mirror and perform fingernail surgery on oneself.

      2. 90% of my mirror usage is finding eyelashes that fell into my eye and trying to get them out. Happens ever other ducking day. Terrible

  28. WOULD.

    Someone had to say it.

    1. Assuming legal age and not too insane, I concur.

  29. Oh no, they’ll have to rely on selfies – with the right filters, everyone will be beautiful.

    Trump actually will look like Zac Efron.

  30. I nominate this story for winner of the specious “how silly can you be” for the day. But I think Soave is on to something: ” some experts actually think teens are too confident: they evaluate themselves as above average in every category, though they study less often than their predecessors. They get higher grades anyway, due to grade inflation, and come away from school convinced of their own special excellence.”

    And of course this arrogance follows them to college, where they are “expecting to receive the same mix of affirmation and coddling to which they have grown accustomed.”

    Everyone must be beautiful, and special, and…when that get’s challenged, get out of my safe space.

  31. True and meaningful sentiments, to be sure.

    HOW CAN ANYONE BE SURE WITHOUT THE MIRRORS?

  32. While the whole issue is basically symbolic, it’s worth noting the difference (and the implications of that difference) between adding a “you’re beautiful” sign beside the mirrors, or replacing the mirrors entirely with such a sign.

    The former would represent an attempt to use persuasion to contextualize and color how the audience rationally and emotionally interprets objective facts (i.e., the image in the mirror).

    The latter represents a coercive assault on the ability to perceive any facts that even have the potential to be upsetting. It isn’t an attempt to more wisely understand reality, but instead to deny it altogether.

    1. Great observation!

  33. We’ve got the education side of high schools perfected and our students are the best and brightest, now just to fine-tune…

  34. Can’t wait for the one that says, “Yeah, what you are wearing does make you look fat.”

  35. affirming messages like “you are beautiful” and “you’re doing better than you think!”

    Isn’t the first a microaggression against beauty challenged, and the second a dis-affirmation of the reader’s ability to self assess?

  36. This is going to screw up the plans of males that identify as female.

  37. Oh how I would love to be the fly on the wall during the first job interview for these precious snowflakes..”.but i’m beautiful, my school said I don’t need no stinking mirrors to justify my existence… gimme the job”

  38. Why don’t they put a sign up that says,who’s a good girl your a good girl oh yes you are.then give them a treat and a pat on the head

  39. They’re doing Abnegation completely wrong.

  40. Ridiculous.

  41. Just think about what these politically correct maneuvers really mean, and you might start laughing.

    For SOME girls, the mirror might be more self-affirming, uplifting, and reassuring than the sign is.

    But for OTHER girls, the sign might be better than the mirror. I wonder what the reason for that might be.

    Once upon a time, there were three sisters: Delicious, Delightful, and Disgusting. Now, Delicious and Delightful were both very pretty girls, but Disgusting was ugly. She was fat. She had a big nose. And she had a wart growing under her right eye. Once day a prince came riding along on a big, white horse when he heard someone crying beside the road. Looking down from his horse, the prince saw Disgusting, sobbing into a handkerchief. “Fai- er young maid, why are you crying?” asked the prince. “Because I’m ugly and nobody loves me,” replied the young maid. The prince took pity on Disgusting. He climbed down from his horse, swept her up into his arms, and gave her a big kiss. Unfortunately, during the kiss the prince’s face made contact with the wart, and he became infected. Two weeks later, back at the palace, the prince woke up, looked into a mirror, and saw a big, ugly wart growing under his left eye…

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