So Brave: This High School Replaced the Mirrors in the Girls' Bathroom with 'You Are Beautiful' Signs
Taking affirmation a bit too far
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.