Episode 54: In the midst of planning a wedding, Kjerstin Gruys discovered she was falling prey into bridal societal pressures and decided to go against the grain by not looking at her body in a mirror for a full year. She compiles her experiences in her book Mirror, Mirror Off The Wall.

Outside of her incredible book, Kjerstin’s research broadly explores the relationship between physical appearance and social inequality, with specialized expertise in labor market inequality, sociology of culture/cultural sociology, and how body size, in particular, intersects with other markers of difference. Prior to earning her PhD, Kjerstin worked as a merchandiser in the corporate offices of two multi-national fashion firms. She is currently developing a book manuscript, tentatively titled:True to Size?: A Social History of Clothing Size Standards in the U.S. Fashion Industry.

I read Kjerstin’s book earlier this year after glancing at it on my “to read” list for at least a year or two. I finally bought myself a copy, and after reading the book in two days, I wanted to knock myself over the head for not reading it sooner.

This is a MUST READ book, just like this is a MUST LISTEN interview.

Here’s what we talked about today:

  • How and why Kjerstin came up with her “year without mirrors” project
  • Issues with certain bridal traditions still carried on today
  • Her first week without mirrors and reflective surfaces
  • Training yourself to feel more beautiful vs. putting less emphasis on the importance of feeling beautiful (externally and aesthetically)
  • Kjerstin’s biggest challenge during her year without mirrors
  • Her relationship with the scale
  • Social media, filters, photoshop, and being a part of the solution
  • Kjerstin’s feelings of desire, romance and pleasure during the experiment
  • Healthier uses of the mirror for our body image

Connect with Kjerstin:

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