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Woman gives up mirrors for a year. Could you?

You won't find any mirrors on Kjerstin Gruys's wall.

The sociology grad student has given them up as a body-image experiment, reports.

Earlier this year, Ms. Gruys vowed on her blog to abstain from the narcissist pleasure of staring at her own reflection – whether in storefront windows or glassy lakes – for 365 days.

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To commit to her pledge, she's had to make changes. She looks straight ahead while walking down the street and can't see how clothes look when she shops. "I buy a lot of shoes now," she told the Bay Citizen.

Ms. Gruys, a PhD candidate at UCLA, conducts research on how physical appearance relates to social inequality. She got the idea for a mirror-free year after reading a book about nuns who vowed not to "look on human flesh, neither their own nor anyone else's."

But the self-described "feminist bride-to-be" draws the line at banishing makeup and other beauty essentials. After all, what's a third-wave feminist without a little mascara?

Aside from her newly instated Makeup-free Mondays, Ms. Gruys, a former fashion-industry worker, hasn't let go of her "security blanket" of foundation and concealer, she writes on her blog. "I've even felt pride in my mirror-free makeup application skills."

That's where her methodology breaks down in the eyes of would-be admirers such as rampantwhistler, writing at "She is trying to change the way she thinks about herself, but she's still 'putting on a face' for everyone else."

Detractors should note that Ms. Gruys took her vow on March 26, 2011 and is engaged to be married on October 1, halfway through the project – which means no primping before she shows up at the altar.

According to her rules, she may not look at any pictures taken of herself throughout the year, with the exception of her wedding photos (not that she'll want to, she jokes on her blog).

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Ms. Gruys's manifesto may not be in the same league as bra-burning or marching for income equality, but in this day and age, a mirror-free year could be a radical act.

Do you think her experiment goes far enough? Would you give up mirrors for a year?

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About the Author

Adriana Barton is based in The Globe and Mail’s Vancouver bureau. Her article on growing up with counterculture parents is published in a McGraw-Hill anthology, right after an essay by Margaret Atwood. She wishes her last name didn’t start with B. More

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