Copyright 1995 ABC-CLIO. This review was taken from the ABC-CLIO Video Rating Guide for Libraries on CD-ROM, a 5-year compilation of over 8900 video titles and reviews, 1990-1994. For information regarding order VRGL CD-ROM, contact: ABC-CLIO, P.O. Box 1911, Santa Barbara, CA 93116-1911; 805-968-1911

This following text has been included in the UCB Media Resources Center Web site with the kind permission of the publishers.

Mirror Mirror

  • Rating: ****
  • Audience: Adult
  • Price: Public performance: $250.00
  • Date: Copyright 1990. Released 1990.
  • Descriptors: Self-perception. Women (image). Body, Human
  • Production Information: Live action. Produced by Jan Krawitz. Color . 17 min.
  • Available from: Women Make Movies 462 Broadway, 5th Floor New York, NY 10013 (212)925-0606
  • Cataloging: 646.750'82 Beauty, Personal
  • Awards: Margaret Mead Film Festival.
  • Print Entry #: 2:536
  • Reviewer: Marilyn McCroskey

    Mirror, Mirror explores women's perceptions of their own bodies compared with the "perfect" figure. What is the perfect figure, the ideal bustline or waistline or legs? Most women say that there is a perfect body - but someone else has it.

    After a pensive opening sequence which pans the anatomically detailed upper torsos of naked mannequins to the accompaniment of music, masked women of various ages briefly appear among the mannequins and make comments about their own bodies. Are they too tall, too short, too fat? Are their breasts too large or too small? Are their arms flabby, or skinny, or too long? What about hips and thighs? Does body size or hair color give them more or less "presence" or credibility? Interspersed with these brief comments are clips from old newsreels of beauty contests, showing that women's bodies have always been a subject of great interest and debate. A 1940s vintage segment of footage of overweight women exercising to the song "Big and Fat and Forty-Four" implies that only young, thin women are socially acceptable. The masked women disagree, but concede that their size and age may indeed determine how others treat them. As the program ends, the women remove their masks one by one, showing that they are real people whose self-images are significantly affected by the way they and others perceive their bodies. The program raises many questions that are excellent discussion-starters.

    The presentation is a very fast-paced overview of societal attitudes toward women's bodies; it covers many aspects of the subject quickly and will hold the attention of viewers. The women in the program represent the various ages, races, and body types, and their candid comments can make viewers believe they are people we know. The photography and music are very good. The old film clips underscore the timelessness and universality of the program's subject.

    While the subject of the video is narrow and it will probably be best suited to women's groups, the program presents a little-discussed but often-pondered subject exceedingly well. Public libraries will find this video popular and some college classes should find it useful. Women who are troubled by their perceived inadequacy of their figures should find comfort in knowing that they are not alone. Male viewers really should be made aware of the damage that can be done by tactless comments.

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