Speaking at a book festival in August, Zadie Smith explained why she has imposed a 15-minute mirror time limit on her 7 year old daughter,
“I saw that she had just started spending a lot of time looking in mirrors,” she said. “It was infuriating me. I decided to spontaneously decide on a principle: that if it takes longer than 15 minutes, don’t do it.” She goes on to say, “I explained it to her in these terms: you are wasting time, your brother is not going to waste any time doing this,” she said. “Every day of his life he will put a shirt on, he’s out the door and he doesn’t give a shit if you waste an hour and a half doing your makeup.” She feels trends such as contouring are a waste of time, as they seem to “take an hour and a half and that’s too long”.
I’m with Smith in so many way, not least on the view that an hour and a half is excessive, and personally I hate heavy contouring, but, I think we can be good role models to our daughters (and sons) without banning mirror time – we don’t want to create a sense of shame around paying attention to our appearance. If you enjoy it do it, and if you don’t don’t.