A few weeks ago I was contacted by the What I See Project, a not-for-profit initiative that’s concerned with female self perception. They want women to upload a short video clip of themselves talking about how they feel when they look in the mirror – what the face staring back at them represents, what stories it can tell. Scores of women have done so and the results are all available to view on the What I See website.
Since the project was launched in February by Edwina Dunn, there have been over 500 submissions from 350 women in 11 countries. Some of them are funny, others are powerfully moving, poignant and inspiring. There are submissions from high profile women, bloggers like Mademoiselle Robot and Julia of Stylonylon and countless others who have a message to share.
They’re talking about their innermost thoughts, hopes and ambitions, feminism, what it means to be a woman, body image and, because this is a digital project, the very pertinent subject of how social media can be used as a tool for empowering women and giving them a voice online. They speak of recognising their own mother’s features in their faces, their laughter lines, flaws and assets and how they make them feel.
What I really like about the videos is that you can often see the women in them starting out with one answer to the question “what do you see when you look in the mirror?” and then surprising themselves as their thoughts take a different direction and they reach a new conclusion.
It’s a fascinating process to observe, and even though I haven’t yet been brave enough to upload a video (myself on screen! Aiee!), it’s definitely got me thinking about the various ways I could answer that question; literally, how do I feel about my face, and metaphorically, what do I think of myself as a person?
Watch this and get inspired:
The launch event and screening of the final film is happening on Tuesday at the Science Museum where special guests will include journalist and campaigner Caroline Criado-Perez, businesswoman and philanthropist Baroness Martha Lane-Fox and artist Eileen Cooper.
I urge you to check out the project at whatiseeproject.com, watch some of the videos and think about submitting your own (and I will too!) and tell me in the comments below too – what do you see in the mirror?
Follow the What I See project on Twitter @whatiseeproject