Sure, there have been times when I’ve looked at the mirror and not liked what I saw, but I always thought that mirrors themselves were immune to my loathing—I never blamed any of the world’s problems, or my own, on a mirror. And now I fucking hate this mirror I’m about to describe to you. Soon you will too.
The product under discussion is basically a hidden camera you plug into the wall, and when you stand in front of it, it implicitly street harasses you.
Let me try that again: it’s a tablet device that looks like a mirror, only there’s facial recognition software programmed into it that can tell whether or not you are smiling, and it will only reveal your own face to you when you smile. If you’re not smiling, you can’t see what you look like. Only when you project machine-recognizable positivity can you see your facade of affirmed joy mirrored back at you. Unless you are detectably happy within a predetermined range of facial cues, you can’t see yourself at all. Am I getting my point across? It’s a mirror that rejects you.
The “Smile Mirror” costs between $2000 and $3000, but prices are expected to lower after its forthcoming Kickstarter crowdfunding campaign.
Another thing I hate about this mirror is that, according to the CNN report about it, published on Tuesday, it was inspired by cancer patients. Berk Ihan, designer of the Smile Mirror, told CNN that after spending a few weeks at cancer hospitals in Turkey he learned that, “morale and social support are two very important factors that can positively change a patient’s experience.” Of course, but that’s not the same as staring at a reflection of your own crazed smile that blinks out as soon as you relax your face. And lots of people don’t want to smile when they’re feeling something other than happiness—that’s what the rest of the facial expressions are for, and sometimes what hiding your head under a blanket is for. Mirrors are for dancing in front of; blankets are for a world hideous enough to give us the Smile Mirror. End of story.