House of Mirrors at B.C.’s Children’s Hospital

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The Eating Disorders Program (EDP) at B.C.’s Children’s Hospital, in conjunction with Awareness & Networking Around Disordered Eating (ANAD), recently hosted The House of Mirrors, an innovative interactive visual arts exhibition.

The exhibit consists of 26 full-length mirrors that women, girls and artists have used to portray the impact the media, diet, fashion, and cosmetic surgery industries have had on their lives. The EDP and ANAD have co-ordinated events to support the exhibit, including workshops for clinical staff and tours for school and community youth groups.

“As the province’s tertiary care centre for pediatric eating disorders, we see this exhibit as an opportunity to support our educational mandate,” says Dr. Ron Manley, clinical director of the EDP. “We want to raise awareness about the damaging effects of the unrealistic body-image stereotypes fostered by the media and the fashion and weight-loss industries.”

Lower Mainland Girl Guides are supporting the project. Girl Guide and Pathfinder groups from Vancouver, Richmond, Burnaby and the North Shore toured the exhibit. As well, young women in Senior Branches (aged 15 to 18 years) were trained as tour guides for the exhibit. Adult Guide leaders also participated in an educational workshop.

“The House of Mirrors event fits very well with guiding principles – to foster self-respect and self-esteem in young women,” says Debbie Fairhurst, Vancouver Area Commissioner for Girl Guides. “The exhibit ties in with the Guide and Pathfinder programs, which encourages young women to examine body-image issues and aim for healthy living.”