Vanity was born when the mirror was discovered. That’s what the Chicago Record wrote in 1895, around the time when mirrors became a household item. People (and especially women) were condemned for looking in the mirror, and accused of being sinful. But then the mirror altered the way we think about vanity altogether—forever changing the way we look at ourselves. In this episode, we explore the history of the mirror, the history of vanity, and what it can teach us about today’s obsession over selfies.

EPISODE NOTES

• Bored, Lonely, Angry, Stupid by Susan Matt and Luke Fernandez

• Katy Kelleher’s history of the mirror: The Ugly History of Beautiful Things

Vainglory: The Forgotten Sin, by Rebecca Konyndyk DeYoung

• A History of Sin, by John Portmann

• Strange Face in the Mirror Illusion, report by Giovanni B. Caputo

• Those Deadly Little Mirrors” Chicago Tribune, 1912

• “The Vanity of Men”, mutliple papers, 1885

Through the Window’s Lorgnete: Vanity, Vanity–What is Vanity”by Helen Rowland, 1919

• Vanitaspainting by Harmen Steenwijck, 1640

• Vanitypainting by Auguste Toulemouche, 1890

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