Mirror Mirror on the Wall – Original and Pop Culture

People use mirrors for many reasons and it is considered a necessity. Mirrors are everywhere and play a huge role not only in our daily lives but also in pop culture. Everywhere you look, mirrors play a huge role in the arts, entertainment, and literature. Mirrors are also symbolic which is why it is used in many films. In this article, we will delve deeper into mirrors. We will discuss the history of mirrors and how they have evolved through the years.

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Why is Mirror Popular in Pop Culture? Mirrors are symbolic that is why they became popular in pop culture. It is used in literature, arts, films, and other mediums. Mirrors are also used for decoration. They have evolved from being a medium to see the reflection of one’s self to something symbolic. A broken mirror can symbolize bad luck, looking in a mirror for too long can distort your reflection making you think that you looking into someone else, it is even considered an entrance to another dimension. No wonder it is popular in pop culture.

We have a complex and obsessive relationship with mirrors. We feel naked without them especially because we are using them for putting on makeup and checking out our outfits. Other times, we feel vulnerable looking at mirrors. It is more than just a flat surface which we gaze at our reflection. It has evolved into an indispensable object.

Mirror mirror on the wall - original and pop culture
Photo by Dids from Pexels

The Original Mirrors

People first started to look at their reflections in pools of water, rivers, and streams which were the first mirrors. Around 600 B.C., humans began making very simple mirrors made from polished obsidian that creates a highly reflective surface. Through the years, humans began to design sophisticated mirrors with lead, gold, silver, and bronze. Because these materials are naturally heavy, the mirrors were very small, rarely exceeding eight inches in diameter.

In the middle ages, contemporary mirrors have become popular. However, the production process is expensive and difficult. During the renaissance period, a low-temperature lead process was invented that helps improve the clarity of mirrors. It was the Venetians who have refined the mirror-making process using sophisticated advanced glass techniques.

During the 1600s, mathematicians have begun using mirrors in telescopes. The first reflecting telescope was designed in 1721. Modern mirrors are produced using a silvering process wherein a layer of silver or aluminum is applied to the back of the glass. This provides the glass with a reflective surface. Today, mirrors are popular and found in all homes, especially in bathrooms. We have also written this article that discusses where bathroom mirrors should be placed. You can check out the article for more information.

Mirrors for Personal Grooming

Mirrors are commonly used for personal grooming. They are available from small, portable, to a full-sized mirrors. Mirrors can be mobile, handheld, adjustable, or fixed. They are commonly found in the bathroom above the sink. You can find different sizes of mirrors and they can also be customized to perfectly fit your space.

Mirrors in Arts

Mirrors are a popular subject in the arts. You can see a lot of painting with a mirror in them. A painting that depicts someone gazing into the mirror often always shows the person’s reflection. Most of the time, the reflection in the mirror is the same as the face of the person. However, there are some paintings where the person in the mirror is slightly different or the face is blurry.

Mirrors can be found in many European paintings. In a painting done by Diego Velazquez titled, Las Meninas, the viewer is both the watcher and the watched. Pablo Picasso’s Girl Before a Mirror painting is considered one of his masterpieces. The painting has drawn out many interpretations of this portrait of Picasso’s lover and her reflection.

Many artists have used mirrors to hone their craft. With the help of a mirror, Filippo Brunelleschi was able to discover linear perspective. Various self-portraits are made possible with the use of a mirror. The popular self-portraits of Rembrandt, Van Gogh and Frida Kahlo could not have been painted without the help of a mirror.

Mirror as Decorations

Mirrors are commonly used as decorations or an ornaments to enhance the look of a room. Large and unframed mirrors create the illusion of space. They make a room appear larger than it is. This is the reason why it is commonly added to the walls of small rooms and apartments. Vintage Mirrors are considered works of art because of their design and look. They bring added texture into an ordinary surface that is why they are often used as centerpieces.

Mirrors are also used as Christmas ornaments. A bauble is an ornament that is made from a thin metal-coated glass with a decorative reflecting sphere. It works as a reducing wide-angle mirror. Mirrors are also used to create a mosaic which makes a stylish addition to a dull room. You can also check out this article that discusses where you should not hang mirrors. We have shared tips and information for decorating using mirrors.

Mirrors in Literature

Mirrors play a powerful and symbolic role in cultural literature. In the fairy tale Snow White, the evil queen asks, “Mirror, mirror on the wall… who’s the fairest of them all?” An image appears in the mirror and tells her that she is the fairest of them all. One of the well-loved uses of mirrors in literature is in Lewis Caroll’s Through the Looking-Glass. In Greek Mythology, Narcissus wastes away while gazing and admiring his reflection in the water which is now coined as narcissism.

A novel by Martin Seay titled The Mirror Thief includes a fictional account of industrial espionage that surrounds mirror manufacturing in Venice during the 16th Century. The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde tells of a portrait that also serves as a magical mirror and reflects the true façade of the youthful protagonist and the effect of each sinful act on his soul.

Video – Analysis of “Through the Looking Glass” AKA the “Fibonacci Mirror” through Pop Culture + Cinema

C Pensky shared the video below on her YouTube channel. It discusses the amalgamation of pop culture’s interpretation of the novel Through the Looking Glass by Lewis Caroll. She also talked about the symbolism of the objects in the novel and the movie as well. Check out the video below for more information.

Mirrors in Film and Television

Mirrors are also used in films and television. In Doctor Strange, he can manipulate space and time, except in one dimension which is the mirror-verse. In the confines of its glass-like shield, no time warp or spell can impact the physical world. The dimension acts as a shield. The people within the barrier can change. However, it prevents disastrous events from hitting across the world.

The TV series Once Upon a Time has also made use of mirrors. In an episode where the Evil Queen is on the loose in Storybrooke, the only way that the heroes can stop her is to capture her in the mirror world. Also, there is an episode where the Snow Queen’s shattered sight spell reflected the worst sides of people. When the spell is lifted, these people realized that hatred and anger are a waste of energy.

Mirrors in Entertainment

Mirrors are also used in the entertainment industry. When you go to a bar or a disco, you can see an illuminated rotating disco ball that is covered with mirrors. They are used to cast moving spots of light around the dance floor. Mirrors are often used in magic tricks are they are a great source of illusion. One can easily hide tricks behind the mirror.

Another popular use of mirrors is in amusement parks. You can see an attraction wherein many distorted mirrors are used to produce unusual reflections. Some have even created a room full of mirrors. Some amusement parks also have mirror mazes that display large numbers of mirrors and sheets of glass. Visitors should navigate the confusing array without bumping into the walls. For these attractions, plexiglass is usually used to avoid accidents and to make sure that the mirror will not break when someone bumps into them. Are you curious about what a room full of mirrors will look like? You can check out this article that discusses what a room full of only mirror looks like to find out the answer.


Mirrors are no doubt an important part of pop culture and they are here to stay. They have evolved and will continue to evolve through the years. Technology has been making use of mirrors to make living more convenient. You can now purchase a smart mirror that you can use in your bathroom. If you think your TV is an eyesore, you can transform them into a mirror when not in use. We can expect to see more references of mirrors on pop culture for years to come. Thank you for reading!

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