‘Divergent’ inspires self reflection
April 4, 2014
Over this past weekend a few of my buddies and I went to see the new movie “Divergent” in theatres.
For those of you who have not heard the buzz about “Divergent” yet, it is a story that takes place in a post-American society. Not to give away any spoilers, or spoilers that really matter, it is a society that is broken up into five factions that work separately but together to make up a seemingly perfect society. These factions are Abnegation (the selfless), Candor (the honest), Amity (the peaceful), Erudite (the intelligent), and Dauntless (the brave).
The main character, Beatrice “Tris” Prior, grows up in Abnegation. There was a lot I liked about this movie and it left me with a lot to think about, but one thing stood out in my mind.
The thing about Abnegation was that because they did not tolerate vanity, each person only got a set amount of time to look in the mirror a day. It is strange that out of everything in that movie, that is the thing that stuck with me, but it got me thinking. Soon, I was imagining something that both interested and disturbed me: what our world would be like without mirrors.
Imagine waking up in the morning, putting on clothes, doing something with your hair, brushing your teeth and then just leaving your dorm without even catching a look at yourself in the mirror once. I do not know about you, but I would probably end up looking horrible without being able to examine myself in the mirror every morning.
But another question you have to ask yourself is that if there really was a world without mirrors, would we even begin to wonder if we looked horrible or not? Would we be self-conscious about what other people thought of how we looked if we ourselves had no idea what we looked like? I like to think that we would not be.
I have always been a strong believer that we make ourselves self-conscious. Not the media, not our peers, us. I absolutely hate the idea that the models we see in magazines or even our beloved childhood Barbies make us feel bad about ourselves. We begin to feel self-conscious in our own minds and we allow it to continue and even sometimes grow throughout our lives. What was the famous quote from Eleanor Roosevelt? “No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.”
We, at least females, stand in front of the mirror for long periods of time; looking at ourselves, picking out our fl aws and contorting our bodies to make ourselves look skinnier. Not to say that we are vain and spend our days looking at mirrors, but we all do it. We all sometimes look in the mirror just a little too long, wishing that we were skinnier, more muscular, prettier or just different. It is human nature to look at ourselves occasionally and wish that we had the ability to change things.
If we lived in a world without mirrors it is comforting to think that there would no longer be vanity or self-consciousness; where girls did not wear gobs of makeup and guys did not overdo it with working out and drinking protein shakes in order to “bulk up”.
Where we did not compare ourselves to others as they walked pass or judge how someone else looks because of our own self-conscious. So in a way, it would be great to live in a world without mirrors. However, the great thing about mirrors is that if you look in it long enough you find the hidden beauty inside the person staring back at you. In that beauty, however vain you might think this is, you fi nd strength.
Natalie Howell is an alumna of UW-River Falls. She was editor of the <em>Student Voice</em> during the 2016-2017 academic year.