Monthly Archives: December 2013

Mascara in Divergent (or Where Have All the Plain Girls Gone?)


I try not to really pay attention to Divergent, but what with the trailer coming out, and the movie coming close on its heels, I feel like I can’t ignore it anymore. I’m a little behind on the details these days as I picked it up a few years ago in an attempt to understand what my students were interested in, but I still keep abreast of it within a reasonable time frame.

If I’m going to be honest, though, while I did devour the book, I didn’t really enjoy it.

But, still, when I see things I like be compromised, I feel like I cannot stay quiet on matter. So what’s my topic of “oh my god, they ruined the books”? Why, mascara of course!

Okay, so I know you’re taking a bit of a double take. What could I possibly have against mascara? Well, a lot actually, and it turns out when this picture is blown up on the big screen, you can see a lot of mascara clumping so I know that my problem is with mascara and not with long, lustrous eyelashes.

Screen Shot 2013-12-04 at 11.36.08 PMNow before you get mad at me, my issue isn’t incorrect application of eye makeup. My issue is that in this scene, Tris is clearly still wearing the clothing of Abnegation, who are the sort of … how shall I put this… the monks (who still have sex) of this post-apocalyptic world. They’re defining characteristic is that they give to others, and do not let their ego rule them. They also wear plain clothing, and they do not wear makeup.

But, Boom, you say, this is the movies. You have to put makeup on because the lighting can wash out a person’s features. True, I get that. Except, when a man is wearing “plain” makeup, I don’t see eyeliner and I certainly don’t see mascara as obviously as I see in this shot.

Why is it that we can’t just let a girl, especially a main character girl, be plain? How would it hurt her character except to further serve as a complexity in her personality? If anything, female characters that are brought from the pages to the big screens have never been as plain as they are described in the books (or sometimes, the correct race, as in the case of The Hunger Games), and it makes one wonder… what sort of message are we sending when a girl in a book can be plain, but a girl in a movie still needs touch up?

And that’s the story behind why I’m mad at mascara.