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the world without mirrors?

sometime yesterday or maybe the day before, a question popped in my head: "what if the world didn't have any reflective surfaces? what if we existed in a world without mirrors?"

in my brain, i ended up thinking not so much about the practical effects, such as vehicle rear view mirrors or things that redirect light or lasers or etc. instead, i was thinking, "i bet the make up inudstry would never have flourished."

that's somewhat of a tangent to my main thesis, though. it's not so much about the fact that applying your own makeup would be impossible. it's more about the fact that since it would be much more inconvenient for people to see what they looked like, maybe they would care less about what they looked like.

as an initial thought it's a good theory, but go deeper and it falls apart. Beautiful people on the telly don't apply their own make-up, so the ideals that make-up (or any sort of physical image) define will still exist in some form. What it will more likely do is create more jobs for people to apply make-up to customers that want to follow that ideal. Go get your nails done, go get your hair cut, go get your face painted.

and put like that, it also seems like the lack of mirrors would end up creating a loss of individualism because how people apply their image would be out of their hands. They'd be pushed to believe in a particular ideal even more than people do in our mirror-existing world, and they wouldn't be able to redefine or vary or shape they way they look to fit their own sense of personality.

just a thought.

poker tonight was annoying. it's a good thing i had been up $250 from the past couple of days. it makes the $350 loss i had tonight to passive chasers a little less frustrating. Still. It would have been nice to say, "this weekend i finally hit the $1000 profit mark." maybe tomorrow will be better.

edit: bah. that autofeed to fb didn't work on this entry. wonder if it's a browser thing or a cookie thing. it worked fine on my last entry that i did from work.

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( read spoken (4) — speak )
Dec. 9th, 2007 09:14 am (UTC)
Haha, that first section of the entry was great.

Exactly what i need when I'm stoned at 1 in the morning reading the internet.
Dec. 9th, 2007 09:17 am (UTC)

glad i could help you out.
Dec. 9th, 2007 05:35 pm (UTC)
My thoughts, in order they occurred to me:

1. Quote from Buffy (Willow, about the fact that Angel has no reflection): "Angel, how do you shave?"

2. People would take a lot more pictures of themselves, I imagine (assuming they would show up in pictures). Ala Cher in Clueless: "Never trust mirrors. I always take Polaroids."

3. I can put most of my makeup on without a mirror if need be. But it's possible I've gained that "skill" from having the benefit of a mirror many times. I would actually be much more concerned about my hair. :p

4. In your world, there would be no mirrors to have sex in front of. Woe.

5. Then I thought of George Herbert Mead's 'looking glass self' concept (the self is created through social interaction with others). Since we tie so much of our identity and personhood to our appearance, not having empirical access might shift the responsibility (or privilege) of the creation and maintenance of the meanings of these to others. This is what you were saying about a loss of individualism, I think.

Although, I just don't think things would be that dramatically different. Others' perceptions of oneself (inasmuch as those perceptions are appreciably demonstrated) have a measureless impact on self-perception. Would one ever really 'feel pretty' if they weren't told, either directly or through covert positive assessments by others, that they are?

(ps. I need to stop writing pop social theory on the internets and actually write my soc papers. Blagh.)

Dec. 9th, 2007 11:25 pm (UTC)
i thought about the taking pictures thing and didn't know how to reconcile it, especially in today's world of digital cameras where personal snapshots are easy to take, so i decided to ignore it.

sexual play without mirrors would indeed be a pity. i've never had sex with mirrors, but i've done foreplay with mirrors, and it's pretty awesome.

Would one ever really 'feel pretty' if they weren't told, either directly or through covert positive assessments by others, that they are?

no, but i think that the definition and standard of what is pretty to begin with in people's heads would be different, and possibly the amount of impact that it has on someone. that's more the point (i think).

and i was tempted to not write this reply right away because i don't want to distract you. go write papers, you. *poke*
( read spoken (4) — speak )


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