So, Shailene Woodley cut her hair.
Haunted by the events of Divergent, in which she was responsible for the deaths of three people important to her, Woodley’s character Tris Prior arms herself with a pair of scissors and a mirror near the beginning of Insurgent. Okay, sure. But, one quick question: Why? Logistically, the haircut does nothing but transform the film’s recognizable star into a doppelgänger of a timid high school boy (come on, that was your initial reaction too).
As the movie’s plot charged forward and I continued to scratch my head (which has hair only slightly shorter than Woodley’s, btw) over this seemingly insignificant question, the more I realized that even the film itself didn’t know the answer. Female characters chopping their hair as a symbol of strength is the “cool new trend” in film and TV. Look at Nickelodeon’s Legend of Korra, in which its title character stopped by the barbershop after a traumatizing near-death encounter. Kristen Bell did it as Veronica Mars. Allison Pill on The Newsroom. Kiernan Shipka on Mad Men. Heck, even the female protagonist of the Pokemon anime did it recently (not that I… watch that).