There have been many variations of the age old phrase, “You never really know a person until you walk a mile in their shoes”. This sort of theory has been used in many teaching aspects, as well as many different fables throughout time. There is a popular movie that has been produced entitled, “She’s the Man”. This movie is based off of one of Shakespeare’s plays. In the movie, the main character, who is a girl, dresses as her brother in order to play soccer. Now, this may not seem like a profound example of the looking glass self or taking the role of the other, but all of the elements are there.
As stated in the text book, A First Look At Communication Theory, a quote from a famous novel is used. The quote is from the book To Kill A Mockingbird, and it reads, “you never really know a man until you stand in his shoes and walk around in them”. This quote has been stated as the perfect encryption of taking the role of the other. Learning about another person by placing yourself in their position. This allows the reader to place themselves in the position of the other, not only to gain insight on their life, but also to learn more about themselves in the process. They also learn how to communicate better with others, just like in the movie “She’s the Man”.
In the movie, the female main character learns about herself and her surroundings. She is able to base her actions off of the men around her, and is then able to carry these traits back over to when she is dressed as a female. She takes the role of the other for her own personal gain, but at the end she sees that there is more to a person that what is on the outside. She is able to gain insight to other people’s lives, and then use this information to improve on herself. Her experience allows her to learn to better communicate with others. She learns that the key to communication is honesty.
This movie is a modern day example of taking the role of the other. Walking in another’s shoes, and seeing the world through their eyes. The main character gains an understanding of the other people in her life, and is able to change her ways based on how the world may see her. The ability to see through another’s eyes is not easily done, and it is not always possible. However, when it can be done, it is a life altering experience. One is able to gain insight on themselves and others. This process also allows them to better communicate with the world around them.
Griffin, E., (2008). A First Look at Communication Theory. 7th ed. New York, NY: McGraw-Hill.