I saw The Hunger Games today, and I wasn’t really sure how I felt about it. Let me just start by saying I haven’t read the books, although I have the first one, and I plan to read it ASAP now that I’ve seen the movie. Overall, I liked the movie, and it got me thinking about some things.
I was particularly struck by how gender influenced how the characters were perceived. I mean, all those kids were going to be fighting to the death. They were all going to ultimately have to be vicious and violent if they wanted to survive, but although the guys could admit to being vicious and willing to do whatever it took to win, and they would still gain sponsors and people would still like them, the women all had to be pretty and sweet, despite the fact that they ultimately would have to be every bit as violent and vicious as the guys. Katniss, who I absolutely adored, by the way, is a prime example of someone who had to change in order to get sponsors. And I don’t think she would have had to change so much if she was a guy. Then she wouldn’t have had to pretend to be sweet.
Also, unrelated thoughts: I cried over Rue, and I thought Katniss’s relationship with Gale was more promising than her relationship with Peeta. I thought she and Peeta really had no chemistry. And I loved basically everything about Katniss. She’s smart, strong, resourceful, kind, and selfless. I think we need more female characters like her because she is a complex character and shows that women don’t have to be “sweet” in order to be lovable characters. Also, she shows that being a strong woman is a good thing, which is not always a message that women get. Too often, women are told that, if a woman is too strong, she is a bitch or is unfeminine, which is not necessarily true. I find Katniss’s strength refreshing and can’t wait to read the books!
Photo from here.