The Hunger Games: Catching Fire is up for quite a few MTV Movie Awards this season: best movie, best male lead, best female lead, best shirtless performance, best fight, best villain, and best on screen transformation. This is ten out of the seventeen categories in the MTV Movie Awards. Katniss Everdeen, The female lead, is up for favorite character and is a positive movement for feminism.
Katniss Everdeen is one of the strongest female characters in teen literature. This is not only because she wields a bow, and outsmarts every man who tries to cross her, but because of how she deals with the social and political forces that play into the story. Suzanne Collins, author of The Hunger Games, did an amazing job of cultivating a female character that is not often seen in main stream movies or books. Everdeen’s character is complicated, and multi-dimensional. She is strong and powerful, but we also see her doubts and fears; her vulnerabilities. Watching the movies, the viewer does not get the idea that Everdeen is a feminist herself, instead she is simply human. Collins did not write her character as being overtly feminist. Everdine does not just get up one day and decide she wants to go kick butt in the Hunger Games, however she struggles with wanting to be there, and the stipulations of killing another human.
Jennifer Lawerence’s performance highlighted what it means to truly be a “strong female character.” Highlighting that a woman can be both strong physically, and emotionally on the silver screen. The author suited her with traits that one would often equate with male gender roles: she cared and hunted for her family from a young age, she is tough, she is a skilled trader, and has trouble expressing her thoughts and emotions. To foil these traits, she is also the perfect woman: she is never foul mouthed, she is protective of the weak, and she has a feminine presentation.
Throughout her struggles in the game, she always has a respect for her enemies. She never wished death upon any of them, but knew they were in the way of her return home. This foils other popular “strong female characters” such as Uma Thurman’s role in Kill Bill. Thurman’s character was driven to kill by revenge. She became desensitized to murder in a way that Everdeen never did. Many female superheros and movie villains often kill just because they have the power to. The Hunger Games presents a feminine character who is mentally conscious of the positive and negative repercussions of her actions.
After Everdeen’s close friend in the game is killed, she takes time to mourn her loss, instead of seeking revenge over the killer. The way this is written in the movie shows it as a sign of strength, and not a sign of weakness. In many other films the reaction to death is quick and almost emotionless, because the characters are required to move on. Collins takes her time, allowing Everdeen’s character to fully experience every stage of grief. This scene is empowering, and by doing this Katniss almost defeats the purpose of the game. Katniss Everdeen is a positive role model for feminism in mainstream media.
Opinion by Joshua Shane