Blog 9: Hunger Games

Write about “Gender Relations and Romance in The Hunger Games” (women’s capabilities and potential, taking on traditional male tasks, subversion of traditional gender roles, gender transgression, etc.).  Make sure to include the lecture by Dr. Raley and Chapter 11 from Pfarr & Clark  in your reflection.  See also the article in The Nation: http://www.thenation.com/article/167182/hunger-games-feral-feminism/  

 

Gender is a complex issue in The Hunger Games Series. The author balances the traditional gender roles with necessary changes to make Katniss a capable competitor in the Games. She creates an interesting dichotomy of gender differences with Katniss and Peeta, where Katniss plays the role of the protector and Peeta plays the role of the romantic “girlfriend.” In our discussions with Dr. Raley, she talked about some of the differences between our perceptions of gender in modern society. We also looked at how people market their products to each gender. We looked at a variety of products, such as razors, deodorant, and protein bars and how their design and names varied based on their target demographic. After looking at basic ideas of gendering in society, we talked about how we distinguish gender, such as dress, behavior, hairstyle, facial hair, and more. We looked at a bunch of different pictures and decided what aspects made us decide what gender they were.

Dove for Men vs. Women

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In our discussion with Raley, we only talked about the Hunger Games briefly, which was the idea of Peeta as a movie girlfriend and Katniss as a male protagonist. Peeta is the softer, more caring character; whereas Katniss was the hunter and protector. In her private interview with the Gamemakers, Katniss scores higher than any other tribute, including all of the male tributes. Also, Suzanne Collins give female characters real roles, with real, individual personalities. However, Katniss is still expected to dress and act femininely while in the public eye before the Games, in order to try and win more sponsors.

Wedding Dress Katniss wore for her Interview, at President Snow’s Insistence 

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In the article we read in Chapter 11 of Pharr and Clark’s book, it talked more about these warped gender roles. It talked about how society tried to gender people from a young age with clothing and toys, and how people in media are often portrayed in more gender typical roles. However, it also talks about how some modern shows have begun bending the gender roles to be more inclusive of people with different personalities, such as Sam on iCarly. It talks about how in many literary and media works, boys are encouraged to be strong rebels, whereas women are in domestic roles. The article addresses Katniss’ male qualities, such as her survival skills, but it also talks about the fact that she has been forced to take this role because of the death of her father. She was a reactive character, making decisions based on her circumstances. Her emotional moments are more often angry than upset or soft, although an exemption to that arises from the death of Rue. Nevertheless, the article does also talk about how many of the other female characters do conform to more traditional female roles, such as Prim’s sweet and innocent nature in the first book, her fragile mother, Effie’s as a typical vain woman, etc. In the final article, on thenation.com, it also talks about Katniss’ more masculine aspects and Peeta’s more feminine personality. This author does make a couple of additional points, however. For example, he attributes much of her success as a strong female character to her moral values – she tries to kill only in self-defense and she stays true to the person that she believes she is to the best of her ability.

Katniss, Normal Image

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Over all, the Hunger Games creates an interesting dichotomy between traditional gender roles and Katniss’ decisions that are very contrary to it. Katniss is a strong female character, reactive or not, who is put into situations that she has to be harsh in order to survive. How much of that idea created her more masculine sides, or if it was just her base personality, we have no way to know. 

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