Through The Hunger Games, Katniss Everdeen has become “The Mockingjay”: a symbol of the rebellion, but more she has become a symbol in our culture of the importance of a woman hero. Everyone is familiar with The Hunger Games Trilogy as a cautionary tale about where we might be headed as a nation. However, I believe there are immediate and pressing lessons to be learned about how our culture has been shaped by Hollywood.
It’s no secret the movie industry is dominated by men. In The Washington Posts article by Alyssa Rosenberg she states males “write about 85 percent of movies.” She also says the most common advice given to writers is to “write what you know,” and as a writer I can attest to her statement. The problem, she believes, with males only writing “what they know” is we only hear male narratives.
According to Saba Hamedy’s Los Angeles Times article referenced at Knoxville.com, “of the top 100 grossing films of 2013…just 15 percent of the protagonist [were women].” Many people in Hollywood claim movies with a male protagonist gross more money, but Sandiego University Film professor Martha Lauzen points out “Differences in earnings are due to differences in the size of budgets, not gender.” Not only is the problem that women’s stories aren’t being told, but also when they do appear in films often men (the writers behind scenes) create unauthentic characters playing out women as men see them rather than as an actualized woman.
In recent book series, female protagonists seem to be the norm. From the Twilight Saga, to The Hunger Games Trilogy, to the Divergent Series, we have seen this generation not only accept, but welcome female heroes. (Note: I hate the word heroine. It’s pointlessly genderized and sounds like heroin.) So the argument could be made that our culture is “rebelling” against the lie we are being fed: the male narrative is more important.
For the upcoming 2014 MTV movie awards, it’s no surprise Jennifer Lawrence is up for awards in 5 different categories; however, according to Rebecka Shumann in an International Business Times article Jennifer Lawrence is NOT up for an award for “Best Hero.”( See the full list here.) It’s borderline unthinkable that no one would consider Katniss Everdeen a hero considering her popularity and everything her character embodies. I can’t help but point out she was nominated for “Best Kiss” (because that’s what women are best at right *sarcasm*?)
In the spirit of creating a “spark” that causes a movement, Hunger Games fan Sophie Azran created a “Petition to add Katniss Everdeen to the “Best Hero” category at the MTV movie awards.” In her own words,
I loved The Hunger Games, not just because it was a thrilling story, but because I admired the courage, intelligence, and persistence of Katniss Everdeen. Teen girls and young women everywhere need to see that courageous, principled women can be rewarded just like men.
So tributes, let’s give a three-fingered salute to all of our ladies out there and be aware that not all of their stories are being told. As a male I can say I’m not saying men-folk’s stories are less important, just we need to share the spotlight and be more pro-active and mindful of whose stories we tell.
If you’d like to stand up for Katniss Everdeen against the Capital…I mean MTV… feel free to sign the petition here.