‘The Hunger Games’ redefines modern heroinism 

By Olivia Rosenberg, Assistant buzz Editor

Ten years ago, “The Hunger Games,” based on the novel of the same name by Suzanne Collins, was released in the midst of the young adult, dystopian era of media.  

However, what set “The Hunger Games” apart from other popular books and films of the genre like “Percy Jackson,” “The Maze Runner” and “Harry Potter” was that a woman was the central hero of the story. 

The film, directed by Gary Ross, focuses on Katniss Everdeen, a teenage girl living in Panem, a nation split into 12 districts controlled by President Snow in the Capitol. 

Each year the Capitol hosts the Hunger Games where a boy and a girl from each district are chosen to fight to the death. The games were enacted in order to punish the districts for their failed revolution against the Capitol.  

Primrose Everdeen, Katniss’s sister, is chosen for the games and Katniss volunteers to fight in her place. Her and the other tribute, Peeta Mellark, must learn the ways of the Capitol and prepare to fight for their lives. 

Katniss, played by Jennifer Lawrence, breaks all molds of what a female hero should be. Katniss is standoffish, stubborn and sarcastic, completely unlike many heroines that have come before her. She is not proper and always put together in the way most women see girls displayed in media. 

Though her unlikeable qualities lead some to believe she is icy and unfeeling, there is a depth of compassion to her that comes through when it really counts. 

Instead of Peeta, played by Josh Hutcherson, taking the leadership in their duo as most men would be in other stories, it is Katniss who takes charge and ends up helping Peeta for the majority of the film. 

Peeta himself strays from a stereotypical male hero because he is the sensitive and heartfelt one compared to Katniss. His strengths come from his emotions and compassion. 

The story even singles out audiences for their investment in heterosexual relationships by crafting a publicity stunt in the games to draw in more viewers and sponsors.

It is a commentary on the fact that just like the audience from Capitol cares more for Katniss when she is in a relationship with a man, our society too has that same investment in our media. It calls out the idea that a woman’s worth comes from her relationships.

Though the story features a love triangle between Katniss, Peeta and Gale, Katniss is never defined by those relationships. The triangle is more featured as a subplot, never overshadowing the overall journey Katniss is placed in. 

Another unique aspect of “The Hunger Games” is the central theme of sisterhood.

It is refreshing to see the connection between the two sisters in the patriarchal world around them. The fact that these two girls support each other unaccompanied by any male influence is not something common in heroism based stories. 

The influence of “The Hunger Games” increased the popularity of female-centric stories, meaning more books and films of that nature were made, expanding the genre. After the release, Veronica Roth’s “Divergent,” another action story featuring a female heroine, was adapted into a film. 

Though the movie was not revolutionary in its filmmaking by any means, it is Collins’ story reflected on screen that sends the message to women that a heroine isn’t defined by boundaries. 

 

[email protected]