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Feminism: The Hunger Games

F-16_Fighting_Falcon
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4/19/2013 6:53:24 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
I recently watched the Hunger Games and would like to hear opinions on the movie from a feminist perspective. By "The Hunger Games," I am referring to the first movie because that is the one I watched, but of course, anyone is welcome to interpret the books as well.

My underlying opinion is that Hunger Games was a breakthrough for feminism in hollywood. Even while society advances and lets go of its prejudices (mostly), hollywood remains a racist and sexist haven when all non-white people and all women are expected to conform (or are portrayed as confirming) to restricting stereotypes. Even movies that show women as the stars of the show sexualizes the woman. So, while a woman might be portrayed in a dominant role, it is still sexualized so there is no real breakthrough.

The Hunger Games changes that. Katniss (played by Jennifer Lawrence) often takes on gender atypical roles going so far as to save Peeta (Josh Hutcherson) from the other kids. When he isn't well, she gets his medicine for him. It leaves the audience in no doubt who the hunter is in this simulation of a hunter-gatherer society.

Furthermore, she is also adept at climbing trees, and no qualms about killing people having Marvel who was threatening to kill Rue.

The most surprising thing about the reactions to the story was an interpretation that Hunger Games is in fact sexist. This is likely not a majority opinion but it exists nonetheless. Here is an article detailing all the ways in which Hunger Games is sexist (http://thelastpsychiatrist.com...).

Some of the points raised by the author is that when Katniss shoots the apple, she is "proving" herself to "men" and that most of the decisions she has to make are made by her. I flatly disagree although hearing from the DDO members with knowledge about feminism would be interesting.
TheAntidoter
Posts: 4,323
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4/19/2013 7:35:26 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
I would say that this movie isn't really for or against feminism on balance.
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APB
Posts: 267
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4/19/2013 7:48:11 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
What an abominable waste of time and brainpower. Why even think about whether stuff is sexist? You're damned either way.
F-16_Fighting_Falcon
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4/19/2013 7:52:53 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 4/19/2013 7:48:11 PM, APB wrote:
What an abominable waste of time and brainpower. Why even think about whether stuff is sexist? You're damned either way.

Because it creates an interesting discussion with diverse viewpoints.
TheAntidoter
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4/19/2013 7:53:57 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 4/19/2013 7:52:53 PM, F-16_Fighting_Falcon wrote:
At 4/19/2013 7:48:11 PM, APB wrote:
What an abominable waste of time and brainpower. Why even think about whether stuff is sexist? You're damned either way.

Because it creates an interesting discussion with diverse viewpoints.

Was that the point of this site?

Is there like a tagline or a broad statement about this site's goal?
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F-16_Fighting_Falcon
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4/19/2013 7:56:23 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 4/19/2013 7:53:57 PM, TheAntidoter wrote:

Was that the point of this site?

Is there like a tagline or a broad statement about this site's goal?

Sorry, I don't follow. Care to elaborate?
bladerunner060
Posts: 7,126
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4/19/2013 8:01:12 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
I have expressed problems with the word and the movement before. However, for the sake of your post and an avoidance of derailment, I will set them aside in furtherance of the ostensible (and noble) goals of the movement.

That said, analysis you link to is tripe.

It implies that you can't have a strong female character in an even vaguely realistic setting without it being sexist because (for example) she has to show off to men. Well of course she does, most societies are patriarchal!

Now, they could have created a wonderful feminist world, but then that would have changed a lot of the dynamic of the story, and made it a totally different one.

The gauge of whether a female character is strong or buying into stereotypes is whether the character could have been swappped out for a dude and not lose the story. When a female character is defined by her sexiness, if you swapped that out for a dude you'd immediately see it as bad; it's only because we stereotype women as sexytimes that creators (think they) can get away with it.

Katniss could have been a dude. In the first version of the story, she was (oooohhh, did he just make a "Battle Royale" crack? Yes he did!).

That doesn't mean, of course, that a woman has to "be a man" to be a strong character, but I will admit that my description isn't perfect, because it seems to imply a woman has to act like a stereotypical man, which is not what I'm getting at, so I hope that's clear even if I haven't phrased it fantastically.

The funny thing is that Alice from RE, who the writer appeals to, unlike Katniss (to my knowledge, I actually am going second-hand here on HG, but you've inspired me to watch this flick), actually does appeal to sexist stereotypes in the first movie. Talk about a lack of agency? In the first one, she wakes up naked in the shower with no memory.
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F-16_Fighting_Falcon
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4/20/2013 12:09:17 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
I agree that the link is tripe. I linked it to say that opposing viewpoints exist and that I disagree with them. I pretty much agree with most of your analysis on it.
Khaos_Mage
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4/20/2013 3:12:37 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
I would say the Terminator films, especially the second one, would be the breakthrough feminist film. However, the last film (Redemption or Revolution or whatever it was called) broke from this tradition.

At least in the sense that the woman wasn't helpless. She might not have been the hero per se, but she wasn't a sidekick nor a bystander.
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Noumena
Posts: 6,047
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4/20/2013 10:22:57 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
Making women more like men isn't as liberatory as people think. It's just substituting one set of prejudices (I.e., women are objects, should assume role x, etc.) for another (in this case that women can be subsumed into a masculine stereotype). The independent development of female characters based off of their own individual motives or experiences (unbounded by either masculine or feminine type) seems infinitely more worthwhile. Think Kate Chopin's "The Awakening" as opposed to Tomb Raider or Terminator.
: At 5/13/2014 7:05:20 PM, Crescendo wrote:
: The difference is that the gay movement is currently pushing their will on Churches, as shown in the link to gay marriage in Denmark. Meanwhile, the Inquisition ended several centuries ago.
F-16_Fighting_Falcon
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4/20/2013 10:41:16 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 4/20/2013 10:22:57 PM, Noumena wrote:
Making women more like men isn't as liberatory as people think. It's just substituting one set of prejudices (I.e., women are objects, should assume role x, etc.) for another (in this case that women can be subsumed into a masculine stereotype). The independent development of female characters based off of their own individual motives or experiences (unbounded by either masculine or feminine type) seems infinitely more worthwhile. Think Kate Chopin's "The Awakening" as opposed to Tomb Raider or Terminator.

What is your opinion on Tomb Raider with regard to the development of the main character into stereotypes?
Noumena
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4/20/2013 10:45:59 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 4/20/2013 10:41:16 PM, F-16_Fighting_Falcon wrote:
At 4/20/2013 10:22:57 PM, Noumena wrote:
Making women more like men isn't as liberatory as people think. It's just substituting one set of prejudices (I.e., women are objects, should assume role x, etc.) for another (in this case that women can be subsumed into a masculine stereotype). The independent development of female characters based off of their own individual motives or experiences (unbounded by either masculine or feminine type) seems infinitely more worthwhile. Think Kate Chopin's "The Awakening" as opposed to Tomb Raider or Terminator.

What is your opinion on Tomb Raider with regard to the development of the main character into stereotypes?

I dunno. I was too busy lamenting at the fact that someone let that trash become available to the public to really focus on the philosophical significance of the character development. But anything I did pick up may be subsumed into my earlier analysis. Making women masculine/tough doesn't solve the problem. It just changes the origin of the problem.
: At 5/13/2014 7:05:20 PM, Crescendo wrote:
: The difference is that the gay movement is currently pushing their will on Churches, as shown in the link to gay marriage in Denmark. Meanwhile, the Inquisition ended several centuries ago.
Oryus
Posts: 8,280
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4/20/2013 11:13:10 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
That link was a pile of crap.

The Hunger Games is great. Not because Katniss is a bad@ss and not because she takes on a stereotypically masculine role, which I don't think she necessarily does. I think she has both feminine and masculine traits which is what makes her character great- all humans have feminine and masculine traits.

The Hunger Games is feminist because Katniss, a female protagonist at all, which is impressive in and of itself, unfortunately, is portrayed as competent in a realistic way (i.e. she's *not* a superhero. She is a strong woman without the need for superpowers), and most importantly she isn't flawed in a way that is cutesy or sexy (awkward, eccentric, clumsy, shy, etc.). She is flawed in a way which legitimately might make people dislike her- she can be cold, she is not very good with people, she's kinda gross and dirty and stand-offish, etc. and she is none of these things in a "cool" aloof, hyper-masculine and hyper-sexualized way like most action/adventure female stars are (a one dimensional male fantasy). She is simply an unfortunate product of her environment and her strength and bravery comes from her selflessness, love for, and devotion to her family, which is arguably a stereotypically feminine trait. Her devotion to the larger cause is instigated by the empathy and love that she feels and expresses shamelessly for Rue which, again, can be considered a stereotypically feminine trait. I bring up these being stereotypically feminine traits (although she obviously stereotypically male traits as well- like her stand-offishness and coldness) because these are what she gains strength from. Her emotions, while she has difficulty expressing them at times, are not her weaknesses- they are what drive her and make her braver. She is not driven by some hyper-masculine drive for revenge or carnage. She isn't untouchably perfect. She is driven by empathy for innocent people and love for her sister and mother. It *is* possible to overpower her but what makes her great is that she keeps right on fighting anyway.

And I'd like to add that when Katniss shoots the apple, she doesn't do so merely for men (not that that even matters). There were elite women there to impress as well so I don't know where the author of the link got that idea.
: : :Tulle: The fool, I purposely don't engage with you because you don't have proper command of the English language.
: :
: : The Fool: It's my English writing. Either way It's okay have a larger vocabulary then you, and a better grasp of language, and you're a woman.
:
: I'm just going to leave this precious struggle nugget right here.
APB
Posts: 267
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4/20/2013 11:56:29 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 4/20/2013 11:13:10 PM, Oryus wrote:
That link was a pile of crap.

The Hunger Games is great. Not because Katniss is a bad@ss and not because she takes on a stereotypically masculine role, which I don't think she necessarily does. I think she has both feminine and masculine traits which is what makes her character great- all humans have feminine and masculine traits.

The Hunger Games is feminist because Katniss, a female protagonist at all, which is impressive in and of itself, unfortunately, is portrayed as competent in a realistic way (i.e. she's *not* a superhero. She is a strong woman without the need for superpowers), and most importantly she isn't flawed in a way that is cutesy or sexy (awkward, eccentric, clumsy, shy, etc.). She is flawed in a way which legitimately might make people dislike her- she can be cold, she is not very good with people, she's kinda gross and dirty and stand-offish, etc. and she is none of these things in a "cool" aloof, hyper-masculine and hyper-sexualized way like most action/adventure female stars are (a one dimensional male fantasy). She is simply an unfortunate product of her environment and her strength and bravery comes from her selflessness, love for, and devotion to her family, which is arguably a stereotypically feminine trait. Her devotion to the larger cause is instigated by the empathy and love that she feels and expresses shamelessly for Rue which, again, can be considered a stereotypically feminine trait. I bring up these being stereotypically feminine traits (although she obviously stereotypically male traits as well- like her stand-offishness and coldness) because these are what she gains strength from. Her emotions, while she has difficulty expressing them at times, are not her weaknesses- they are what drive her and make her braver. She is not driven by some hyper-masculine drive for revenge or carnage. She isn't untouchably perfect. She is driven by empathy for innocent people and love for her sister and mother. It *is* possible to overpower her but what makes her great is that she keeps right on fighting anyway.

And I'd like to add that when Katniss shoots the apple, she doesn't do so merely for men (not that that even matters). There were elite women there to impress as well so I don't know where the author of the link got that idea.

What makes Katniss a great character isn't that she's "feminist", but that she's realistic. Bella Swan works for the same reason, even though she embodies all the things feminists don't like. Both characters are also easy to identify with, which helps when selling your story to the reader.
Oryus
Posts: 8,280
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4/21/2013 12:08:23 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 4/20/2013 11:56:29 PM, APB wrote:
What makes Katniss a great character isn't that she's "feminist", but that she's realistic. Bella Swan works for the same reason, even though she embodies all the things feminists don't like. Both characters are also easy to identify with, which helps when selling your story to the reader.

Why exactly did you direct this random comment at me which doesn't address a single thing that I said? Just curious.
: : :Tulle: The fool, I purposely don't engage with you because you don't have proper command of the English language.
: :
: : The Fool: It's my English writing. Either way It's okay have a larger vocabulary then you, and a better grasp of language, and you're a woman.
:
: I'm just going to leave this precious struggle nugget right here.
APB
Posts: 267
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4/21/2013 12:21:59 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 4/21/2013 12:08:23 AM, Oryus wrote:
At 4/20/2013 11:56:29 PM, APB wrote:
What makes Katniss a great character isn't that she's "feminist", but that she's realistic. Bella Swan works for the same reason, even though she embodies all the things feminists don't like. Both characters are also easy to identify with, which helps when selling your story to the reader.

Why exactly did you direct this random comment at me which doesn't address a single thing that I said? Just curious.

It addressed 1 thing you said and sort of expanded on the rest. I think. Who cares?
Oryus
Posts: 8,280
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4/21/2013 12:31:26 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 4/21/2013 12:21:59 AM, APB wrote:
At 4/21/2013 12:08:23 AM, Oryus wrote:
At 4/20/2013 11:56:29 PM, APB wrote:
What makes Katniss a great character isn't that she's "feminist", but that she's realistic. Bella Swan works for the same reason, even though she embodies all the things feminists don't like. Both characters are also easy to identify with, which helps when selling your story to the reader.

Why exactly did you direct this random comment at me which doesn't address a single thing that I said? Just curious.

It addressed 1 thing you said and sort of expanded on the rest. I think. Who cares?

What 1 thing?
: : :Tulle: The fool, I purposely don't engage with you because you don't have proper command of the English language.
: :
: : The Fool: It's my English writing. Either way It's okay have a larger vocabulary then you, and a better grasp of language, and you're a woman.
:
: I'm just going to leave this precious struggle nugget right here.
APB
Posts: 267
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4/21/2013 1:22:07 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 4/21/2013 12:31:26 AM, Oryus wrote:
At 4/21/2013 12:21:59 AM, APB wrote:
At 4/21/2013 12:08:23 AM, Oryus wrote:
At 4/20/2013 11:56:29 PM, APB wrote:
What makes Katniss a great character isn't that she's "feminist", but that she's realistic. Bella Swan works for the same reason, even though she embodies all the things feminists don't like. Both characters are also easy to identify with, which helps when selling your story to the reader.

Why exactly did you direct this random comment at me which doesn't address a single thing that I said? Just curious.

It addressed 1 thing you said and sort of expanded on the rest. I think. Who cares?

What 1 thing?

"The Hunger Games is feminist because" X, Y and Z. You know what, never mind. I was splitting hairs and going off on a tangent.
Oryus
Posts: 8,280
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4/21/2013 1:27:18 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 4/21/2013 1:22:07 AM, APB wrote:
At 4/21/2013 12:31:26 AM, Oryus wrote:
At 4/21/2013 12:21:59 AM, APB wrote:
At 4/21/2013 12:08:23 AM, Oryus wrote:
At 4/20/2013 11:56:29 PM, APB wrote:
What makes Katniss a great character isn't that she's "feminist", but that she's realistic. Bella Swan works for the same reason, even though she embodies all the things feminists don't like. Both characters are also easy to identify with, which helps when selling your story to the reader.

Why exactly did you direct this random comment at me which doesn't address a single thing that I said? Just curious.

It addressed 1 thing you said and sort of expanded on the rest. I think. Who cares?

What 1 thing?

"The Hunger Games is feminist because" X, Y and Z. You know what, never mind. I was splitting hairs and going off on a tangent.

Indeed. I never said she is good because she is feminist. I said she is feminist because she is realistic and she is good because she is realistic in that she is strong but not invincible.
: : :Tulle: The fool, I purposely don't engage with you because you don't have proper command of the English language.
: :
: : The Fool: It's my English writing. Either way It's okay have a larger vocabulary then you, and a better grasp of language, and you're a woman.
:
: I'm just going to leave this precious struggle nugget right here.