Since I've spent months counting down the days until the premiere of The Hunger Games movie it's probably no surprise that I saw the film this weekend. Some of my friends who aren't into the series like I am keep asking why I'm such a Hunger Games geek. The answer in two words: Katniss Everdeen.
I love Katniss. So much so that I wore this to the movie:
Forget the love triangle, people; let's remember the girl on fire. Katniss Everdeen is one of my feminist heroes. Yes, I'm aware that she's not a real person, but bear with me for a moment.
I don't call Katniss my feminist hero simply because she's a survivor. Yes, she is badass with that bow and arrow and had to be smart and tough to take care of her family with practically nothing (something strong women have been doing since the beginning of time.)
But for me feminism isn't just about being strong. The dictionary definition of feminism is simply a belief in the economic, political, and social equality of the sexes, but for me it's come to mean much more. While I believe men can be feminists too (I’m married ton one) for me, feminism is also about sisterhood. And Katniss is her sister's keeper. She put her life on the line and volunteered for the Hunger Games to protect her sister Prim and then in the arena forms a sisterly bond with Rue. Sure, it may have seemed foolish to become an ally with the smallest and youngest tribute, but that didn't matter to Katniss.
I also love Katniss because she's a rebel. She refuses to settle for the status quo. I can't go into much detail about how without spoiling the end for those of you who haven't read the book or seen the movie and without giving away the plot of the final book of the trilogy, Mockingjay. But take my word for it; Katniss is not a "business as usual" kind of girl. And that is truly what feminism is all about -- not accepting the traditions and societal norms that try to dictate what men and women can and cannot do. It's about throwing off the conventions that try to restrict us with gender roles and stereotypes. *three-finger salute*
So what did I think of the movie? LOVED IT! After losing myself in the pages of Suzanne Collins' novels it was wonderful to see settings like the arena and the Capitol come to life and see actors like Jennifer Lawrence and Woody Harrelson transform into the characters that I've grown to love dearly.
But therein lies my one complaint with the movie. No, not the casting. That was very well done. But while I was watching the movie I kept wondering if I would be enjoying it as much as I did had I not read the books. Because I've read the entire trilogy I am invested in this series and I'm invested because I'm attached to the characters. Collins does an amazing job of creating complex main characters. Katniss isn't just a girl who loves her sister and has good archery skills. We know her hopes and her fears. We know what makes her admirable and we know her character flaws. We know the internal conflict she's battling due to things like her anger toward her mother and her feelings for Gale and Peeta.
I worry that the movie didn't allow viewers to develop the same connection with the characters that we true Hunger Games geeks have and I worry that for those who don't have that connection the movie may have seemed mediocre. I can't say for sure, obviously, because I have read the books and therefore most scenes of the movie gave me goosebumps. So if any of you saw the movie without reading the books I'd love to know your thoughts. And then I'd love for you to go read the books!