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Why the World Needs More Katnisses

Why the World Needs More Katnisses

One of my best friends and I have this ongoing joke about which one of us is the “shittier feminist” as we call it. When I make a slightly sexist comment he’ll call me out on it in a second, finger pointing and everything. Of course, I do the same, and often when it’s not warranted, but either way it got me thinking.

I was first introduced to the topic of feminism this summer when I took a really awesome Gender in Film and Media class. I knew of the word feminist, but always shied away due to the negative connotations often associated, I didn’t want people to think I was man-hater or anything, I was just pro-equal rights. Well now that I have learned more about feminism and the history of the feminist movement, I am damn proud to call myself a feminist, and I encourage others to educate themselves on the topic as well.

Anyway, I flew home last night (YAY!) and today I went and saw Catching Fire, book two of the Hunger Games trilogy, with my family. It made me remember how much I fell in love with those books and also how much I want to be Jennifer Lawrence when I grow up (and not just so I can kiss Josh Hutcherson and Liam Hemsworth although that would definitely be a perk).

Hellooo Beautiful

But what made me originally not able to put those books down, was the presence of a very strong female character. For the first time in a long time, here was a hero in pop culture that I was able to relate to and identify with. She essentially saves herself in the first book by pretending to play the typical role of “girl in love” but we know and the antagonist of the book knows that she is much smarter than that, and only plays the part of a love interest in order to save her own skin. The character of Katniss must be physically strong and psychologically tough in order to endure the circumstances she is placed in, and this always shines through when she faces adversity. Sadly I feel like she is one of the few female characters in the movies who has these traits AND is the main character of the story. In one of my film classes we learned about this approach called the Bechdel Test. It’s very simple, if a movie can answer “yes” to these three straightforward questions, then it passes. They are…

  1. Does it have at least two women in it with names?
  2. Do they talk to each other?
  3. Do they talk to each other about something besides men?

An insane amount of movies do not pass this test for example…

The Dark Knight, Slumdog Millionaire, Citizen Kane, Lord of the Rings 1, 2 and 3,Ender’s Game, Gravity, Apocalypse Now, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, The Truman Show, Shrek, Bourne Identity, Transformers, Bruno, Ghostbusters, The Big Lebowski, Wanted, Ocean’s Twelve, Pirates of the Caribbean 1, 2 and 3, Austin Powers 1, 2 and 3, Men in Black, Fight Club, The Princess Bride, The Wedding Singer, Shawshank Redemption, Reservoir Dogs, Indiana Jones, Alien 3, Mission Impossible, Toy Story, X Men, Wolverine, When Harry Met Sally, Back to the Future 1, 2 and 3, Tomb Raider, Pulp Fiction, Seven, Home Alone, Up… just to name a few…

Something to take into consideration is that just because a movie fails the test it does not mean that it is a” bad” movie. There are plenty of movies on that list that I like, and some of my all-time favorite movies would similarly fail. Even some feminist-y movies fail because simply the female characters never meet, which has nothing to do with the representation of women. On that note, it is also true that just because a movie passes the test does not mean that it’s a good movie. Sex and the City The Movie passes, along with other chick-flicks that most feminists avoid like the plague and personally make me want to gouge my eyes out.

Ultimately this test is just a method of examining the presence of women in cinema and their role in it. The questions of the test are so basic and rudimentary, it was shocking to me that so many movies fail. Hollywood is an industry dominated by men, but what high grossing industry isn’t? In the world we live in today where women get paid on average 19% less than men do for the exact same jobs, it shouldn’t have been so surprising that my gender is underrepresented in cinema. This test can also be altered to discuss the role other identities have in film, for example, change women to minorities, and men to white people, or women to LGBT folks and men to heterosexuals. I want to emphasize that this test says nothing about the quality of a movie, it just makes you stop and think about the ways all different types of people are shown throughout media. For me personally, it’s very thought provoking and I often find myself wishing to see characters more like me, something I’m sure a few people who also aren’t white, straight, men wish as well.

My apologies for the feminist rant, it’s just when I see things in the media that actually make women seem as capable and intelligent as men, it makes me quite happy, and The Hunger Games series does just that. When I said the world needs more Katnisses, what I really meant was the world needs more Suzanne Collinses (author of The Hunger Games); more women to create characters in pop culture that young girls and women alike can identify with and relate to as people, not objects. Female characters that are, “strong, independent, and don’t need no man”. The media is so powerful and so good at manipulating the public’s perspective that the more we can demonstrate women’s abilities through TV, film, and literature, the more likely it is that young girls will truly believe that they can be anything in life that they want to be. No matter what. And that sense of belief and self-confidence is more powerful than any man who ever tries to “put women in their place”. So girls, next time a man tells you to make him a sandwich, tell him to f#^k off and go watch The Hunger Games, then have your sandwich and eat it too. God knows, that’s what Jennifer Lawrence would do.

 

 

20 Signs That Jennifer Lawrence Is Your Spirit Animal

20 Signs That Jennifer Lawrence Is Your Spirit Animal

20 Signs That Jennifer Lawrence Is Your Spirit Animal

The 25 Best Jennifer Lawrence Quotes Of 2012

The 25 Best Jennifer Lawrence Quotes Of 2012

The 25 Best Jennifer Lawrence Quotes Of 2012

21 Times Jennifer Lawrence Totally Nailed The Whole Interview Thing

The 25 Best Jennifer Lawrence Quotes Of 2012

When she explained what a true artist was and redefined what it means to be an actress:

 

 

Here are just a few of the sites I got my stats from in case you think I’m lying or something, haha. Also I know I made some pretty bold statements in this post so if you disagree with anything I said I would seriously love to know why via comment! I’m definitely not an expert on anything and am always eager to learn about different points of view.

(I’m not putting these in MLA format because screw MLA format, here are the links)

http://www.census.gov/compendia/statab/2012/tables/12s0650.pdf

http://www.feministfrequency.com/2009/12/the-bechdel-test-for-women-in-movies/

http://jobs.aol.com/articles/2009/01/26/10-industries-where-women-rule/