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I don’t live under a rock. I’m well aware of the overwhelming media hype about The Hunger Games. Yes, I read all three books, and I have an opinion on what matters and what is insignificant. Too many media stories have focused on trite parts of the story or the book-to-movie transformation. People complain that Jennifer Lawrence looks too old or not emaciated enough. There’s the whole unbelievable Internet rant about the race of the characters. Don’t even get me started on that.

The story that got me really excited was in the New York Times. Two critics discuss Katniss as a dystopian hero, and how gender plays into that, or even if it should.  And is Katniss a hero if she’s not a male? Can she be a female hero and still have legions of young boys aspire to be like her?

This makes her a perfect surrogate for the reader turned viewer, who perceives this dystopian world through her eyes and who also imagines him- or herself in Katniss’s place. I say him or her because “The Hunger Games” allows — or maybe compels — a kind of universal identification that is rare, or maybe even taboo. It’s generally assumed that girls can aspire to be like Harry Potter or Spider-Man, or can at least embrace their adventures without undermining their own femininity. But at least within marketing divisions of the culture industry, it is an article of faith that boys won’t pretend to be princesses.

You can read the rest of this illuminating article here.

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