Hunger Games As Role Model
The current popularity of the trilogy Hunger Games may offer teens a model of female leadership, according to sociologists. Katniss Everdeen, the central character in the books (and movie adaptation), is proficient with a bow and arrow. While her use of violence, weaponry, and stoicism may at times be shocking, self-reliant characters like Katniss can inspire young girls, according to sociologist Janice McCabe and her colleagues (Gender and Society, 2011). Katniss’s character displays strength in the face of adversity, whether facing starvation due to oppressive government policies—or threat of death. She’s self-reliant, and uses her wits and skills to solve her problems, rather than waiting for the men in her life to swoop in and take care of things.
Female central characters are significant for young girls and women, McCabe and her co-authors argue, because they counteract the “widespread pattern of underrepresentation of females” in children’s literature. Such underrepresentation, according to McCabe, “may contribute to a sense of unimportance among girls and privilege among boys.” Perhaps characters like Katniss, who would rather take care of business herself than rely on boys, can change the way girls understand themselves—at least a little bit.