Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Articles Rejected by 2011: Katniss, The Hunter

Because the year is coming to an end, I'm posting abstracts and summaries of articles that were rejected or just didn't get published last year, for recapitulation, and also because if you want me to actually flesh them out more, Dare me to in the comments, and I probably will. 



Katniss Everdeen & The Hunter: From Artemis to Hit Girl, How Katness Speaks to the Warrior in All of Us. 

The Greatest Franchises, indeed the greatest stories, appeal to certain archetypes that resonate across time. The image of a woman, bow in hand, speaks to the primal need to survive and the elegant grace of the hunt. Katniss, the lead protagonist in The Hunger Games, is both a Warrior and an Outlaw. A poacher, she combines two powerful archetypes that are not currently represented in the zeitgeist of popular culture, or at least not from the feminine perspective. This vacancy, and the careful execution of Katniss’s story, is a big part of the commercial success of The Hunger Games, and why it is a viscerally compelling story.

The perception of heroines as passive or weak does not accurately reflect the historical and modern role of women in society.  From time immemorial, women have been providers and heads of families, despite the “delicacy” of their gender or societal requirements of femininity. The difference between stereotypical interpretations of femininity and archetypal heroines is a combination of verisimilitude, celebrating the union of femininity, and the requirements of survival in any given situation. 

It gives me additional glee to pull this linked picture from an article about the movie's Nail Polish Collection
The personification of the conflict between adolescent femininity (just beginning to awake to romantic pursuits) and an extreme focus on pursuing a larger goal is one that resonates strongly with modern women.  Katniss has spent most of her youth pursing survival, becoming confident in her forestry skills, and defines herself by her skills and abilities as a provider, rather than as a potential romantic partner or master of domestic skills.

When romance and sexuality arrive in Katniss’s life, she is blindsided. While she knows innately how to give and receive affection, the connection between affection and underlying emotion is blurred by circumstance. Mirroring the struggle of many modern women, the early exploration of her sexuality is defined by insecurity. Is it any wonder that Artemis was celibate?

"You're both good men, but how can I tell who I love when you're both always wearing shirts?"
Katniss tackles these problems in her life, the obstacles she must overcome in the narrative, by taking them on actively and directly. In many ways, she is denied the luxury of other courses of action. 

Katniss hero’s journey through the lens of the Caregiver and the Outlaw shows how these archetypes impact modern perceptions of femininity and fill a vacant niche in the current pop culture landscape. It’s easy to see how it would appeal to women from all walks of life. 

From mama grizzlies to urban cosmopolitans, homemakers to corporate executives, women struggle to operate as independent and capable individuals. The feminist ideal of choosing one’s own path while still supporting a family is addressed in Katniss’s journey, a single young girl with the weight of a revolution on her shoulders. She is expected to be everything to everyone, while simultaneously desiring above all else to be able to preserve the principles and people that mean the most to her.

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