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I'm on holiday...

But really, this article about The Hunger Games spoke to me on a deep level. And I would definitely choose Alice from Resident Evil (no matter how silly the movies are) over Katniss if the zombies were coming. Hell, I'd want Rayne even more.  I also do not like Twilight or THG, and it's an instinctive dislike; I don't want to read a book with characters that are so passive, they depend entirely on the kindness of men to survive.  Seriously.  I can't bear that; more, I can't relate to it.  I don't understand how anyone could think Twilight was romantic; the premise of the first book sounded terrifying to me, not dreamy.  THG (the movie; I did not read the book, because the premise didn't work, somehow.  Probably that instinct again) was okay, I had a good time, but I expected more of the girl who volunteered herself in place of her little sister, whom she knew would not survive.  I expected the anger on the train to translate to anger and a determination that winning was the way to fight the system. Instead, she becomes almost entirely passive; even the "magic bees" that get her away from the strong (and heavily brainwashed) kids - we're supposed to see them as the bad guys, but they're victims of the government just as much, if not more, than Katniss - are pointed out to her by someone else.  All the people with agency (i.e., the ability to make decisions for themselves) in the movie are men.  She has some good ideas, and yes, I really cried when Rue died (um, she also pointed out that the mockingjays were a great signaling system; does Katniss know nothing about the country, even though she supposed to be the food provider for her family?).  I just feel I was told about this kick-ass girl who is killer with a bow and arrow, who provides for her family, whom everyone admires, and I got... not that.  It's why I'm such a huge fan of Michelle Rodriguez, who deliberately painted herself into a casting corner ("tough chick who dies"), because she refused to play female characters that were dependent on male agency.  Now, I don't blame Jennifer Lawrence in the least for taking the role of Katniss - girl's gotta have a career.  I hear she's really good in Silver Linings Playbook.  And the number of female "action hero" roles out there are vanishingly few, plus Milla Jovovich has a lock on the best one. 

(This continues to be the case, despite over ten years of Milla Jovovich making big box office as an action hero.  The same kind of factor applies to Will Smith - black mainstream action heros are vanishingly few, despite Tyler Perry's work in that field.  It's a case of producers saying "well, yes, Milla/Will brought the money in, but that's because she/he's Milla/Will, not because people want female and black heroes".)

Oh, just go read the article, it says it much better than I can, since my ability to speak about my feminism is not particularly well-formed.  It's cool.

This attitude, though it took a lot of years to come out, was planted in me by my mother, who is awesome, not least for her ability to drink any man under the table.  But she's mostly awesome for taking her decision-making as much as possible out of the hands of the men around her, and using it herself.  And she grew up at a time when even the feminists were looking at you funny if you didn't have a man.  She also taught me that being aware of why you're working within the status quo (using makeup, wearing high heels, dyeing my hair to get:  Attention, better jobs, a chance at being let into the halls of power) gives you more power to buck the status quo when needed (which, in her case, was getting a job at The Economist where she could write left-leaning articles that would be read without prejudice by right-leaning people).  I can't claim any such noble goal, and it took marrying a feminist man to get me on track, but part of being a feminist is believing that you really are any man's equal, and acting on it.  I'm doing okay so far.

Thanks, Mum.  Happy Christmas.

Comments

( 12 brains — Leave a chunk of brain! )
hlwoods
Dec. 24th, 2012 02:08 am (UTC)
Thank you for the link. It was thought provoking ... I found the author explaining why I had so strongly disliked the books. (I disliked them, but could't put my finger on why. Agen)cy is an interesting concept.)
attack_laurel
Dec. 24th, 2012 03:41 am (UTC)
Isn't it interesting? I also didn't like the books (actually, the teasers, blurbs, and quotes), so didn't read them, which some would say negates my argument, but I think the fact that I rejected them with a feeling that I wouldn't enjoy them would be my point. These books were not for me. They weren't written for people like me, and people like me are not going to like them or identify with the characters.

Which is not to say the books and films are *bad*, just that the linked post points out what may not be obvious, even for those of us who didn't like them. Until I read the post, I didn't consciously think about them, and I self-identify as a feminist. :)

"Twilight" is a little easier to deconstruct, but there is an interesting dichotomy between the people that think watching someone while they sleep and are unaware of (and have not given permission) being watched is madly romantic and freaking terrifying. And that what might be appealing in fiction is not desirable in real life.
hlwoods
Dec. 24th, 2012 04:28 am (UTC)
I read a fair chunk of Enid Blyton growing up, including her Famous Five series. Which included three siblings and a cousin George (because she hated the name Georgina), and the dog makes five.

What always struck me as amusing was that Anne, who was the youngest, enjoyed playing house and keeping track of domestic chores, while George, who was older, was very much an active character, so that girls could choose who they preferred.

And dammit, I hadn't realized the first book was published in '42. Sigh. Such a long time ago.
chocolatepot
Dec. 24th, 2012 03:23 pm (UTC)
I thought it was an interesting article, but in the end I can't get on board with it. The idea that women prefer Katniss over Alice in general doesn't make sense to me, because it's predicated on all the women and girls who like Katniss having seen Resident Evil, which IME isn't true, and then on women not getting wish-fulfillment from super-heroes, which again isn't true IME. And I'm a little grossed out by the tone in several paragraphs that he has all the secrets and the women who identify with Katniss or see her as a decent female character for younger girls to be into are deluded and need him to straighten them out, and the line "women still secretly believe they are inferior to men".

Although I'm strongly prejudiced against him because of the "hipsters on food stamps" articles. If someone can't see that my generation's problem finding jobs is at least as much the fault of the economy as our strange insistence on going to college for all sorts of majors, they have some major blinders when it comes to looking at society in general.
my_stitching
Dec. 24th, 2012 03:38 pm (UTC)
Sorry, but I think both of the articles are a big steaming pile of bullshit. ;) The author claims to have read the books, but then says things that happened in the movie but that happened much differently in the book. And the author also says things that may be partially right in the first book but are totally wrong in the second two books.

For the record, I saw the movie and liked it so I got the books. Loved them. In fact, I read all three and then went back and read them again immediately. And then when I finished, I read them all again.

I don't always like Katniss. Sometimes she does things that are just cringeworthy especially in the third book. But I love the story. Some psychologist who wants to turn everything into a feminist statement can twist it however they like, but I still like the story.

And what does Alice really have to do with Katniss? Alice is from a fucking video game, for crying out loud. She has been genetically altered to have superhuman everything. OF COURSE you would want her over Katniss in a zombie fight. That is a huge DUH. But I really wouldn't want to read a book about Alice that wasn't about zombie killing because while she is great in a video game and a zombie movie... as a person she is fairly 1 dimensional.

But besides all that... I hope you have a lovely holiday, Laura. :)
my_stitching
Dec. 25th, 2012 12:33 am (UTC)
I've been thinking about this since my post and I wanted to clarify why I felt the author was full of it. As I said previously, I have read all three of the books three times. I know this story backwards and forwards. And that person is so full of their own hubris they obviously decided what the book said either without bothering to really read it or made up their argument before reading and looked for things that might make it fit. We all know some SCA folks that document their research like that. ;)

Ok first of all, Katniss is anything but passive. I can see why someone who saw the movie might think that. But no one who read the books should get that impression. She isn't passive, she is stoic. Those are two totally different things. She grew up in a place where showing the wrong emotion can get you killed. She has learned from a very young age to blank out her face completely. She is filled with anger and resists anyone trying to help her, even her own mother. How does that equate to wanting a man to solve all of her problems? And she is not continually saved by men? Really? She spend three books going out of her way to save Peeta. Ok two and a half books, but I don't want to give away any spoilers. :p

And Katniss can't hit moving targets at close range? You mean like hitting a moving rabbit, squirrel or other game in the eye to kill it? Every. Single. Time. It mentions this a couple of times in the book. And it even comes up in a scene in the movie.

And Thresh is retarded? What friggin book did that guy read? Ok so a guy is black and works in the fields and doesn't give very long answers so he is retarded? Who is the racist again? The author? The viewers? No, I think it was that asshole who wrote that article. Here is the quote from the book on his interview with Caesar Flickerman: "The boy tribute from District 11, Thresh, has the same dark skin as Rue, but the resemblance stops there. He's one of the giants, probably six and a half feet tall and built like an ox, but I noticed he rejected the invitations from the Career Tributes to join their crowd. Instead he's been very solitary, speaking to no one, showing little interest in training. Even so, he scored a ten and it's not hard to imagine he impressed the Gamemakers. He ignores Caesar's attempts at banter and answers with a yes or no or just remains silent. If only I was his size, I could get away with sullen and hostile." Sullen and hostile... not retarded. And anyone who has read the books would know about what goes on in his district to make him that way.

Everyone is entitled to their opinion, but I can't tell if the guy writing that article is a troll trying to get clicks by winding people up or someone who needs to prove their point so badly that they just don't pay attention to anything outside their own mind. Or just an asshole. Maybe all three? ;) I read the article to my husband who also read the books and he thought the guy lied about ever reading the books.
ladyaneira
Dec. 25th, 2012 12:42 am (UTC)
Ya, the movie was a very . . . condensed version of the book. They got most of the *action* into the movie, but very little of the social critique or insight into the characters. Movie definitely fell flat.
standgale
Dec. 25th, 2012 09:37 am (UTC)
Definitely condensed - I read the books first, and I kind of wish I'd watched it, then read it, then watched it again, because I'd like to see how my perception of the story changed and how the story appeared with just the movie. It's hard to see, having read the books first, how anyone who hadn't read the books even understood the movie since there was so much background and explanations and REASONS for things that couldn't fit into the movie.
chocolatepot
Dec. 25th, 2012 03:40 am (UTC)
Honestly, I think it's a combination of two and three. Reading his other articles, he's a libertarian of the particularly unpleasant kind that seems to twist reality into whatever form aggrandizes himself, whether it's regarding how only he sees how truly destructive THG is on poor impressionable females or how only he understands the problem with all the unemployed twenty-somethings (YES I am upset).
(Anonymous)
Dec. 24th, 2012 04:07 pm (UTC)
cathgrace
Happy Christmas Laura! We loved getting your card, and we miss you both loads and loads, I wish I could come and sit with you and embroider some more!

Catherine
attack_laurel
Dec. 27th, 2012 06:27 pm (UTC)
Re: cathgrace
Same to you! :)
jillwheezul
Dec. 29th, 2012 06:36 am (UTC)
I thought that the female lead in both the Twilight series and Hunger Games seemed to be too childlike to be engaging to someone with my life experience. I found them boring.

In contrast though, I loved the character development in Lisbeth Salander in "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo". I'd hire her if I had some serious stuff going down. But then I don't tend to favor lawful good characters in fiction at any rate - usually the story line motivation is flat and doesn't make for good plot tension IMHO. I did like how the latest Snow White donned her own armor and fought in the latest movie iteration of that fairy tale.
( 12 brains — Leave a chunk of brain! )

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