The Hunger Games Gender Roles

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The book “The Hunger Games” embodies varying gender elements throughout the story, with the author Suzanne Collins using her main characters, Peeta and Katniss, to give a gendered representation of the storyline. There is a continuous contest of the discourses surrounding gender, with the author attaching different gender roles to her characters, who assume other responsibilities deviant from the traditional gender roles. According to Agrawal (2020), the book challenges conventional gender roles and creates maverick characters not fitting into one gender box but enjoying both male and womanly features. Despite setting the stage in a dystopian ecosphere, Suzzanne utilizes gender discourses to find resonance in the modern world and confront gender issues that comply with and defy the traditional literary modes of representing gender. Her main characters assume highly unusual roles compared to existing dystopian literature, and each portrays varying masculine and feminine traits with a varying degree of use so that they can portray both sides of their life experience. Therefore, “The Hunger Games” completely goes against societal norms, rejecting gender binaries and crossing over gender identities to create characters who embody stereotype-defying characteristics.

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Feminism and Masculinity Depiction in the Book

The author makes Katniss the main character with her own goals and motivation while framing Peeta as the one who sometimes takes a backseat role to Katniss’s heroism but remains his unique character. According to Anam and Taufiqurrahman (2020), Katniss usurps masculine traits throughout the book while Peeta voluntarily or involuntarily adopts typical female characteristics, showing that masculinity and femininity are not mutually exclusive. While Katniss can wear pants throughout her day, practice archery during games, practice fighting in the Capitol, and dares to fight Cato, Peeta portrays a delicate side of her feminine nature, telling Katniss about his life, helping her mother bake cakes, and easily defeated in a fight. These activities go against the traditional gender roles, with Peeta taking a far weaker part in the book than Katniss, who acts as a symbol of rebellion, taking charge and leading her team to victory. Therefore, “The Hunger Games” reverses traditional gender roles, destroying the preconceived notions of gender to allow the possibility that humans can express both femininity and masculinity. Instead of conceptualizing gender based on two concepts, masculine and feminine, the book shows individuals’ separate dimensions of gender roles and the ability to conjoin them.

Normalized Reverse Gender Roles

Suzzanne normalizes changes in gender roles, running away from the conformity of traditional gender roles in which the male protagonist is strong and confident while females: Despite finishing hero, have to follow behind a male, who leads them to victory. She uses women as leaders, destroying this preconceived traditional notion of gender to create a society that normalizes reverse gender roles (Rana, 2020). The author fashions a culture in which an individual’s masculinity and unusual nature do not deter them from achieving their goals. They can imbibe the best attributes of both femaleness and maleness to make their life wholesome while unafraid to borrow traits from any gender unhindered by the traditional gender decrees. The characters find themselves acting the way that suits them and not being swayed or restricted by gender protocols. Therefore, there are normalized reverse gender roles throughout the book.

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“The Hunger Games” completely goes against societal norms, rejecting gender binaries and crossing over gender identities to create characters who embody stereotype-defying characteristics. While the book still upholds some customary gender norms, the characters defy these gender stereotypes to show that individuals’ roles, behavior, and nature change according to their needs. The author creates a society in which people normalize reverse gender roles, with each character’s masculine and feminine traits varying due to the degree of the trait’s usefulness. The book portrays a continuous contest of the discourses surrounding gender roles, with the author attaching different gender roles to her characters, who assume other responsibilities deviant from the traditional gender roles.

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  1. Agrawal, N. (2021, December 16). Gender Roles and the Hunger Games – Girl Genius. Medium. https://medium.com/girl-genius-magazine/gender-roles-in-the-hunger-games-9af1531775c4
  2. Anam, C., & Taufiqurrahman, F. (2020). The Appearance of Gender in the Main Characters in The Hunger Games (Gender Analysis). KnE Social Sciences. https://doi.org/10.18502/kss.v4i10.7397
  3. Suzzanne, C. (2008). The Hunger Games. Scholastic Press.
  4. Rana, U. (2020). Rejecting the Gender Binaries in Hunger Games Trilogy (No. ap025). Westcliff University. https://www.westcliff.edu/wp-content/uploads/2019/08/Rana-2017-11.pdf
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