sarcasticwriter: (Closer)
[personal profile] sarcasticwriter
It's funny how many people have referred to the diminishing activity on Livejournal with temperature metaphors. I vaguely remember a community comment that said LJ was drifting into a permanent ice age. [ profile] madbard just referenced a novel "...where an underground civilization got progressively colder, until there were just a few cottages left with the lights on." And I said myself that LJ is dying an internet heat death.

And I've gone into the reason I haven't been updating - sheer, shameful laziness. But for godsake, if I'm going to take the time to write long comments on other blogs, the least I should do is cross-post them here!

And so:

My current favorite stranger blogger, The Last Psychiatrist, recently wrote two posts on The Hunger Games, The Hunger Games is a Sexist Fairytale. Sorry.

I won't recap - The Last Psychiatrist is a brilliant essayist, and his mini-dissertation on how The Hunger Games is a basic Cinderella-style fairytale without a "strong" female character is most satisfying when read all the way through. But I'll cross-post my comment on his latter entry here, since I think it (mostly) stands alone:

I felt, in my gut, that there was something wrong with both the movie and book series, even though I thoroughly enjoyed both of them.

Well, actually, I had an idea, it just wasn't comprehensive enough.

I find the lack of rape throughout the series - or even the threat of it - really strange. I think it's strange the word was never mentioned once in all three books. There's a brief explanation that a past Hunger Games winner - a male winner - was pimped out to wealthy patrons in the city. But it's not the same thing.

History shows us that things don't usually go well for women in the impoverished, desperate communities where labor is divided by gender, there is no birth control, and the population is dominated by external "peacekeepers," who all seem to be male and ritualistically terrify the oppressed population. What's more, the highest positions in the government seem to be filled exclusively by males (which makes me wonder - how would the story have read if President Snow was female? Glenn Close instead of Donald Sutherland? That would have been awesome!).

And in the games themselves, where late-teen males, trained from childhood to kill other human beings, form temporary gangs to hunt down their opponents, laughing while their victims cry and beg for mercy...doesn't it seem strange that none take what's for all but one of them the last opportunity to experience pussy before they die?

We can speculate that the producers of the Hunger Games have informed the contestants that they must not violate the TV-14 ratings of the games by introducing sex to violence. Or that rape might alienate their patrons and those patrons might withhold their parachute packages (although late in the game, the packages become so expensive we can assume that the contestants eventually give up on the hope of receiving them - why not rape then?). Or maybe they don't want to live with the consequences of having a reputation as a rapist if they do survive. Not that that seems to have hurt many celebrities in the real world, but maybe the citizens of Panem are more easily disgusted by rape than we are.

But then the question becomes: Why would that be? Why would a society that cheerfully watches child-on-child murder find rape even more offensive? So offensive that it has apparently been completely eradicated, to the degree that Katniss never, ever mentions it?

The word is never used. I think rape just doesn't exist in Suzanne Collins' fictional universe. And so Katniss is protected from rape by never being exposed to even the concept of rape. Because rape isn't a thing that threatens good girls like Katniss. Do you hear that, young female readers? Heroines don't even have to know what rape is. Be pretty, but not sexual, and you won't have to know what rape is, either.

If that isn't paternalism cranking the deus ex machina, I don't know what is.
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July 2012

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