The Hunger Games is here. We’ve waited a long time for this.

There will be many reviews that dissect Katniss to determine if she is the perfect role model or a true heroine. I don’t care about that. I’m thrilled that we have a big, big film with a strong female protagonist that is going to give the lie to the Hollywood producers’ notion that boys and young men just won’t see a movie with a female lead. Well, they will see it if it’s a good story. And girls have a role model in a girl who plays an active role as the center of the story, and isn’t just a love interest. And the story isn’t about her relationship to a boy. That’s good, whether she’s a perfect character or not. Simple, folks.

She doesn’t have to be the perfect heroine. If we had more female protagonists, we wouldn’t have to pick apart every one. This doesn’t happen with male protagonists. There are so many, they don’t each get minutely examined to determine if they are a perfect role model. So let’s just rejoice in this film and then demand more.

I worried that Katniss would get all sexed up in the movie. I haven’t seen the film version yet, but judging from the trailer and reviews, it doesn’t appear that this happens. Looks like it’s true to the book. The message of this movie for boys is that girls and women can indeed be the star of a major movie, which is also the message for girls. The message for Hollywood producers is that they’ve been leaving a lot of money on the table by leaving girls and women out.

Yes, the movie is violent. It’s part of the concept of the story. I agree it’s not for younger kids. It is too bad that many of those kids want to see it and parents are going to have their hands full if they decide their children are too young. It’s tough because the marketing is everywhere. That’s an issue for another day. My boys, now both teenagers at 13 and 16, will be allowed to see this movie. They, and I, have been looking forward to it ever since we finished reading the whole trilogy.

Some useful links:

Women and Hollywood on just how big this is and why that’s so great.

Roger Ebert’s review, for the facts about the film.

Common Sense Media review, for age appropriateness

Michael Rich, director of Children’s Hospital Boston’s Center on Media and Child Health, talks about violence in a book versus violence on the big screen. There’s a big difference.


  1. Thanks for this. I agree whole heartedly, Katniss is a flawed, complex character in a difficult situation. Her strengths and weaknesses make her one of the more believable literary figures in YA literature, in my opinion. I just wrote a review of the book series for those parents who are wondering if it's write for their kids.

  2. Sorry, right for their kids. Commenting from the iPhone gets me sometimes!

  3. Knew that's what you meant, Jennifer! Readers, you should definitely check out Dr. Shewmaker's blog for some useful, specific advice on teaching media literacy to your kids, plus lots of other help for parents finding their way through the media wilderness.

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