The Hunger Games as a Traditional Fairy Tale

I didn’t have time before to read what The Last Psychiatrist had to say about The Hunger Games but now that he came by the blog in person, I have. As usual, he offers brilliant insights:

The traditional progressive complaint about fairy tales like Cinderella is that they supposedly teach girls to want to be princesses and want to live happily ever after.  But is that so bad?  The real problem with fairy tales is that the protagonist never actually does anything to become a princess.  . . The clear problem with this isn’t that girls will want to hold out for a Prince, but that it might foster the illusion their value is so innately high that even without pretty clothes or a sense of agency a Prince will come find them. Sleeping Beauty and Snow White are worse: they don’t even have to bother to stay alive to get their Prince.

This is precisely the problem with the traditional discourse of femininity. Where I disagree with The Last Psychiatrist is his desire to attribute the blame for this state of affairs to the patriarchy, the society and “the system.” However, as we see from the authorship and the audience of The Hunger Games, this image of womanhood as willingly denying one’s own agency in order to be serviced by the universe is created and promoted, first and foremost, by women themselves.

Cinderella is not a story that men tell to women. It’s a tale that women tell to each other and to themselves. Just think about it. Why would a man find the story attractive? What is there in it for him if he is not a foot fetishist? But what a pleasing dream for a woman! You sit there, doing nothing to take control of your life, and suddenly everything somehow works out perfectly.

As feminists, we all know the demeaning, offensive, harshly negative characteristics of the patriarchy. Now, we have to grow more vigilant about everything that is attractive about it. And we need to stop getting seduced by its promise of liberating us of the burdens of agency and responsibility.

I have now read the last book in The Hunger Games series and the ending of the trilogy bears out The Last Psychiatrist’s observations on the novel completely.

[MAJOR SPOILER AHEAD!]

A 30-year-old Katniss has even less agency than she did at 16. She has children because her husband really wants them and talks her into it. That’s a fitting development for a fake feminist hero like her.

4 thoughts on “The Hunger Games as a Traditional Fairy Tale”

  1. “Where I disagree with The Last Psychiatrist is his desire to attribute the blame for this state of affairs to the patriarchy, the society and “the system.””

    I think he kind of agrees with you on this. From the article

    “Though this is an example of the feminist agency problem, you should note carefully that the “society” that forces this false choice on women is actually other women, not men, and it starts with the overly invested way mothers reproach their daughters to “dress like a lady.” Certainly the original energy for this madness comes from men, from “the patriarchy”, but if every man was executed tonight nothing would change tomorrow. It’s on autopilot. ”

    I can’t thank you enough for introducing me to LS.

    Like

  2. I’ve been reading blogs for years and not once was I motivated to comment on any of them. Until you came along. So, you know, you’ll always have a special place in my heart.

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.