Dear Jennifer Lawrence and Suzanne Collins: I read the books and adored them. I absolutely loved them for the vivid storytelling and intricately woven tale. I admit that initially, as with a multitude of people, I made the false comparison to other current popular fiction series like “Twilight” and “Harry Potter”. I knew it was the next big thing but I didn’t realize until the end of the first book what a disservice that comparison has been. Reading these books has tapped into a completely different set of emotions – a dangerously real set of emotions.
Personally, I immediately felt a connection with the unsureness, the strangeness that I felt when I was a teenager, also now, and likely forever. Are we making the right decisions? And are our World Leaders keeping our best interests at heart?
“The Hunger Games” made me think. Specifically, they reminded me of a short story I read called “The Lottery” by Shirley Jackson. Have you read it? If not, please do. It is a fictional account of human nature in a similar world to Panem. Horrible, but eerily akin to the survival mode embodied by “The Hunger Games”. Did you think about what would happen if someone called your name? Called your name to a certain death? Would you fight?
Above all in “The Hunger Games”, I applauded Katniss for being a strong female voice in a globally visible and gruesomely transparent era (like we live in now). I briefly made the connection that these books were like ‘1984″ and “the Giver” combined, a scary and enlightening social commentary. But at the very base, I appreciated that a woman, a true woman, was able to embody the emotion and grit necessary for survival – a strange twist of selfishness, release, compassion and surrender.
And then, AND THEN, I read a review. “Was Jennifer Lawrence too well fed for the Hunger Games?”. I refuse to link to that story.
I guess (and it is a true guess) I see where this headline was born. In the book, there is an emphasis on how Katniss has eaten sparsely for days, how her hip bones are sticking out.
But I ask you, Hollywood: What. The. Fuck.?
We have a beautiful, sexy, empowered and inspired young woman playing a role model for millions of teenagers, boys and girls alike, and you tell her, “you are too well fed to play a fictional part.”??!! It may have been a question of a headline, but it was a rhetorical one. The bottom line was implied. Obviously a non-emaciated girl was “too fat” to play the character of Katniss. I hope you read my sarcasm.
Can we talk about the amount of depth and emotion Jennifer Lawrence embodied? What a clear and real performance she gave?
Can we talk about the positive role model she is for the hundreds of thousands (millions?) of young girls that indubitably need a strong female role model? One that stands up for themselves and makes their own decisions?
Can we talk about the mirror the “Hunger Games” holds up to our society’s obsessive reaction to all things publicly available – facebook, you-tube videos: “Jack-ass”, “Bum Fights” and all things violent or that may cause serious harm?
What does it say about us?
Do we glorify dangerous behavior?
Do we obsessively tune in to videos with this same violent streak- and continue to discuss them as they go viral?
And most importantly, when there is a legitimate, relevant vehicle to ask these questions, why is the heroine’s weight even a question? THE question. WHY are we focusing on this?
Jennifer Lawrence, you are strong, beautiful and a role model for your depth of emotion, even if only acted. Thank you. I don’t think anything more needs to be said.