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Whose revolution is it anyway?

Melissa Graham

December 19, 2013

If there was any movie that started political discussion in 2013, it would be the second installment of the Hunger Games trilogy, Catching Fire.
The reasons for that may seem obvious at first glance, the plot of the Hunger Games books are centered on revolution against the tyrannical, over-consuming Capitol. However, there is a larger discussion happening beyond the main plot of the trilogy. Since the debut of Catching Fire there has been a sharp increase in discussion of gender roles, hunger, and revolution.
As the main character in the Hunger Games trilogy, Katniss Everdeen provides some much needed relief from the typical female leads of Hollywood. Katniss is independent, strong, and resourceful while still portrayed as a human character with flaws and fears. She is capable of love, but romance is not essential to her character, nor is she portrayed as a sexual object. The actress who plays Katniss, Jennifer Lawrence, has also spoken out against how women are portrayed in the media and held to an unnatural standard of beauty.
It is not difficult to see the comparison between the Capitol in the Catching Fire, and the ruling class oppression in the real world. What is surprising is the call for revolution, however short-lived, that has come out of this film. A note of caution here though, a call for revolution from elites like Donald Sutherland are unlikely to create the world we want to see, and the film itself promotes an idea that only the elite can spark a revolution. While it is exciting to see a mainstream film that calls for revolution, it is important to remember that mainstream media is the tool of the ruling class, and Catching Fire is excellent tool for disguising ideas. Take for example the whole line of makeup named the Capitol Collection, a film that seems to promote feminist ideals is still telling women they need to look better.
But all is not lost. Catching Fire did remind people of their own oppression a least for a short while, and one group called the Harry Potter Alliance used the theme of The Hunger Games to bring attention to real hunger. Now if only we can stop looking to mainstream media for revolutionary ideas, the odds may someday be in our favour.

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