“You can’t change the world if you only change the girls” - Me
I saw Hunger Games over the weekend with a friend and thought it was a wonderful adaptation of the book. Yes, there were things I would have done a bit differently. Yes, it was hard to have the same emotional impact as the book, when you can't "hear" the internal debate of the heroine. Overall, though, I thought it captured the soul of the story.
There have been a lot of reviews out there of the Hunger Games movie, though. This one isn’t a review of the movie. It is a commentary on the power of having such a strong female lead out there for all to see.
What REALLY makes me happy about this book and movie adaptation?
Girls have a powerful role model. Yes, I’m a huge fantasy fan. I adore the Hobbit and the Lord of the Rings, even though the female presence is scarce. When a woman gets into the fray and kicks some tail, though, that’s when I feel like my voice is being heard. Katniss can be one of those strong young women for today’s girls. Katniss is powerful. She is caught up in a world that is out of control, but she takes control. She’s a scrappy fighter, a protector of family, and a reluctant participant in romance. She steps onto the path under her own steam. Her motivation? Not a boy. No, she's in it to protect her little sister.
Even better? It’s NOT seen as a “girl thing”. Boys and men are reading and watching it because they LIKE it. They don’t say, “This is a girl book”. They don’t wrinkle their noses up and decide it’s a “chick flick”. Nope. They dive right in and enjoy the show. The boys in my classroom who are devouring the book don’t even comment on the fact that Katniss is a girl. They just love the character, and the action, and her struggle against the dystopian hand she’s been dealt.
Girls AND boys need to see that. They need to read that. They need to experience it. When girls and women can be powerful, and boys don’t even question it – that’s when we know we’ve succeeded in changing the world. How do we do it? One book, one movie, one scientist, one Supreme Court Justice, one American President at a time.