First Semi-Argument, Hunger Games, and the Damsel in Distress Syndrome

Mmmm, bread. Save him for the bread!

 

Soooo, in the honeymoon phase of a new relationship, as you’re still getting to know a person you try not to make any missteps. You don’t want to argue or anything, even about something trivial. But it happens. Hey, it’s how you grow right?

So the Dude and I went to see Hunger Games: Catching Fire the weekend it came out. Both of us were pumped to see it, maybe me even more so since I not only watched the first filmed but all 3 books. And plus I love anything about dystopian futures. The movie was great, and stayed more true to the books than I thought it would. I was bursting full of ideas after we left out, but one stuck more than any other, and I offhandedly mentioned it.

ME: Hmmph, so Peeta is the Damsel in Distress.
DUDE: What? No he’s not.
ME: Well, yes, he is. Katniss is the hero.
DUDE: No, that doesn’t make sense. He’s just as strong, not weaker than her. He can survive on his own. He’s not in distress.
ME: Fine. Nevermind.
DUDE: No, explain why you think that.

See, I hate arguing, well… I hate arguing with my significant other. And it wasn’t arguing, just the Dude trying to understand my theory. But sometimes, without being able to write something down it’s really hard for me to get my ideas out. And I get frustrated. And I had one of those instances of “Oh no, don’t treat me like I’m stupid like those guys in the past!”

But after realising that the Dude wasn’t like guys in the past that just thought I was stupid, and was really trying to understand me, I was able to calm and get my words out.

So, why did I decide that Peeta in the Hunger Games series was a damsel in distress? Well, look at older action/adventure movies. Superman, Indiana Jones, Popeye. Who knows why those are the first ones that pop in my head. Just keep with me here. What they have in common is a hero. even if that hero is flawed in some way, they are the hero. You know they will somehow come out on top. Katniss is that hero. We are looking through the world in her eyes. And she is not weak. She comes into the story with strength. That’s how she is able to survive the Hunger Games. Basically consider her a born hero. As the story goes along she is not trapped in the silly girly thoughts of a love triangle, at least not in the books. The movies seem to play this up a bit. But instead, she is thinking of saving those she loves, not having time for romance. That is not her main concern. She is no Bella.

On the other hand, we have Peeta taking the role usually reserved for the female lead. He ends up having to be rescued many times by Katniss, all in all is NOT as strong as her, and is ruled more by his emotions. He loves her and moons over her, and compared to her is less violent. To look at it another way, he is the submissive to her dominant. He tries to find the peaceful route, the softer way of doing things. Not to say he isn’t masculine, but if we are looking at stereotypical ways a woman and man are supposed to act, well, he’s the woman, or damsel.

Especially throughout the second movie, you could really see that the roles are reversed from the normal hollywood movie when it comes to Hero and Damsel in Distress norms. Peeta has to be saved twice, from what I remember (can’t wait to re watch). Heck, in the first movie/book he was injured for most of it. And at the end of the second movie, what happens? He is trapped with the “villains”.

I think it’s why I enjoy the series so much. Katniss isn’t a fake action girl, waiting to be saved by a man so she can go all soft and gooey. No, she IS the person who will change everything, even at the expense of losing that chance at love. She is not ruled by her emotions, or some fairytale of how things are supposed to be. This is one of the very few lead female characters that is strong all the way through without falling into the romance angle and losing all edge. Even though I am not exactly like her (I’m a romantic in my own way), I seriously appreciate her character. And I do want more of them. Not knocking the Bella’s of the world (ugh, even though I barf at that series), but I want to see more women that aren’t being strong while waiting for the right man to come along and put them in the kitchen.

Anyway, after explaining the way I thought (while we sat in the parking lot waiting for the car to warm up), the Dude understood and agreed. Then security came over and told us to stop loitering, because apparently at one in the morning you can’t be up to any good just sitting in a car having a conversation. Pffft!
BTW, Peeta is on the TV Tropes page as a Distressed Dude: http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/DistressedDude

Somebody agrees with me.

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