The LA Times ran a column titled "What The Hunger Games Means" a couple of days ago. Among the POV's cited was one from fellow Duke alum and Angeleno Fred Goldring, who opined that The Hunger Games (THG) was a fable about this year's Republican Presidential candidates. Given that the books were written four years ago, I think Fred was being a little tongue-in-cheek.
But I am not. I think that the popularity of THG -- both books and movie -- represents a rising tide of female empowerment and resentment that can be turned towards government in a skinny minute. And I think, by elevating recent discourse about denying access to birth control into a virtual party platform, various conservative pundits and wanna-be candidates are sticking their proverbial feet right on top of a proverbial landmine. Or, to use another metaphor, putting themselves squarely in the sights of Katniss' very-accurate bow.
Granted, the Twilight series, which in my mind is the antithesis of female empowerment, has also been very popular. But THG blew away Twilight's opening-weekend records. Which indicates to me that the normally-quiet swing voters (in this case, movie-goers) were moved to action by a tale that features a female hunter-heroine who sacrifices for her sister and ultimately takes down a repressive government.
Katniss, the heroine, does not want children, because she doesn't want them subjected to the depradations of the Hunger Games. If you've read the books, you know that she later changes her mind, after the Games have been eliminated. She not only hunts, kills and defends her family like a wildcat, but she also exercises her right to choose her life's direction, without interference from the government. This is a message that many of my female peers, as well as their daughters, understand completely.
I can't tell you how many of my distaff Republican friends are dismayed that rights that they thought were settled long ago are somehow now on the table, that a party that was built on individual accountability and small government now supports the idea that government should regulate your reproductive choices - mostly by denying the female half of the citizenry access to choice. They feel that their party is failing them, and they have nowhere to go.
If the dialog continues down this track, I wouldn't be surprised if the result is hundreds of thousands of Katnisses, ready to step in for their sisters and stick a few arrows in those who would oppress them. To quote President Snow (Donald Sutherland) from the movie: "Hope. It's the only thing stronger than fear."