So, in my total coma over “The Hunger Games” (the final two of which I’m pretty sure I read in the span of a weekend–I lost count of days, hours, minutes.. only came up for air for Holy Week services) my father said something to me which caught me:
“Katniss is the only strong feminist protagonist I’ve seen in a movie who doesn’t have a placard around her neck yelling “STRONG FEMINIST PROTAGONIST””
Now, whether or not this is true, my mind went to one thing first: Katniss doesn’t have to have a placard around her neck, because no one is questioning her ability to do what she does because she is a woman. That means one thing, 1) that she doesn’t have to convince herself that her womanhood changes her ability to preform any tasks, and 2) that no one else around her has to either. What matters to make this change is not that Katniss is a strong feminist protagonist, but that Peeta, Haymitch and Cinna are also, the men of the novel. And this confirms one of my suspicions: the empowerment of women is most certainly inseparable with the empowerment of men. The first step might be empowering women to question what they have been told about themselves, but that is most certainly only a rough beginning. In order to get to a world where the statement: “You can’t do it because you’re a girl” doesn’t even ARISE, there is much more partnership required than merely a group of women with, as my father might call it, placards around their necks saying “strong feminist protagonist”.
Perhaps the word feminism is all wrong anyway, because it may be about women at the core of the problem, but it certainly isn’t about women at the core of the solution: it is most certainly about everyone, everywhere, just like racism, classism, and all the other ways in which humans de-humanize one another.