As the clock ticks down to March 23, 2012, all eyes are on The Hunger Games to turn things around in a big way for Lionsgate. Now io9 is saying that the franchise has the potential to change the movie industry with their editorial Why The Hunger Games is Way Better Than Twilight.
As is expected when one compares Bella Swan and Katniss Everdeen, Bella doesn’t come out on top.
Since she seems to be completely willing to fling herself in whatever direction Edward is facing, Bella completely fails as a female heroine. Her biggest attempt to do something on her own entailed going to find a lawyer to get her daughter away with Jacob and even that proved to be completely irrelevant because of the lack of climax to the big showdown at the end.
So how is The Hunger Games going to change movies? According to the article:
- If Hunger Games is a big success, it could have all sorts of awesome effects — like, maybe we could get a new wave of cool dystopian future movies.
- Most of all, let’s hope Hunger Games breaks this dumb Hollywood preconception that people won’t go to see movies about female action heroes.
While both these things sound great, there are bigger things that can change here than just the Hollywood landscape. How about changing the way young women look at independence? Or how they can make serious contributions to their households and society at a very young age? Or awareness of starvation issues in our own country and around the world? Aren’t these the things that matter more than what’s coming soon to a theater near you?
While Stephenie Meyer may have sold millions and millions of books, what damage has she done to a generation of young girls? Let’s look at the basic message in each of her Twilight novels.
Twilight - Stalking is so romantic. Let’s face it, if you found out that Franklin from True Blood was sneaking into your room at night to watch you sleep instead of Edward, you’d have nightmares (and probably rape). Bella is lucky that Edward is an immortal cutie and a virgin to boot, yet it’s still disgusting how Meyer turns breaking and entering into gosh darn it, true love. He’s equally lucky he’s an immortal cutie or he’d probably have had to move out of Forks to avoid prosecution.
New Moon - It’s totally okay to stop living for three months when your boyfriend breaks up with you. I admit, when I read it, I was shocked at the blank chapters. I couldn’t believe she’d do that. When I was sixteen I might have acted the same way, but god damn it my mom would have shaken me out of it if it was the last thing she did. So no, parents, it’s not okay to let your child slip into a depressive coma for months. You really are only young once and Meyer just sensationalizes Bella’s actions. All she’s doing is telling girls its okay to moon over someone like your life is over.
Eclipse - When the guy dumps you and puts you through three months of hell comes back, open your arms and faint with relief. Then dump the guy that helped you through it all. Yes, all girls should love someone so completely that they’ll stomp on anyone that gets in the way of getting that guy. Great message. It’s even greater to lead someone along because it makes you amazing to be wanted so badly by two hot guys. Girls need to be taught not to be heartbreakers, not the other way around.
Breaking Dawn - Give up everything just to be with your true love forever. Sure, Bella and Edward make for a wispy ending and they have maddeningly good sex for the rest of their lives because she turned while she was completely in love with him, but let’s get real here. This is never going to happen for 99 out of 100 girls because true love that deep, while certainly amazing and beautiful, is a rarity. Making young girls want this so badly is only setting them up for disappointment as they move through love, marriage, kids, and old age. They’re going to get old. They’re going to have ups and downs in their relationship. Life will never be the perfect ending Bella gets.
Don’t get me wrong, I get that this is all fantasy, but given the addictive nature of the series and the target audience, it’s not quite as harmless as a trashy love novel. Bella and Edward are being shoved upon girls of a very, very impressionable age. As goofy as it sounds, a series like this can be life changing.
Meanwhile, Katniss vows never to fall in love or have children. Her entire focus in life is to help her family and Gale’s survive. She is exceptionally aware of the political ramifications of all her actions. Her biggest flaw is being unable to love or read emotions in others, an understandable thing considering the environment she lives in.
What the popularity of The Hunger Games has the potential to do is change the way all the young Twihards look at life. It’s got the potential to have everyone look within and decide if they like what they see. It teaches us not to take life for granted and shows us what a superficial and sheltered society we’ve become. For are we not Capitol citizens ourselves? We may not have the aqua skin or the pink hair, but we do live in extreme excess while others in the country suffer and gather our food. People gripe and moan about the rights of illegal immigrants, but who else is going to go out there and pick all that fruit you buy in the stores? Certainly not middle and upper class city kids, who are too good for such manual labor, right?
Maybe The Hunger Games has the potential to provide better entertainment, but let’s not forget the potential it has to impact our youth and turn around the damage that Stephenie Meyer has already done to some of them.