Paper Title

The Subject of Object Discourse: Katniss Everdeen, Feminist Icon?

Location

Room 220, DiGiorgio Campus Center (DiGs)

Start Date

April 2016

End Date

April 2016

Keywords

Identity, Object, Subject, The Hunger Games, Agency

Abstract

Studies of young adult texts like Suzanne Collins’ The Hunger Games trilogy have neglected examining the motives and means behind protagonist Katniss Everdeen’s decision-making process. For most, Katniss appears as a rebellious, self-aware, and self-reliant character, and whom many hold up as an obviously feminist character and role model. Closer examination of her actions and decision-making reveal that despite many scholars highlighting her individuality, Katniss is quite often an object of discourse for various groups in the novels. Thus, is she really a feminist icon?

Identity theorists, like Linda Alcoff, have shown that identity ties directly into interactions with social/political others and illustrates that identity is liminal: caught between a sense of self and a socially constructed sense of self. Katniss is no exception, as this paper will show; her liminality means she occupies both subject and object positions simultaneously. This problematizes scholarly (and popular culture) readings of her character as a feminist icon or at least challenges those who largely presuppose that Katniss is independent and has agency. But can we still claim her as a feminist icon? This paper concludes that by selectively choosing which discourses objectify her, Katniss undermines their control and maintains agency and individual identity.

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Apr 2nd, 3:30 PM Apr 2nd, 4:45 PM

The Subject of Object Discourse: Katniss Everdeen, Feminist Icon?

Room 220, DiGiorgio Campus Center (DiGs)

Studies of young adult texts like Suzanne Collins’ The Hunger Games trilogy have neglected examining the motives and means behind protagonist Katniss Everdeen’s decision-making process. For most, Katniss appears as a rebellious, self-aware, and self-reliant character, and whom many hold up as an obviously feminist character and role model. Closer examination of her actions and decision-making reveal that despite many scholars highlighting her individuality, Katniss is quite often an object of discourse for various groups in the novels. Thus, is she really a feminist icon?

Identity theorists, like Linda Alcoff, have shown that identity ties directly into interactions with social/political others and illustrates that identity is liminal: caught between a sense of self and a socially constructed sense of self. Katniss is no exception, as this paper will show; her liminality means she occupies both subject and object positions simultaneously. This problematizes scholarly (and popular culture) readings of her character as a feminist icon or at least challenges those who largely presuppose that Katniss is independent and has agency. But can we still claim her as a feminist icon? This paper concludes that by selectively choosing which discourses objectify her, Katniss undermines their control and maintains agency and individual identity.