Katniss Everdeen is a badass. Sorry we’re not sorry!
See, it all started with a recent article on Divergent, which included a line from Shailene Woodley about her character, Tris Prior:
“What I like about Tris is that she isn’t perfect. She’s not a super-hero — she’s not Katniss. She doesn’t know how to shoot a bow and arrow, she’s not a badass by nature.”
We read the article and didn’t even blink twice at this quote. Come to find out, it became A BIG FREAKING DEAL at some point because fangirls are sensitive lil’ snowflakes.
Let’s break it down: First, we don’t believe Shailene was trying to insult Katniss Everdeen. She auditioned for the role of Katniss Everdeen and has talked about her love for the series regularly. Nor do we think she was calling Katniss “perfect” or “a superhero”. In journalism, we know so because of that dash: “She’s not a superhero — she’s not Katniss”. Zee dash typically represents one of two things: 1) Someone getting caught up in their thoughts mid-sentence and altering things. She was probably trying to think of a good contrast and eventually stumbled upon Katniss after saying those first couple things. Or 2) A piece of a quote that the writer chose to omit, usually because they think it’s irrelevant or too similar to what’s already been quoted.
Anyone who has read both books should actually be able to see what Shailene is talking about. Katniss IS badass and there is zero shame in it! She knows how to hunt (and effectively kill), she’s got survival skills, and she’s a quick learner who’s able to win hearts. She’s mature and hardened by her difficult upbringing. She’s fully aware of what it means to be in The Hunger Games and faces that head-on. Being badass in such a way doesn’t make her a Xena-style archetype. She’s still vulnerable and scared and fucked up in many ways, despite her badassery. The worst thing for us is the fans arguing that Katniss isn’t as badass as she is to try to make her seem less like a stereotype. She’s super kickass! She’s just other things too!
Tris, on the other hand, is a clean slate at the beginning of her story. She essentially joins the military without knowing what the military is about. No weapons training, no special skills, no endurance, little social skills, and the… emotional squishiness of your average 16-year-old girl. While Katniss has some grit to her, Tris is building that grit up from scratch and in many cases, failing miserably. Realistically, we’re all more Tris than Katniss in this sense (unless you’re a Doomsday prepper or an outdoor survival enthusiast!) And no, we’re not dissing Katniss when we say that.
When an actress says something regarding The Hunger Games other than “OMG I love it (though I don’t plan to be in it)”, the fandom then turns around and tries to EAT THAT ACTRESS, Walking Dead style. Shailene Woodley seems to be a popular target because The Secret Life of An American Teenager was that bad of a show, which wasn’t all her fault, and maybe 3% of the fandom has seen her Golden Globe-nominated performance in The Descendants.
Is Shailene justified in explaining ways she believes Tris and Katniss are different? Absolutely! After all, the Entertainment Weekly cover read DIVERGENT: IS THIS THE NEXT HUNGER GAMES? She’ll have to explain over and over that there are a lot of differences between Divergent and The Hunger Games in the same way that The Hunger Games actors were constantly explaining that their movie wasn’t anything like Twilight. And everyone who understands fandom better than the media will let out a collective sigh of frustration every time.<
But let’s get this straight: Nobody’s turning this into a rivalry between The Hunger Games and Divergent or whatever-the-hell-else dystopia/fantasy comes out in the next few years. WE REFUSE TO PARTICIPATE. It wouldn’t be controversial had another actress called Katniss “a badass by nature”. We might even love them for it. It’s all about the context. Because Shailene says she likes Tris for not being badass, we assume she doesn’t like Katniss for being so when she probably only meant to say she loves how Tris overcomes a more drastic state of unpreparedness.
Written word is a bitch, y’all! Everyone assumes you’ve got a hidden meaning or a snide remark behind a sentence that was said without a bit of malice. EW was smart in using that fact to their advantage and highlighting that quote, thus leaving it up for fan interpretation. Hell, maybe Shailene Woodley DID have the intention of starting fandom wars, because lord knows that’s what multi-million dollar actresses in their 20s apparently like to do in their spare time! … But we’re doubting it.
Take a few breaths, punch a pillow, untwist your panties, and QUIT YA BITCHIN’,
The Girl With The Pearl