Should I Read Hunger Games? [a crowdsourced decision]

Should I Read Hunger Games? [a crowdsourced decision]

I haven’t yet seen or read Hunger Games – and the decision as to whether I do, is in your hands.

I trust the Ethical Ocean community. You are often teaching me, sharing ideas, offering feedback, and acting as a good moral compass.

I’ve set a goal in 2012 to try and consume media that helps me learn, grow and sharpen my attitude and skills for social and environmental change.

I watch a lot of TED talks. I read the Economist loyally. I took in a poetry slam last night. I even found a powerful message in Coco Before Chanel. This isn’t about intellectual snobbery (Kung Fu Panda has certainly made it in my rotation of inspirational movies), but about not just mindlessly consuming media.

Everywhere I look lately, someone is reading Hunger Games. It’s come up in far more conversations than I can count, including in our office. Really, I can’t escape it.

So I googled “Hunger Games” to find see if there might be some soul-shaping message or some kind of learning I could glean from this trilogy. To no surprise, there’s a lot of content on the Internet discussing the books and movie, a lot of which explored various social issues from feminism to animal rights.

First, whether the film is a victory or loss for feminism is hotly debated. On one hand, a number of people remarked that they are excited to see a strong female lead in an action novel and movie who isn’t hyper-sexualized. At the same time, others have compared Katniss to Cinderella, claiming that she isn’t proactive and allows others to make decisions on her behalf.

Second, a lot of people debated the book’s stance on the environment. Some have said the books have a subtle, yet powerful message on environmental protection. Others have said that while this is true in the books, the movie did very little to portray this.

Third, PETA was unimpressed by the emphasis on killing animals. Apparently, when asked about the scenes in which she killed squirrels in the movie, actress Jennifer Lawrence said “I should say it wasn’t real, for PETA. But screw PETA.” To which PETA replied “[Jennifer Lawrence is] young and the plight of animals somehow hasn’t yet touched her heart.”

Fourth, a number of people spoke about how the film is a wakeup call, challenging society to critically consider the unchecked controls of our governments and capitalistic system.

So Ethical Ocean community – it’s up to you.

Should I read the Hunger Games? Will it be good for my moral development? If yes, should I read the books or watch the movie?

April 25, 2012