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Category: Art and Entertainment

Katniss vs Bella–Is That What We Get?

| March 14, 2012


As I was walking through the gym last night my eye caught a headline on one of the evening entertainment tabloid magazines, The Insider which said in big letters–TWILIGHT vs. THE HUNGER GAMES and KATNISS vs. BELLA. I guess I shouldn't be surprised that the media was pitting these two movies against each other. 

But I was caught off guard because I don't remember films starring men that are quite frankly very different and opened months apart being compared to each other.  With The Hunger Games this is the first time we will see a young woman on screen as the center of action in a film that has the potential to open in the range of the boy blockbusters. (Estimates have it opening between 70-100 million dollars which for a non-holiday spring weekend will be huge.) It's not that we haven't seen women onscreen as the center of the story before.  Jennifer Lawrence the actress who plays Katniss was actually nominated for an Academy Award playing a strong young woman in the indie film Winter's Bone (side note- please make sure to see this beautiful movie)

But a big blockbuster that has franchise written all over it?  No way.

Anyone who is familiar with either The Twilight or The Hunger Games sagas knows that comparing these two characters makes no sense. They are just so different. Twilight for those who have been under a rock for the last several years is a vampire romance which has minimal action. But Bella–who is at the center of the story–is a passive character and spends the whole length of the films waiting to marry her vampire boyfriend. 

Katniss is different. From the moment we see her (in the book and trailers–I won't see the film until early next week) she is active. She literally has to fight for her life. That's what the movie is about.

Maybe that's part of the issue. The fact that Katniss is so different. A lack of context by the folks in Hollywood to know how to describe this film. So they do what they always do when it comes to women–turn it into a cat fight. 

That's why we need to see more films with active strong women at the center. Hopefully when there are more than ten of these types of films no one will be able to easily turn them into a cat fight.

Melissa Silverstein was part of the team that launched the Women's Media Center. She provides periodic commentary on Women, Media, and Pop Culture to the Women's Media Center. She is also the founder and editor of Women and Hollywood (  and the co-founder and Artistic Director of the Athena Film Festival. (