Olive skinned is a broad term: it can describe the skin color of a range of people, from the Mediterranean and some other parts of Europe, to the Middle East, to regions of South Asia, Southeast Asia, Central Asia, and Latin America. The playing field for Katniss was so broad, but what do the casting directors and directors decide to do? Choose to tan up a white woman and actively exclude anyone who doesn’t fit into the white actresses category.
…This is not about Jennifer Lawrence’s acting abilities at all. She’s a fantastic actress and did a wonderful job. What it is about is the sad fact that the casting pool was so narrowed and discriminatory. Whitewashing is a really dangerous thing that occurs not only in Hollywood, but in every form of media. White people do NOT have to worry about seeing themselves represented in the media, it’s commonplace. But what about the fact that many children always see people who don’t look like them? That isn’t fair and it isn’t right.
President Snow picks up on this tool, and he lets Katniss know that the act must continue. The spark of rebellion she showed in the arena has caught in other places, and he lets her know that if she does not contain it, the consequences will be dire; it as a result of this threat that Katniss is forced into an engagement with Peeta. The metaphor cannot be missed: Women’s strength is, in the right situations, an enormous threat to the existing authority. Oppression cannot hold if women come into their own power, and therefore men demand – either for women’s “protection,” or for the sake of holding on to that power – that we dress up in demure outfits, twirl in our gorgeous dresses, and mask our power behind a silly smile.
And, indeed, a Fox health blogger is absolutely terrified that reading and watching The Hunger Games will make “females” more likely to “be further distanced from their traditional feminine characteristics that … suggested they were not being ‘real girls’ if they were extremely physically violent.” Thanks for proving the thesis, middle-aged white man. Strong women, confident in their own abilities, who don’t adhere to “traditional feminine characteristics,” are a threat to the existing power structure, and must be reminded that our job is to appease that structure. The threat of an un-sexualized, self-confident woman is every bit as powerful in our own society as Katniss is to hers.