“Female Masculinity” in Dystopian Adolescent Fiction – Suzanne Collins’ Hunger Games Series
Keywords:Judith Masculinity, Female Masculinity Halberstam, Hunger Games, subversion
AbstractIn this paper, I seek to analyse the concept of ‘female masculinity’ by studying Suzanne Collins’ Hunger Games series. Pro-feminist Masculinity theorists like R.W. Connell and Michael Kimmel regard masculinity as not an ‘essence’ that manifests itself in ‘true’ males but as a ‘practice’ that is held as quintessential to all males and hence often aggressively pursued by males in order to maintain their superior position to women and to other marginalized males. The ‘practice of masculinity’ thus often rewards the males with positions of authority and power. (Connell, Gender and power: Society, the person, and sexual politics, 1987). If gender is exclusive of sex, it follows that female sex is capable of practising masculine gender. Judith Halberstam advocates this possibility of female masculinity in her work by the same name. (Halberstam, 1998). She claims that female masculinity is not an imitation of male masculinity but a “glimpse of how masculinity is constructed as masculinity” (Halberstam, 1998, p. 1). She regards female masculinity to be superior to that of male masculinity as it is not depended on the process of ‘othering’ women. Hunger Games series which gained much popularity among adolescents and adults alike and has been lauded as an exemplary work of female freedom has also got major female characters performing acts normally associated with masculinity. This study scrutinizes whether the actions of these female characters in the series superimpose or subvert masculinity.
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