Amid the avalanche of Hunger Games news that's tumbling down the Hollywood Hills this week, one gender-defying gem sticks out: young huntresses from all over the wooded United States can relate to Katniss Everdeen.
An article that appeared this Friday on CNN's Eatocracy blog profiled young women who found a kindred hunting spirit in the protagonist of Suzanne Collins' dystopian YA trilogy. "When people hear that I hunt," said 15-year-old Mikayla Lewis of Bend, Oregon, "their first reaction is usually, ‘Huh? Not many girls your age can say that.'" Lewis, however, shrugs off such condescension because she grew up in a hunting family — game meat like deer and elk were staples at her dinner table. In Katniss, Lewis found a character that normalized — even glamorized, in so far as an endearing protagonist makes anything that he or she does well seem glamorous — her skill.
Similarly, 15-year-old Savannah Rogers from Georgia saw in Katniss "an independent woman" like her, whose hunting acuity gives her the means to be self-reliant, a virtue Rogers' mother instilled early on in her daughter. Even late-blooming hunters like 30-year-old Georgia Pellegrini, who apparently developed her blood lust after the head chef of the farm-to-table restaurant she was working at forced her to kill a wild turkey, identify with the peculiarity Katniss's hunting imbues her with. However, Pellegrini helpfully reminds us that, even though current gender stereotypes would have us all believe that prototypical hunter is a grisly dude who rubs deer crap between his fingers, pauses, and says something pithy like, "Three clicks, north," in classical mythology "the goddess of the hunt was Diana — not a man." Not technically a woman either because of the strict limits imposed by human mortality, but we're splitting hairs. Diana — or as the Greeks might call her "Artemis," a little fact I'm tacking on here because one can't always be sure when classical mythology is going to come up and it's better to take advantage of opportunities whenever they present themselves — was most definitely the goddess of the hunt in a more innocent age, an age when men like Actaeon were the hunting fuck-ups who got torn apart by their own dogs.