On Nov. 21, the world of Katniss Everdeen and Peeta Mellark will return in the third movie of the Hunger Games franchise “The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1.” This brings everyone’s favorite female protagonist back into the spotlight, and the entertaining and lovable role model back to the red carpet — Jennifer Lawrence.
Lawrence exploded into stardom after playing braided and fearless Katniss Everdeen, one of the most relatable and likeable characters as well as one of the first famous female protagonists in a worldwide franchise.
She went on to quickly star in more serious films such as “Silver Linings Playbook,” and to win the most prestigious award an actress can achieve: the Academy Award for Best Actress. Not to mention, she adorably tripped on her way up onto the stage for her acceptance speech, instantly winning over the few people in the nationwide audience who were undecided about whether they liked her or loved her.
Lawrence has built up one of the healthiest and most respectable actress personas in all of
Hollywood, including her recent nude photo “scandal,” which she and many others more appropriately acknowledged as a sex crime. She handled this probably devastating media blunder with the utmost maturity and discretion, setting an example for celebrities who experience this sort of thing in the future.
In addition to her role in the Hunger Games, Lawrence is a healthy role model for women all over the world. Her goofy personality shows women that being respected does not go hand in hand with being well-mannered, and that women are entitled to as much attention and space as their male counterparts.
Her body has also been scrutinized by the media extensively, for seemingly no reason, but she remains steadfast in her approach to body image. She has been quoted saying “I’m never going to starve myself for a part… I don’t want little girls to be like ‘Oh I want to look like Katniss so I’m going to skip dinner.’”
However, do all these aspects of her persona make it easier for women or more difficult? Is she raising the standard of what a woman needs to be in order to be successful? You need to be talented and thus respectable but still remain relaxed and goofy? Not perfectly skinny but still gorgeous without looking like you’re trying? When Lawrence was cast as the role of Everdeen, the makers of the movie described that they were looking for someone who could look strong but beautiful at the same time, scary but not unflatteringly intimidating. Do these requirements add to the laundry list of what a woman should be if she wants to be a “Katniss” of the world? Or does it portray a positive image of strength and empowerment?
These questions are ones that can be raised about many female protagonists of today’s media landscape, and ones for which there are no definite right answers. Female role models are currently not held to the same standard as male role models, as the discrepancies between what one has to be in order to be a successful man or woman creates a difference.The only thing one can do is look beyond the woman’s physical attributes that may or may not have contributed to her success, but most likely did, and look at what they stand for. If you find common ground amongst those values, then you’ve found yourself someone worth paying attention to. Lawrence can be this person for us all