Katniss vs Bella: Why Must We Compare?


Written by Melissa Silverstein

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.

This post was originally published by the Women’s Media Center.


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Photo from life serial via flickr


Brad H.
Brad Harada4 years ago

No spoilers here - but IMO, the BLR version of "The Hunger Games" was better than "Twilight"!



Winn Adams
Winn A4 years ago


Jennifer Walsh
Jennifer Walsh5 years ago


colleen p.
colleen p5 years ago

what a wonderful day in a future, when there will be no more weeping women, girly girls and damsels in distress.

that it will be criminal to write a character that behaves in such a backwards, dark-ages style way.

BRB going to find some females that do seem to ooze stereotype and harass them by asking what mental defect they have because they only seek a boyfriend and family.

what is wrong with those "women"? god, they should be wanting to be some Overlord of something.

Jez wildmoon
jayne TURNER5 years ago

While I deplore Twilight - it's necrophilia even if the corpse is nice looking! And the Hunger Games - ooh looky, women beating up guys. Strong female leads don't need to resort to violence, they are not surrogate men.

Debbie L.
Debbie Lim5 years ago

Bella vs Katniss? Bella wouldn't stand a chance... I can't wait to watch the Hunger Games!!

colleen p.
colleen p5 years ago

i know in grammer you put titles in quotations. but my phrases are in quotes, as to quote others.

go to TV tropes. the'll have what you want. about these characters.

colleen p.
colleen p5 years ago

isn't Twilight more of a "romance, fantasy" than what type The Hunger games is? I did not read both, but read a blurb in the paper. There is still a love triangle going on, but "every story needs that".

Megan V.
Megan V5 years ago

I don't think that every book HAS to have a kick@ss female. I'm a feminist, I find Katniss inspiring, and I also love Bella. I hate when we all argue about 'weak' females in books versus 'strong' females.

Laura D.
Laura D5 years ago

Why not compare Hunger Games to Battle Royale? At least they have similar plots. I have not read the former book, but the first time I heard of it a few months ago, I thought, "Isn't that the exact same plot as Battle Royale?" High Schoolers pitted against one another in a fight to the death.