“I Love Romance!” Adolescent Girls Critique the Depiction of Love and Romance in The Hunger Games
In this qualitative study, nine adolescent girls between the ages of eleven and fourteen (M=12) reacted to how romance is depicted in The Hunger Games book and film series. Although some researchers have found the series ending disappointing, arguing that it reinforces post-feminist, repronormative and heteronormative ideas, most of the participants in this study felt that the inclusion of romance was appropriate for protagonist Katniss Everdeen, stating that this did not take away from what they saw as the “girl power” message of the series. Study participants believed that authors write heterosexual romance as a way of appealing to adolescent girl readers; several girls, however, expressed their desire to see this change. Furthermore, study participants provided alternative endings to the series that did not always include heterosexual romance or marriage for Katniss, thereby providing a nuanced critique of heteronormativity and gender roles in the series.