Why Isn’t Katniss Everdeen Nominated in the MTV Best Hero Category? A reflection on the role of women in the movies
Look, no one is expecting the Oscars when it comes to the MTV Movie Awards. And in the history of MTV it is no secret that it is often unkind to women, at least it reflects the world’s often unkindness towards women. In fact, in the music world more than anywhere you can often see the sexualization and objectification of women more clearly. I mean, that’s why almost all female pop music stars (and female back up dancers) are overly sexualized while the men get to keep their clothes on while they sing. Seriously, rewatch this past year’s Grammys and note how many men sang completely clothed – often in suits – and how many women sang in some form of bra/panty swimsuit looking get up. Yes, you may argue it was their choice, but how much of that choice is being put upon them by our cultural expectations and influence and how much of it is a genuine expression of who they are? It’s an interesting question that I ponder a lot.
So the MTV Movie Award nominations shouldn’t surprise me, but they do disappoint me.
Let’s look for a moment at the Best Hero nominees:
• Henry Cavill as Clark Kent — “Man of Steel”
• Robert Downey Jr. as Iron Man — “Iron Man 3”
• Martin Freeman as Bilbo Baggins — “The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug”
• Chris Hemsworth as Thor — “Thor: The Dark World”
• Channing Tatum as John Cale — “White House Down”
|Read more about the reaction to Katniss’ exclusion at The Wrap|
A woman did, at least, get nominated in the best villain category:
• Barkhad Abdi — “Captain Phillips”
• Benedict Cumberbatch — “Star Trek into Darkness”
• Michael Fassbender — “12 Years a Slave”
• Mila Kunis — “Oz The Great and Powerful”
• Donald Sutherland — “The Hunger Games: Catching Fire”
You know who I think is missing? Rinku Kikuchi playing the witch in 49 Ronin. Although it is possible that I am the only person on Earth who saw this movie and thus knows that she was an awesome villain. What can I say, I am a dedicated Keanu Reeves fan.
But don’t worry, a woman did get nominated in the best shirtless category. That woman would be Jennifer Aniston. Of course society does view a shirtless woman quite differently than a shirtless man, just ask any of the number of women who are trying to breastfeed their babies in public and are asked to cover up.
• Jennifer Aniston — “We’re the Millers”
• Sam Claflin — “The Hunger Games: Catching Fire”
• Leonardo DiCaprio — “The Wolf of Wall Street”
• Zac Efron — “That Awkward Moment”
• Chris Hemsworth — “Thor: The Dark World”
And one woman is nominated in the best on-screen transformation category.
• Christian Bale — “American Hustle”
• Elizabeth Banks — “The Hunger Games: Catching Fire”
• Orlando Bloom — “The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug”
• Jared Leto — “Dallas Buyers Club”
• Matthew McConaughey — “Dallas Buyers Club”
In fact, if it is not a category designed specifically FOR women – say best actress – it appears to be a 1 woman to 4 nomination ratio, with a few exceptions in the best cameo and best scared as shit performance. Make of that what you will.
It’s no secret that like most industries, Hollywood is still dominated disproportionately by men. Did you know that Frozen is the first animated Disney movie to be directed by a woman? Actually, although women make up around roughly 50% of the population, there are very few female movie directors. Only 4 women have ever been nominated for a best director Oscar in 84 years. There are very few female led or mostly female movies. And there is only 1 female Avenger in the movie and she has absolutely zero super powers.
I have a friend who was recently watching The Ghostbusters with her two daughters and the oldest one asked, “How come there are no girl Ghostbusters?” What’s sad is that as a kid, I never thought to ask that. We have been conditioned to accept that the girl will of course be the lobby receptionist while the boys are the scientists who develop the equipment and go out hunting for ghosts. Maybe that’s why many people think it is okay to overlook Katniss Everdeen in the hero category, despite the fact that The Hunger Games: Catching Fire was a huge box office success and Katniss kind of rocks.
Also, I’m totally serious about the dedicated Keanu Reeves fan. I recently commented to my husband that we had been together over 20 years and his response was, “That’s a lot of bad Keanu Reeves movies I have seen out of love for you.” Thanks honey!
About Karen Jensen, MLS
Karen Jensen has been a Teen Services Librarian for almost 30 years. She created TLT in 2011 and is the co-editor of The Whole Library Handbook: Teen Services with Heather Booth (ALA Editions, 2014).
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