One of the most interesting things about the Hunger Games books is that despite Panem society being oppressive in literally any other regard, gender doesn’t really seem to… exist, per se.
Katniss spends the majority of the book engaging in male-coded activities, and she doesn’t really care much about her appearance, but this isn’t attributed to her being a “tomboy”. It’s a matter of social upbringing and personal preference.
On the other hand, Peeta spends the bulk of the trilogy engaging in female-coded activities such as baking, using disguises, emotionally manipulating the Capitol people, etc. Like Katniss’ case, this isn’t treated as an unusual thing. The gendered aspect of these activities is never brought up.
Even the love triangle wasn’t really about “tough guy Gale vs sensitive Peeta”. It was about Katniss choosing between the option that ties her to her old pre-Games life, and the option that drives her further into the Capitol’s games.
Same applies to Cinna. He’s a fashion designer but the gendered aspects of the profession are never brought up once in the series. Finnick, too, has shades of subversion of gender. Same goes for Johanna.
Capitol society in particular seems to not really gender-code their clothes much, aside from the basic “dresses are generally for girls”. Males and females dress in similarly extravagant clothing sharing the same color schemes.
Yet it’s all done so subtly that the reader barely notices the subversion of gender, precisely because it’s not brought up.
Either this says something about Collins specifically trying to write a book where gender didn’t factor as much in the story, or it’s a statement about Capitol society being more complex than it seems at first analysis.
First, these three books were amazingly well written, and I loved them.
These books should have been titled “Katniss Everdeen ends a couple of tyrants while a completely useless asshole and a somewhere less useless jerk pout because she won’t fuck either of them.”
Peeta is far more likable in the books, but there are several places where he comes off as a jerk. Like, dude, Katniss saved your freaking life at least twice, and you’re going to give her shit because she didn’t fall in love with you while she was doing it? That said, he gets better in book two and book three.
Gale Hawthorne is a total and complete asshole. Like, dude, your unrequited feelings are your fucking problem, and punishing Katniss for doing what it takes to survive is bullshit. You are the embodiment of the word Fuckboy, and I spent most of book three hating the fact that I knew you didn’t die in the end.
Finnick Odair did nothing wrong in his entire like, and I love him. I knew it was coming, and I was still miserable when he died.
Poor, poor Johanna. I am really, terribly sad that we never found out what happened to her after Katniss shot Coin. I kind of wanted her to show up in District Twelve and for her and Katniss to turn into crazy old cat ladies together.
I loved the fact that the traumas these people have been through actually affected them. I loved the bit with Finnick, Katniss and Peeta tying knots. I loved “Real or not real”. I loved the scene where Johanna is sitting there considering becoming a morphling addict. I love that there’s no magic cure for Haymitch’s drinking problem, and at the end of the story, he’s still an alcoholic, and Peeta still has flashbacks, and Katniss still has nightmares and depression.
I loved these books, but man, I wanted to punch pretty much everyone in the face at some point for the way they treated Katniss, with the notable exceptions of Johanna, Finnick, Paylor, Castor and Pollux, Cenna, Rue, Greasy Sae, Prim Mags, and Wiress.
consider: post-mockingjay, annie and finnick’s son has a “bring your dad” day coming up at school. since his biological father passed away before he was born, he asks johanna to go with him to school on that day. johanna, who’s spent a lot of time in district four helping raise annie’s son, is absolutely moved and honored, and she gladly agrees to go as his dad.