When did Peeta become this god in the fandom tho? Like everyone's like: Katniss is crazy and dosn't deserve him, Gale's manipulative, calling Gale a hero is the literal worst thing you could do, Gale and Katniss were never friends Gale just stole the food she hunted and ate it all by himself because he is selfish evil monster who hates children and eats babies. But like, a person can make post saying that Peeta might be self-rightuous and people will come out saying your a horrible person
Okay anon, i’m gonna level with you here, the THG fandom is huge and I can’t claim to know every corner of it, but I’ve been with the fandom on tumblr for almost three years now, and a lot of what you said is an exaggeration of the fandom or what really goes on in it, at least from my perspective.
Peeta is one of the most popular characters in the fandom. We LOVE him, there’s no denying that. And as with any fandom favorite, you’ll be hit with Peeta spirals and fangirling pretty much everyday. I don’t see it any different from other fandoms losing their shits on a daily basis for their most beloved characters.
I think the fandom is also very self-aware with how much Peeta gets over-idealized, but this version of idealized!Peeta largely exists in fanon and fanfic territories. Not saying that it doesn’t also come up in canon meta of him sometimes, but like I said, fangirling for a popular character in a fandom is never in moderation. So if he is not particularly your cup of tea or think he gets too much attention in the fandom, I’m sorry to be blunt but you’re just shit out of luck. Fangirling over Peeta is a huge part of being in this fandom and that’s not going to stop or simmer down for as long as the fandom is active.
Katniss and Peeta are a package deal for most, they’re EVERLARK, the OTP to end all OTPs, so pretty much the same stans defending Peeta are the same ones who will also defend Katniss at all costs, so you’ll get very few, if at all, that will say Katniss doesn’t deserve Peeta. However, it cannot be denied that the fandom do recognize Katniss’ flaws easier than it would of Peeta’s. There’s also an element of “Katniss doesn’t deserve Peeta” in varying degrees that exists in some fanfics. I think that’s because A.) Katniss IS a flawed character as she was presented to us in the books, and B.) as readers we are still trying to outgrow and let go the high expectations that we place on female characters, and Katniss is one of those that people project their personal expectations on the most and hate her for not conforming to them every single time.
Nonetheless, I think fandoms in general, not just THG, have gotten better with allowing female characters to be characters like male characters can, but I think we also still struggle with determining what is legit criticisms in the author’s writing of a female character against what is giving a canonically flawed female character a woobified/mary sue interpretation, or the other end of that spectrum, criticizing her unfairly for not being a Strong Female Character TM.
All that said, find me a hardcore Peeta stan that will say Katniss doesn’t deserve to be with him coz she’s crazy or flawed and I can give you 100 other Peeta stans that will defend Katniss and prove why Peeta and Katniss are meant to be together in canon.
When it comes to Gale, there are high chances that those who like Peeta are indifferent to and even dislike Gale. However, those who do like BOTH are not as uncommon in the fandom as you would think. But overall, Gale is not going to get the same level of attention in the fandom as Peeta, he just wouldn’t, the same way most secondary characters in THG don’t get the same level of attention that Peeta and Katniss recieve.
A big fallacy in the fandom is also everlark shippers and Peeta stans hate Gale primarily coz of the love triangle. That’s not entirely true either. Yes you’ll get fans talking about why Katniss would chose Peeta over Gale, but if Peeta didn’t exist in the series, us who don’t like Gale would still not like him as his own character. But that said, many everlark shippers also do like Gale.
The posts that I see such as “the thg fandom thinks Gale just woke up one morning and decided to kill children and Prim” and all those things you said above, those actually come from Gale stans themselves complaining about the fandom for not liking Gale like they do. That’s the goggles they see the fandom from. They’ll see a post about Gale they don’t like and they take it to a whole different level. For example, if there’s a post questioning the “rebel hero” title on Gale, instead of engaging in discussion or giving a coherent counter-argument, in my experience most of them will just go “OMG THE FANDOM THINKS GALE IS A FUCKING TERRORIST!!!!!!” Or it’s pointed out that Gale said something wrong, they’ll automatically go “STOP MAKING GALE THE VILLIAN!!!” Like, no.
And I’m not saying criticisms made of Gale has always been polite. I am no stranger to being harsh on Gale, and I try to be conscientious of that, but imo there are some aspects about his character that can’t be simply downplayed just to be polite.
Between Peeta and Gale, Gale is the more morally flawed character. Period. They are not simply each other’s foil or opposites of each other (some will actually reject that interpretation of these two characters), and while morality can be relative, Gale presented more questionable behavior and red flags than Peeta ever did in the series.
So while Peeta is overidealized and worshipped in this fandom, you also have to dig very deep and frankly grasp straws to tear him apart. The Peeta is manipulative and abusive narrative is an example of that, and have been proven to be a false argument time and time again.
Now, the Peeta Mellark Defense Squad do go overboard sometimes. There are moments where the point was already made and the negative post on Peeta is already fact-checked and proven wrong ten times over, but we still keep piling on. However, in the defense of PMDS, we have gotten better with ignoring troll posts who are really just out to agitate Peeta stans. Like in the past few weeks, I’ve seen some disparaging posts on Peeta, and we all just somehow collectively decide to ignore them, or if someone do respond in behalf of PMDS, the piling on just never happens afterwards. Maybe it’s also because the false accusations are old arguments that were already beaten to death in the past, so we just don’t feel like rehashing them anymore and are bored with them.
My point is, if you want to criticize Peeta, or Katniss for that matter, just be prepared to back your argument up with canon facts and not with fanon or with quotes taken out of context. If you do that, there’s no reason why you should be afraid to post or say anything that can be construed as as negative criticism of Peeta. Like I don’t hesitate to criticize Gale not because I feel like I hold a popular opinion, I don’t hesitate coz anything I put out there I am confident I can back up with canon and stand by my posts (and i’m really okay with people calling me out if i’m wrong).
So if you think Peeta can be self-righteous, just be prepared to say exactly why, and probably not just because Haymitch and Katniss called him that once. It’s like the manipulative narrative on Peeta, Katniss mentions how he can manipulate words to sway the Capitol audience in his and Katniss’ favor, that gets interpreted as Peeta is a manipulative person in every way and all his actions gets interpreted as such. That’s a stretch. Every tribute was trying to sway the Capitol audience in their favor, Peeta just happens to be better at it than them.
And that seems to be a pattern in most criticisms of Peeta on tumblr, they are just simply too eager to paint him negatively and also put complete disregard on what was written in the books or how his character canonically developed throughout the series. That’s how the Peeta Mellark Defense Squad came to be in the first place. But while Gale may not be as popular as Peeta, there’s no shortage of people who love him either. There are people who will stand by Gale no matter how much he is criticized. And that’s just the way of fandom life.