Katniss seems to get a lot of flak from readers about how she reacted to the hijacked Peeta by keeping her distance and focusing on her own hurt when it was something he couldn't help. But how different is it than the way Peeta treated Katniss when they returned from the first Hunger Games?
To your first statement, I think readers were harder on Katniss than they were with Peeta because of the narrative itself. In Mockingjay, we were privy to the entire long process of Katniss being hurt and thinking about herself before she finally realized that she should not be blaming Peeta but instead should be helping him.
In Catching Fire however, we didn’t get to see that process with Peeta. Next time we meet him, he was done with his wound licking for six months and already got the lecture from Haymitch on how stupid he was being for holding Katniss accountable for what she said in the games. When we meet him again, he was already at stage where he was ready to make amends and befriend Katniss.
So because of the way the narrative is presented to the readers, I do understand how readers gave Katniss a harder time than Peeta. I mean, I know I did, if you’ve seen my very first review of Mockingjay, “piece of work” doesn’t even begin to describe how I felt about her actions toward Peeta. But when I reread MJ, I found myself having stronger reactions than Katniss had and wondered why she wasn’t freaking out more.
And yes, ngl, our wish fulfillment re: how we expect our heroines vs heroes to traditionally act also comes into play. We normally tend to be harder on our heroines than with our heroes. We obviously still have a lot of work to do when it comes to changing that, but I also do think that the series have helped some in at least starting the dialogue on challenging traditional heroine tropes.
To your question however, i still can’t help but think there’s a little bit of false equivalency in making that parallel, since their situations after 74th games and after the quell are plenty different, stakes are a lot higher, and things are much more complicated.