Question/Subject: Write about "Gender Relations and Romance in The Hunger Games" (women’s capabilities and potential, taking on traditional male tasks, subversion of traditional gender roles, gender transgression, etc.). Make sure to include the lecture by Dr. Raley and Chapter 11 from Pfarr & Clark in your reflection.
Katniss is quite an interesting character from the viewpoint of modern gender roles. It's quite easy to see that she turns the gender roles on their head with every time that she saves Peeta from certain death or shoots a rabbit to provide for her family. These types of actions are usually reserved for the male leads in stories such as this, those that tend to speak little and use their actions. Katniss, however, performs all of these male roles without sacrificing what makes her a woman. For instance, she is still tender and kind, albeit rather awkwardly at times, when she takes care of Peeta or her sister. Also, she is quick to perform matronly duties such as protecting Rue. This would provide basis for a genderless role of sorts within The Hunger Games. She manages to be all the gender roles and at the same time, none of them. This leads to interesting interactions with the other characters, all of whom perform differently than would traditionally have been expected.
For instance, Peeta is much more of a "woman" than Katniss, constantly getting himself into danger or making a stupid decision that requires him to be rescued. This has resulted in considerably negative feedback from the male population that watch the movies or read the books. Where as it could be hypothesized that women don't tend to resent a woman performing these roles, men seem to rebel against Peeta's character because it makes them uncomfortable to see a male robbed of his masculinity.
Also, there is Gale who is more masculine than Peeta, but also seems to lack certain male traits as well. He is overly preoccupied with Katniss, in an almost Bella-like way that characterizes him throughout the plot. He is almost never seen outside his role of love struck boy next door or testosterone driven strategist, which is an interesting dichotomy in itself. He isn't Peeta, who clearly fulfills the "damsel in distress" role, but he isn't a male lead either or a sidekick. He's more of an underdeveloped character that exists and is decidedly average, which is not what most viewers would expect. He's flawed. He's handsome but violent, intelligent but overly stubborn. He's too human to fit into a traditional male role and thus is difficult to deal with.