Katniss is a brave, petite hunter who gets dirty, saves her family with the help of her wits and simple desperation, and then gets thrown into an arena of death for televised entertainment in a dystopian society where children fight like gladiators. Then she’s used as a rebel symbol, here entire existence televised for the entire country to see—all before she’s even old enough to buy a pack of smokes.
And Barbie, well, she doesn’t do anything, except try to not fall over due to her painfully exaggerated figure and unnatural underweight stature. She definitely couldn’t shoot an arrow, let alone lead a rebellion. She wouldn’t even be able to walk if she were real; she’d have to crawl due to her proportions.
Yet Mattel has announced that they are making a Katniss Barbie, thoroughly doing this new symbol of female empowerment and strength a disservice. Suzanne Collins, if you have any say in this at all, I beg you to stop them; surely there is another company who could make a more accurate and girl-friendly Katniss doll?
Aside from the ludicrousness of the entire idea, there’s also the fact that the toy is designed for ages 6 and up—when the film is actually PG-13 and the book is something that most parents wouldn’t be comfortable with their tweens reading (well, that’s not true, I suppose; many have let them read that Twilight gibberish, which promotes plenty of nonconsensual sexual behavior, domestic abuse, stalking, and other violence against women; I suppose I mean that it’s simply not appropriate for tweens or young children). How, exactly, are you going to explain the arena and the gruesome deaths involved to a six-year-old? I suppose it’s like the Barbie from The Birds; you just give it to them without a story, thinking that it’s simply not important. “Darling, she just talks to the birdies, like Diego!”
As big of a Hunger Games fan as I am, this is one purchase that I definitely won’t be making—and I am sure that most fans who recognize what Katniss is really about won’t, either, since it’s pretty much the opposite of Barbie.