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Old 14th April 2012   #1
Join Date: July 2005
Posts: 1,784
Default Hunger Is No Game

The X-Men franchise has always been one of the most loathsome products of the Hollywood system, despite (or rather, because of) its undeniable entertainment value. The X-Men films use "mutants" as metaphorical stand-ins for any and every identity group that has been agitated, by Cultural-Marxist media propaganda, to seethe with resentment toward the traditional, natural structure of Western civilization.

The latest film in the series, X-Men: First Class (2011), was even more explicit than any of its predecessors about its underlying propagandistic political thrust, and yet it was the most watchable film in the franchise, owing to the director's clever decision to adopt the trappings of the better James Bond films from the 1960s. ("Mutants à la 007.") Even the title of the film signalled its construction as a work of shameless political triumphalism, the celebratory expression of a new master class that rejoices in its triumph over the old order, which it undermined and swept away.

The moral of the above comments? Propaganda can make for compelling entertainment. Whether the result is a benefit to society, though, or a toxin, depends on the values being propagandized. The builders of the great cathedrals of Europe were Christian propagandists, to be sure, but their works are among the noblest edifices that mankind has ever created and constitute a lasting boon to the world, sublime constructions whose edifying power will remain even after the last believer has died. The modern entertainment media, by contrast, is a cancer on humanity.

(Anyone who follows the fashion industry knows this very well. After all, Vogue is poison precisely because it is such effective thin-supremacist propaganda. Its politically based opponents, while well-meaning, fail not because their values are poorer, but because the quality of their propaganda is weaker.)

To get to the relevant point, anyone watching X-Men: First Class was surely struck by the uncommonly genuine beauty of actress Jennifer Lawrence, who played the mutant Mystique (portrayed by Rebecca Romijn in the original trilogy). Unlike nearly every ingénue who is permitted to have a Hollywood career, Miss Lawrence exhibits soft, full facial features, a traditionally lovely, feminine visage that would be worthy of a plus-size model:

With this in mind, it was a pleasure to learn that as part of the publicity for the blockbuster hit movie Hunger Games, the latest sensation among tweens and teens, Miss Lawrence (who plays the film's lead character) conducted an interview with Seventeen magazine in which she expressed some resoundingly size-positive statements.

Bravo to her for having a social conscience about her appearance, and for acknowledging the powerful influence that Hollywood images have on young women.

When I was playing Mystique in X-Men, I remember thinking, if I'm going to be naked in paint in front of the entire world, I'm going to look like a woman. I'm going to have curves and have boobs and have a butt. Because girls are going to look at that, and if I look like a scarecrow, they are going to think, Oh, that's normal. It's not normal.
The following quotation from Miss Lawrence is even better:

I’m just so sick of these young girls with diets. I remember when I was 13 and it was cool to pretend to have an eating disorder because there were rumours that Lindsay Lohan and Nicole Richie were anorexic. I thought it was crazy. I went home and told my mom, "Nobody’s eating bread -- I just had to finish everyone’s burgers." I think it's really important for girls to have people to look up to and feel good about themselves.
How wonderful to have an actress brazenly ridicule the media's starvation standards, and, better still, to have her openly acknowledge her enjoyment of hamburgers. Who knows how many young women might take their cue from Jennifer and actually eat whatever they like, instead of suffering from self-induced malnutrition.

One more line from Jennifer's interview deserves quoting:

You're an actor so people [think they] can tell you to change your body, but I'm not going to change who I am.
How one wishes that fashion models--especially plus-size fashion models--would adopt these words as a personal mantra.

As this image from Seventeen demonstrates, Jennifer is very slim, but she does exhibit an untoned softness in her physique which, like her rounded facial features, makes her quite unique among Hollywood starlets. The very thought of such a soft-featured, feminine girl eagerly enjoying hamburgers rather than depriving herself of food is supremely seductive.

Miss Lawrence has made other pro-curvy comments in the press:

"I’m totally normal. You see these 12 and 13 year olds ordering salads with dressing on the side and thinking they need to be on a diet,” she told UK Marie Claire. “I do want the stick-thin trend to end."
And in British Glamour:

"I didn't want to look like a little boy -- I wanted to look like a woman," Lawrence said. "Anyway, Katniss [her Hunger Games character] is meant to be a hunter. Kate Moss running at you with a bow and arrow isn’t scary."

The star further talked about never wanting to get too caught up in dieting.

She said, "If I wanted to get any skinnier, that would mean I would have to stop eating the Ranch Breakfast--and I would always choose the Ranch Breakfast over looking skinny."

Now, what in the world, one might ask, is this whole Hunger Games business about? At Taki's Magazine, film critic Steve Sailer's review offers a pithy and marvellously sarcastic encapsulation of the plot:

The Hunger Games addresses today’s most burning social issues: Would a reality-TV show that forces boys and girls to hunt down and slaughter each other with edged weapons be a good idea? Should America switch to a totalitarian dictatorship in which the decadent Capitol economically exploits the twelve starving Districts and annually demands two children from each as "tributes" to compete in "Hunger Games" where 23 of the 24 will die horribly?

When you stop to think about it, is televised child butchery actually a bad thing?

We are all entitled to our opinions on this complex subject, but I admire how this film comes down forthrightly on the Bad Idea side of the ledger.
Funny stuff. Not having seen the film ourselves, we will not venture an opinion as to whether Mr. Sailer's review accurately exposes the film's banality or glosses over whatever merits it might possess.

Of direct relevance to the topic of this forum, however, is the entertainment-press controversy du jour which burgeoned shortly after the release of the film: the fact that a number of movie critics, for once, put aside all pretense of civility and expressed their weight bigotry and curve-o-phobia for all the world to see.

The target of their bile was, of course, Miss Lawrence, whom these critics absurdly deemed insufficiently anorexic-looking to play the lead role in The Hunger Games.

A Fox news article noted some of the snarky criticisms of Jennifer's body:

"A few years ago Ms. Lawrence might have looked hungry enough to play Katniss… But now, her seductive, womanly figure makes a bad fit for a dystopian fantasy about a people starved into submission," wrote The New York Times.

The Hollywood Reporter similarly referenced her "lingering baby f**" as taking away from the movie’s realism, and she was labeled "too big" for Josh Hutcherson.
Only in the truly twisted minds of the modern media could the phrase, "seductive, womanly figure" be meant as an insult. The pathology of this thinking is astounding.

Fortunately, for once, the public has not allowed the degenerates who get paid to critique popular entertainment to spew their bile unopposed. The above article quotes some of the push-back:

"This criticism is absurd. She makes a point of being healthy and not too thin, and calling her f** is a great disservice to the healthy body image that she represents," John Sharp, M.D. leading psychiatrist and Harvard Medical School faculty member told FOX411. "As a society we are moving away from this too-thin ideal . . . It’s been too thin for too long."

Sarah Maria, body-image expert and author of Love Your Body, Love Your Life, echoed Sharp’s sentiments.

“This type of criticism is not just silly, it is damaging. To state that Jennifer Lawrence is in any way 'too f**,' when her fan base is comprised mostly of young girls, is downright destructive. It feeds the false and prevalent idea that women, especially young women, need to be emaciated in order to be successful."
Well said.

An ABC news article about the controversy includes the following justified condemnation of the film critics' pro-anorexia bodysnarking:

"These kind of messages are toxic," Kelly Brownell, a professor of psychology at Yale University, told "They pressure people, especially girls, to be at odds with their bodies and to fight against whatever natural weight they might have. They force into the public psyche an arbitrary and unrealistic ideal that is attainable by few and leaves a great many scars in its wake."
It is gratifying to see body-image experts slamming the curve-o-phobia of the popular press. Furthermore, it is encouraging to see the media reporting these condemnations--even if this results in a schizophrenic situation whereby the media is, self-interestedly, both the source of the poisonous remarks and the opposition to such remarks.

* * *

Now, having registered the concerns of medical professionals at the weight bigotry of these anorexia-pushing entertainment reporters, one must acknowledge an uncomfortable truth: that the real genesis of the problem, in this particular instance, is the source material itself.

A quick perusal of Susan Collins's The Hunger Games, the novel on which the movie is based, reveals that the author's attitude to women and weight--her moralistic preference for underweight girls, and her thinly disguised resentment of voluptuous vixens--mirrors that of Charlotte Brontë.

It's not just that Katniss, the lead character, is described as being physically "smaller" and "thin." This is typical of most female leads in young-adult fiction.

It's that her antagonist, named Glimmer, the most compelling and interesting individual in the book, is precisely the type of Georgiana Reed/Ginevra Fanshawe character with whom Brontë and so many female writers have been settling scores for the past two centuries, by having these characters get their comeuppance at the hands of author-stand-in Mary Sues, from Jane Eyre to Bella Swan to Katniss.

Here, for example, is Collins's description of Glimmer:

The girl tribute from District 1, looking provocative in a see-through gold gown, steps up the center of the stage to join Caesar for her interview. You can tell her mentor didn’t have any trouble coming up with an angle for her.

With that flowing blonde hair, emerald green eyes, her body tall and lush . . . she’s sexy all the way.
For heaven's sake, Collins even introduces this character by having her wear a de facto prom dress, as if it wasn't obvious enough that Glimmer is meant to embody the prom queen/head cheerleader type that so many mousy female authors resented in their high-school days, and whom they expect their readers to resent as well.

The tell-tale word in the above description is "lush," as a reference to Glimmer's body, in contrast to Katniss's "thin" frame.

Glimmer is part of a class known as "career tributes" in the book, and Collins goes on to state that

Career tributes are overly vicious, arrogant, better fed . . .
Further adopting stereotypical descriptions of gorgeous alpha blondes from high-school films, Glimmer is, of course, presented as a cheater:

They eliminated a ring from that District One girl, though. If you twisted the gemstone, a spike popped out. Poisoned one. She claimed she had no knowledge the ring transformed and there was no way to prove she did. But she lost her token.

And what, in the end, gives Katniss the edge over Glimmer and the other career tributes? You guessed it: her underweight frame:

Then something else registers. They’re bigger than I am, no doubt, but they’re also heavier. There’s a reason it’s me and not Gale who ventures up to pluck the highest fruit, or rob the most remote bird nests. I must weigh at least fifty or sixty pounds less than the smallest Career [tribute].
Assuming that Glimmer is meant to be "the smallest Career tribute," and that, being "small" and "thin," Katniss weighs, oh, 110 pounds, that would make the gorgeous Glimmer at least 160 or 170 pounds. Glimmer would indeed be a stunning beauty, nearly as curvy and full-figured as a plus-size model. How typical of modern slave-morality culture that such a character would be debased as an evil antagonist rather presented than a heroine.

Predictably, Glimmer's "lush" weight is employed to put her at a disadvantage. After Katniss escapes by scurrying up a tree:

The girl with the arrows, Glimmer I hear someone call her, scales the tree until the branches begin to crack under her feet and then has the good sense to stop. I’m at least eighty feet high now. She tries to shoot me and it’s immediately evident that she’s incompetent with a bow. One of the arrows gets lodged in the tree near me though and I’m able to seize it. I wave it teasingly above her head, as if this was the sole purpose of retrieving it, when actually I mean to use it if I ever get the chance. I could kill them, every one of them, if those silver weapons were in my hands.
The last sentence of the above passage indicates something that is infuriatingly characteristic of the thin, mousy, intelligent heroines who invariably prevail over gorgeous, vain blondes in so many Hollywood films: by their actions, these supposed victims show themselves to be the actual "mean girls" in their stories, often vicious, shrewd, and brutal, far more so than the prom princesses over whom they triumph--whose greatest sin is simply being more beautiful than the protagonists, and thus being more desirable.

Later in the story, Katniss comes upon the tribute camp:

By her position, leaning up against the trunk of the tree, I’d guess Glimmer was supposed to be on guard, but fatigue overcame her.
The implication is that Glimmer, compared to the so-called heroine of the story, is "out of shape." Yet far from making Glimmer less attractive, this detail, betokening a touch of luxurious indolence on Glimmer's part, actually makes her more sensually desirable.

Of course, Katniss is responsible for Glimmer's death, unleashing a horde of poisonous wasps ("tracker jackers") at the camp. The other tributes manage to escape, but the less athletic Glimmer cannot run fast enough to evade the wapss. And as if the author's resentment of Glimmer's beauty wasn't plain enough, in Glimmer's death, Collins specifically makes a point of depriving Glimmer of her looks, as if vandalizing a work of art:

The tracker jackers have vanished. This girl, so breathtakingly beautiful in her golden dress the night of the interviews, is unrecognizable. Her features eradicated, her limbs three times their normal size. The stinger lumps have begun to explode, spewing putrid green liquid around her . . .I try to roll over her body by pulling on one arm, but the flesh disintegrates in my hands and I fall back on the ground.
The author's moralism is writ as plainly as if she had printed the words in big, red crayon: Glimmer wanted to use poison . . . but got poisoned herself. ("Ooooh, the irony," the reader is supposed to react.) Yet a moment's further deliberation makes one realize the absurdity of the situation: Glimmer's intended use of poison is supposed to signal that she is a "bad" character, yet Katniss herself uses poison to kill her foes. The so-called morality of the tale is exposed as transparently self-serving opportunism, basically stating that when it comes to any morally questionable action, "It's 'bad' if a character type whom the author resents does it, but it's 'good' if a character type whom the author and her intended readers identify with does it."

As we stated before, the real "mean girls" in the books and films that depict gorgeous, full-figured blondes getting their comeuppance at the hands of underweight, mousy, shrewd brunettes are the supposed protagonists, whereas the supposed alpha blondes are the true underdogs in these tales, whose defeats are predictably predetermined.

* * *

With all that in mind, one could well say that the director of the film adaptation of The Hunger Games did something very responsible in casting Jennifer Lawrence for the role of Katniss. By selecting an actress who is slim, but not aggressively underweight, he undid some of the damage that the film would otherwise have done to its young fans' body image, if it had cast an actress as androgynously emaciated as the story intended. One might even go so far as to say that the director subverted the thin-supremacism which the book not-so-subtly transmits. And for that, he deserves to be applauded.

In Glimmer, however, we are a little less fortunate. Granted, in some ways, Leven Rambin, the actress cast in the role, fits the type quite well.

She is certainly beautiful, exhibiting aristocratic features, yet suggesting touches of vulnerability, which is the essence of the character.

She clearly exudes a WASP identity, which conforms perfectly with the undeclared war that Hollywood has been waging, ever since its inception, on every form of Germanic ancestry.

She even exhibits a degree of curviness, at least by Hollywood's emaciated standards, as her appearance in this stunning gown at the Hunger Games premiere indicates.

But it would be a stretch to call her "lush," let alone claim that she is heavy enough to have tree branches break under her weight. And she is nowhere near the 170+ pounds that the text ascribes to Glimmer.

The role would have been absolutely perfect for a plus-size model.

* * *

To sum up, whatever one thinks of the Hunger Games storyline, we applaud the film for departing from the text's underlying thin-supremacism, and for casting in its lead role an actress whose figure is not malnourished, in the manner of so many Hollywood waifs, and who furthermore expresses a remarkably pro-curvy perspective in her interviews and press.

Bravo to Jennifer Lawrence. Let us hope that she never backtracks on her size-positive statements.

And furthermore, let us hope that someday, when a storyline calls for a "lush" goddess with "flowing blonde hair, emerald green eyes," and who is described as "sexy all the way," and weighs over 170 pounds, plus-size models aplenty will be allowed to read for the part, and that when they do, Hollywood will cast one of them in the role.

Last edited by HSG : 15th April 2012 at 13:24.
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