The MTV Awards raised the Internet's hackles last week by snubbing The Hunger Games' Katniss Everdeen from its Best Hero category. Sure, the awards are "little more than a corporate-sponsored advertisement for youth-targeted marketing," per critic Sarah Marrs' apt assessment. But it's still noteworthy that among MTV's 16 categories, the only other group without any female nominees is Best Male Performance.
Katniss' exclusion, then, doesn't make sense from either a commercial point of view -- The Hunger Games was the highest-grossing film of 2013 -- or from a J. Law one, since the Oscar winner is nominated in four other categories -- or a full quarter of all the available categories. For the record, Lawrence received nods for Best Female Performance (The Hunger Games: Catching Fire), Best Kiss (American Hustle), Best Fight (The Hunger Games: Catching Fire), and Best Musical Moment (American Hustle).
The character of Katniss is enough of a cultural touchstone that she appeared in one of the "Heroes" montages at this year's Oscars, so MTV definitely done goofed. No surprise, then, that an online petition demanding Katniss' inclusion in the Heroes section has garnered over 17,000 signatures. Here's petition creator Sophie Azran's argument:
Young women already have too few female heroes represented in film and television. We're constantly shown by the entertainment industry that men are brave, powerful, or successful, while women are often given supporting roles and weak characters.
I loved The Hunger Games, not just because it was a thrilling story, but because I admired the courage, intelligence, and persistence of Katniss Everdeen. Teen girls and young women everywhere need to see that courageous, principled women can be rewarded just like men.
The MTV Movie Awards are widely watched by a young adult audience. It's appalling to me that the event's producers are ignoring this female hero, especially since this film beat out all the others at the box office. But unlike the Oscars, the MTV Movie awards encourages public involvement, allowing the public to vote on winners. If enough of us ask for Katniss to be added, I'm confident that MTV will listen. Sign this petition before April 13 to demand that MTV add Katniss Everdeen to the "Best Hero" category.
You can join the cause here.