Reimagining Masculinity: Why I Hope my Brother Grows Up to be Like Peeta

I would like to start of by saying that I love Katniss Everdeen. She’s strong, rash, willful, an all-around badass leading lady (Can I even use the word lady to describe her?). But the character I’m happiest to see on screen is Peeta. Yes folks, I’m Team Peeta and proud of it.

too true

too true

Here’s how I find most Peeta vs. Gale debates go:

Team Gale: “Peeta is a pathetic loser who always needs Katniss to save him.”

Team Peeta: “What?!! Peeta’s wicked strong, and can throw a hundred-pound sack of flour over his head, so HA!”

 

Though Team Peeta isn’t necessarily wrong, I think the more compelling rebuttal might be, “So what?” Who cares that Peeta isn’t a well-oil killing machine like his girlfriend? How often do you battle to the death anyway? And besides that, Peeta Mellark is the perfect househusband. He’s thoughtful, loyal, patient, and an incredible cook. What’s not to love? And considering that Katniss is more than capable of protecting herself, why should she care about finding a big strong man to defend her honor?

Ever wonder why Buffy always falls for the freaky vampires instead of her nice best friend Xander?

Ever wonder why Buffy always falls for the freaky vampires instead of her nice friend Xander?

Every time someone mocks Peeta for being weak, I’m reminded of how limited boys really are. How sad is it that we can’t consider a male character attractive if he’s not as physically strong as his leading lady? This not only perpetuates male dominance, but it also discredits Peeta’s traditionally feminine virtues as lesser. Katniss can be masculine and still sexy; apparently Peeta can’t do the same

We need more Peetas out there. Plenty of sensitive guys exist in the world; it’s about time we see more of them on screen.

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One thought on “Reimagining Masculinity: Why I Hope my Brother Grows Up to be Like Peeta

  1. I’m not going to lie: when I first read the line about you being Team Peeta, I rolled my eyes, haha. Not necessarily at you! Just at the thought of Peeta even being worthy of having a team. Let me back up first: obviously the film is more than just about the love triangle or whatnot, but I think your post IS useful in getting us to think about how we construct stereotypes around men and women.

    I dislike Peeta for the reasons you listed. I think he’s a useless, one-dimensional, boring, generic White boy. I honestly think Katniss deserves someone better. But you’re right: Peeta is loyal, he’s kind, and diplomatic (at least when it comes to actually trying to listen to other people before making irrational decisions like Katniss). And I guess that’s partly what makes me uncomfortable? If we’re going to start challenging stereotypes and breaking down societal expectations, we have to expect there to be some discomfort. And part of what makes me dislike Peeta is him not being a conventional “movie boyfriend.” But I think if we’re going to move forward in dismantling gender roles, we have to have characters that don’t fit our social norms. And I think Peeta and Katniss do that very well.

    “And considering that Katniss is more than capable of protecting herself, why should she care about finding a big strong man to defend her honor?” I guess this is true, and the reason she picks him in the end. And you’re right in suggesting that it’s as if Peeta’s “feminine” traits make him weak. They don’t. And I think it’s time we come to terms with the fact that being feminine should not at all be equated with being weak. I guess Peeta’s character is a step for us to get there.

    Don’t get me wrong. I still dislike Peeta. But your post has certainly put some things into perspective and I’ve come to appreciate his presence in Katniss’ life.

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