I found Daniel Stacey’s article on Daily Life titled, “Does The Hunger Games perpetuate ugly LGBT stereotypes?” and went “what, but… I don’t even… huh… does this even make sense anymore?”
As a bisexual, I appreciate that Stacey is attempting to have my back and protect me from homophobia (though not biphobia and there is absolutely no mention of transphobia in the article), but I think he doesn’t have sufficient historical knowledge to understand the Capitol and their wealth in context. Stacey seems to think that men who wear flamboyant clothing and makeup are foppish and effeminate, and that women who wear extravagent makeup are dressing like drag queens, which doesn’t sound at all homophobic.
The context that Stacey is missing is that historically the incredibly wealthy (generally the nobility) wore extravagant clothes and makeup. In pre-Revoluntionary France Kings Louis XV and XVI lived lives of decadence, wearing fine laces, silks, brocade, wigs, and makeup, because that’s what was done. The unadorned man is actually a very recent invention. Suzanne Collins, the author of The Hunger Games Trilogy (I assume Stacey hasn’t read them) makes it clear how wealthy the citizens of Capitol are compared to those who live in the Districts. As King Louis XVI’s court was physically separated from the poor and starving in Paris, so the Capitol’s citizens are distant and separated from the poor of the Districts. As King Louis’s XVI court spent far too much money on clothes, make up and food, while the poor starved and agitated in Paris, those in the Capitol do exactly the same while those in the District start to agitate for change.
The story is not about homophobia, the story is about what happens when you treat a large portion of your population with contempt, put them in arenas to kill each other, while forcing them to watch, and letting them starve while you keep all the good things for yourself. In the books and in the movies, those of Capitol are displayed as incredibly wealthy, incredibly unaware (for the most part) of the privileged position they hold, and that they view those of the Districts as toys versus actual people.
The Hunger Games and stories are really a cross between the Roman Empire and it’s circuses and the pre-Revolutionary French monarchy’s disregard for the lower classes. If you read homophobia into that, then I’d suggest it’s your own internalised homophobia.
Stacey’s comparison of The Hunger Games to the movie 300 is also weird. 300 (the movie) was based on the comic book 300, written by Frank Miller.. Stacey claims that 300 was racist and well on the surface that’s indeed true, but again ignores history.
The comic is a fictional retelling of the Battle of Thermopylae and the events leading up to it from the perspective of Leonidas of Sparta. 300 was particularly inspired by the 1962 film The 300 Spartans, a movie that Miller watched as a young boy. The work was adapted in 2006 to a film of the same name. [Wikipedia]
When you have a story about one group of people going to war with another group of people, one of those groups is always going to be painted as the bad people, and generally it’s going to be based on where they’re from or the reason they’re warring in the first place (wrong religion, wrong wife, wrong coloured socks, etc).
To conclude, Stacey needs to learn more history and stop judging things after a few seconds of thought. Perhaps he should also ask some other LGBTIQ people their opinions on the movie before spending several hundred words writing a mostly incomprehensible article about non-existent homophobia (and biphobia and transphobia) and alluding to racism in movies for reasons that aren’t very clear.
The comments on this article (at least the first page) are pretty good for a change, and it’s refreshing to read a whole lot of people go, “What, why did you even!!!” at someone I’m doing the same thing to.