The Last Psychiatrist usually has interesting insight on popular culture and movies. This is a mashup from my comments there:
I didnt read either book, I only watched the movies. That is, the Harry Potter movies and THG one. So take this with a grain of salt.
Manhood. Males compete and train and adhere to greatest principles. The underlying drive, always, is competition, to possess the higher force, the more fine tuned resource, the bigger cock, etc. To outlast, outperform, outsmart, dominate. To win.
A character is “manlier” when he decides, consistently, to defeat the environment, to prevail, to be stronger than, to amass power, to do the higher cause thing, etc. When he says “no” to forced circumstances and keeps pushing, against all odds, to make things his way. And this drive shines in absense of external encouragement – and often at expenses of it.
So. Harry doesnt defeat Voldemort. He goes to the forest because he doesnt want other people to die, and surrenders. The manly move would have been to go into the forest with either a plan or a bigger cock and kill the enemy. Instead, he recognizes Volermort’s bigger cock and offers himself to him. Voldemort only ends up dead because it’s a happy story. Harry’s cock didnt kill him, the story did.
Then, to make it even more unmanly, Harry is rewarded the hyper powerful bigger than the universe magical stick… and he gets rid of it. Harry doesnt want the power, doesnt want the supreme magic, doesnt want the trouble. All he wants is peace and stability and to grow a family and take his kids to school and the comfort and the familiar. He doesnt want to go further and push the envelope and take decisions that radically alter things, he doesnt want to grow into a legend, he wants to be normal, he wants the mundane.
He has “feminine” goals.
In nature, and in society, a man with such safe ambitions rarely can achieve them, because men do have to compete other men and rank higher on the men’s ladder to have a shot at reproduction and stability. Heck. When women – who primarily want stability and comfort and safety and to have stuff done and provided to them – are screening for partners, they usually pick the more dominant, higher ranked men in the group, the men who can actually risk themselves out there in the so dangerous world and win some prizes, so they can provide safety and stability for others.
So guys with the ambition of Harry Potter have NO chance to do the stuff Harry Potter does in the movies. Nor can inspire all that movement around them, nor the sympathy nor the loyalty nor the admiration.
But his story makes sense if he’s a girl. A magical, underage virginal girl that everyone wants to protect and is willing to die and kill for. A girl who has value because of who she is – a jewel, a symbol, an object – and not because of what she does. And at the end, after every other option has been exhausted, she “chooses” to sacrifice herself to avoid the suffering of the ones she loves. The ultimate sacrifice. She abandons her comfort, goes into the forest and let’s the dangerous, evil, powerful man have her. She totally surrenders to him. Yum. You bet she was turned on?
Now that’s a story that has been told SO many times.
Which brings us to Katniss.
“you would likely understand that Katniss chooses to lead a rebellion”
Im going out on a limp here and guess that when she “chooses” to “lead?” a rebellion, it’s pretty much the only thing she can do, like when she “chooses” to take her sister’s place or when she “chooses” to team with Peeta or when she “chooses” to shoot an arrow to some killer running towards her or when she “chooses” to cut some bee’s nest that was – so conveniently – at the reach of her hand.
While anything can be viewed as a “choice”, a real choice is when the externals are not pushing towards it as the “only, and only possibility, or else”. In this sense, Katniss doesnt make any choices on the movie. She doesnt stick to any decision. She reacts to the environment, she self-defends, taking what seems to be the best choice, which is usually presented in comparison to some other unfathomable choice, and the story takes charge, presenting her with the choices she has to make. And then she makes them.
She’s pretty much a stone carried by a grandiose wave.
She’s a leaf on a tsunami.
I still dont get why anyone would call her “badass” or strong. She did what she had to do. But her decisions werent her own. In a different story or context, she would have launched the Hiroshima bomb, or she would have sacrificed herself to the Hiroshima bomb, depending on what the story requested from her.
She’s no more badass than the avarage teenager.
If she had been born in the Capitol she would be hosting the Hunger Games herself. You know, to feed her family. And those fire dresses are expensive.