The Hunger Games is barely out and already I am seeing so much backlash against Jennifer Lawrence, Amandla Stenberg and other actors. What do haters gotta hate?
—February, via the inbox
Yep, bigotry has raised its ugly troll head in the form of nasty Tweets, as Amandla Stenberg and fellow actors Lenny "Cinna" Kravitz and Dayo "Thresh" Okeniyi have learned. We've also been treated to some ludicrous criticism over Jennifer Lawrence's lovely, curvy shape.
But are the verbal barfings of stunted little gremlins really about hate? You may be surprised:
Let's take a closer look at the backlash we've seen over the past few days. First, there's the racial bigotry. Author Suzanne Collins envisioned Sternberg's character of Rue with dark brown skin and eyes, but several fans apparently cannot deal with a translation to onscreen blackness: "Call me racist," one racisty racist Tweeted, "but when i found out rue was black her death wasn't as sad #ihatemyself."
(Hate yourself, you say? Don't let us stop you.)
Then there's the venom that being spat at Lawrence. Apparently the actress, who has won nearly universal raves for her turn at Katniss Everdeen, nonetheless got it wrong. By being too female.
Writer Jeffrey Wells, for example, pointed out that Lawrence and costar Josh Hutcherson do not have traditional shapes, and that this is bad, bad, bad. Welles dubbed her "a fairly tall, big-boned lady," adding that "male romantic figures have to be at least be as tall as their female partners." The Hollywood Reporter poked at what it called Lawrence's "lingering baby fat." (Katniss, of course, survives by hunting for herself and her family.)
So what's going on here?
Well, for some of the fan-based spite, you can blame...obsessive love.
Hear me out here, with the help of Shylah Addante. As a super-duper longtime Hunger Games fan, Addante administers Down With the Capitol, one of the top five sites devoted to the Collins franchise.
Addante says that some fans grew so attached to their vision of the book that anyone else's interpretation simply must be trashed. And that goes especially for Katniss, the heroine of the tale.
"For years, fans have been reading and envisioning certain lines or characters in a certain way, and you can get attached to these ideas," Addante tells this B!tch. Some people just can't handle that "you're not always going to get what you envisioned in your head," Addante adds.
As for the racially motivated hatred, well, there are bigots out there, and there's no silencing them. And when you combine racism with stupid people, you get Tweets like the ones I mentioned above.
"It's distressing to think about people's reading comprehension levels," given that Collins essentially describes Rue and Thresh as black, and Cinna as no race in particular. "It's a small subsection of the fans who just don't get it."
Regardless of their motives, Addante is quick to point out that the haters are in the minority.
"I don't want people get a wrong impression about the fans," she says, "because 99 percent of the fans are very supportive of the casting choices."
As am I.