Will the Odds Ever Be in Her Favor? Katniss Everdeen and the Female Athlete

Tony Kemerly
High Point University
High Point, North Carolina, USA


Autoethnography is a qualitative research method that allows the author to write in a highly personalized style, drawing on his or her experience to extend understanding about a specific issue. One subset of autoethnography, critical autoethnography, combines the narrative or storytelling aspect of autoethnography with critical theory approaches in order to gain illustrate for the reader a specific site of oppression within one’s culture. Through an examination of the books and films of The Hunger Games’ saga, this paper will examine the interaction between students and professor in regard to the journey of the female athlete through the power dynamic prevalent in the social milieu of sport culture today. For both Katniss and the female athlete, a specific gender representation has been accepted by society and assigned to women; thus, placing constraints on her and her actions by controlling her representation. It is this attempt at control over the female athlete that is the focus of this critical autoethnography. Institutionalized patriarchal practices such as these are faced by Katniss and the female athlete within Panem and the world of sport, respectively. These metaphorically similar norms and rituals reinforce the notion of a perceived superiority of the male athlete through adherence to socially constructed and strictly enforced gender norms that are the site of a constant battle faced by the female athlete today. 

Keywords: women’s sports, pop culture, power, gender, autoethnography, student experience

Author bio:

Tony Kemerly received his PhD in Exercise Science at The University of Mississippi and is a Professor of Exercise Science at High Point University. A shift in focus and an MA in Communication Studies from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro has allowed for a transition to the cultural studies aspects of Kinesiology. Kemerly teaches courses such as Body and Identity, Locating the Self Through the Whedonverse, Visual Semiotics in Popular Culture, Death: Seeing Beyond the Veil, American Language and Power, and Phenomenology of the Body.

Suggested Citation


Kemerly, T. (2022). Will the odds ever be in her favor? Katniss Everdeen and the female athlete. Dialogue: The Interdisciplinary Journal of Popular Culture and Pedagogy, 9(3). http://journaldialogue.org/issues/v9-issue-3/will-the-odds-ever-be-in-her-favor-katniss-everdeen-and-the-female-athlete/


Kemerly, Tony. “Will the Odds Ever Be in Her Favor? Katniss Everdeen and the Female Athlete.” Dialogue: The Interdisciplinary Journal of Popular Culture and Pedagogy, vol. 9, no. 3, 2022, http://journaldialogue.org/issues/v9-issue-3/will-the-odds-ever-be-in-her-favor-katniss-everdeen-and-the-female-athlete/

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