Sexualized Saturdays: Peeta Mellark

After I finished reading The Hunger Games, I had a lot of feels. However, pretty much the last thing on my mind was shipping (a new and shocking development). And so, although it doesn’t surprise me that the dichotomy developed, I don’t really feel like I belong to Team Peeta or Team Gale. (Can I be a rebel and be, like, Team Johanna?)

Even when there were romantic moments, the books were just so much not about romance that I didn’t have any desire to go deeper into it. But I digress.

This Sexualized Saturdays is about the wonderful, the tortured, the naïve, the boy with the bread and the crush: Peeta Mellark.

Now as far as sexuality goes, I’ll put it upfront: I think Peeta is irrevocably straight. He may not have had a chance to experience any non-hetero attraction what with having a crush on Katniss for, like, his whole life, so there’s always potential that he’s not a pure Kinsey 0, but I really don’t think so in this case.

So Sexualized Saturdays usually focuses on discussing a character with (at least arguably) a non-heteronormative sexuality, so why did I pick Peeta?

Peeta is interesting to me because of the way he performs his sexuality. While Gale is all about blowing stuff up and killing the bad guys, Peeta presents a different schema for a male lead—he is sensitive and artistic; his skills are the sort that are traditionally relegated to female characters: defense, camouflage, hell, cake decoration, and he holds a crush for Katniss unspoken for a decade—but no fan I know has ever accused him of being less of a man for doing these things. In fact, the Team Peeta cohort is expansively and massively huger (from what I can tell) than the Team Anyone Else groups. The thing that’s cool about Peeta is that he represents a role model that says that regardless of sexual orientation or stereotypes, sticking with your talents and being honest and true to yourself are the most important things. And that’s a nice break from the messages being sent by other franchises.

7 thoughts on “Sexualized Saturdays: Peeta Mellark

  1. It was so disappointing to see the whole ‘team him a or him b’ frenzy spring up from a story about a girl who had such a strong (and well-warranted) desire to stay single whether or not she was in love with one, the other or both. Though it does add a greater sinking sort of disappointment to the fact that Katniss’s own opinions and convictions on the matter are ignored not only by (ultimately summarized egads) ‘fate’ but fans as well. Honestly the most depressing series I ever read, from beginning to end.

    • I know. It wasn’t even a thing that was on my radar until my sister came home with a bunch of Team Peeta merchandise – when I finished the book, I was pissed that Katniss settled down with either of them, in the end, and that she let Peeta wheedle her into having kids, too.
      My only good take on the situation is that it’s baby steps – at least this Team whatever frenzy involves a girl with a character and personality outside of the boys. I look forward to a future where people can come out of a movie and say “X female character was badass and I loved her!” rather than “X female character should definitely dump Y male and get with Z male”, but I fear it’s only going to happen a little at a time…

  2. So my godbrother, who has only seen the movies and not read the books, told me he was appalled by all the girls gushing over Peeta because he found Peeta to be pathetic, useless, and always the dude in distress whom Katniss needs to save. After I assured him that Peeta’s way better in the books, he asked, “Is this how girls feel when they see weak female characters in media?” And I was all like, “Welcome to the background radiation of my life.” XD

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