Monday, January 30, 2012

Hunger Games: Why It's OK to Love the Hated

by Megan S.

Most residents of The Hunger Games' capital are, at their very best, shallow and vapid creatures obsessed with outlandish fashion and decadent food and are complicit in the murder of 23 children every year all in the name of entertainment.  The citizens are the embodiment of all that is wicked so it would follow that a marketing campaign glorifying such a vile group would be in poor taste and thus should be boycotted, right?


It's OK to love the hated.

I stumbled across many an internet post last year lamenting the then-newly announced nail polish product tie-in line from China Glaze.  Granted the names were pretty cheesy, ("Joined a the Seam?"  "Cinna-mon?" Really?) but the moaning and groaning was often focused on the juxtaposition of extravagance symbolic of the Capitol with the austere lifestyles our heroes must lead.  The frivolity of nail polish was just another sign of a marketing team not getting the whole point of a cherished story.  I could see the validity of the detractors' claims but I didn't give the arguments much more thought until last Wednesday when I stumbled across Capitol Couture.

Capitol Couture, a Hunger Games viral marketing Tumblr launched early last week, focuses on the fashion of the citizens of Panem's capital.  Not much content is up yet but what is there focuses on accessories like Effie Trinket's gold lamé open-toed booties and advertisements for China Glaze's since renamed nail polishes.  It was then that I noticed it...

Effie Trinket's eyelashes.

Wait a second.  I LOVE those paper faux eyelashes.  I wrote about how much I love them on Stellar Four in November.  I, in fact, own those deer and butterfly eyelashes thanks to Santa. Now that I thought about it, I also really liked the Luxe and Lush polish.  Oh, and those Alexander McQueen open-toed booties with the Hermes wings featured at the bottom of the page?  They were pretty awesome, too.

Did this mean I was no better than the superficial citizens of a dystopic world that institutionalized child murder?

Uh, no. 

Let's back up a bit.  The argument equating similar interests (ie fabulousness) with a particular attribute is flawed. Correlation is not the same thing as causation, people.  More simply, just because you share one trait doesn't mean you'll share all.  But the fact that not everyone who enjoys frivolity will then also be complicit in child murder or indenturing districts to the Capitol, doesn't mean that a marketing campaign based on it is a good idea.

What does make it a good idea?  Many fans of The Hunger Games seem to forget is that not every Capitol citizen is a bad person.  What's more, fans forget that the first revolutionist Suzanne Collins introduces is not Katniss but the one person responsible for creating the most cutting edge and admired fashion in the whole Capitol.

That's right.  Hunger Games stylist and the Capitol's future premiere fashion designer Cinna is the first rebel.  He, you'll remember, requests to design the costumes for District 12 and was responsible for the most talked about outfit of all the tributes, The Girl on Fire.  Cinna uses Katniss's costumes and the national platform the Games provide to purposefully incite a rebellion across all 12 districts.  Without spoiling any more of the trilogy, Cinna becomes more and more bold with his push for revolution with the outlandish fashion that has come to represent all that is despised about the Capitol.

Fashionistas weren't always complicit in mistreatment and murder and, in fact, were some of the very first to incite a rebellion.  Fashion designer Cinna is the unsung hero in The Hunger Games.

This is why, boys and girls, it's a brilliant idea to base a marketing campaign on Capitol couture and why it's OK to love the hated.
Pin It


  1. To be fair, most nail polish names are pretty stupid.

    1. AHAHAHHA! Oh my that was great :D

    2. Have you seen that OPI has a new Muppet line of colors?
      Shades include:
      "Rainbow Connection"
      "Fresh Frog of Bel Air" and
      "Excuse Moi"
      Among others

  2. This looks like a trip to Ulta. I have to see Electrify and Luxe in person. It kinda looks like druzy, I hope, I hope.


  3. I never really thought of Cinna as a Rebel, but now I can see what she means; The Districts were the Wood, longing for a change; Katniss, the fuel; and Cinna, the ignition in which the face of rebellion was started.