Scandalous: Parallels between Panem and Youtube

This is a pure work of speculation, and not a defamation of character, or characters– but today I learned about the YouTube sex scandals that have been rocking parts of the Internet for days. And low, because this is a Hunger Games directed blog my brain latched onto the thought of “what if YouTube was Panem, and instead of people like Tom Milsom allegedly taking advantage of an under age fan, it was Peeta Mellark or someone as innocent looking in the public consciousness?” Not much to go on, but considering that Panem is supposed to be based on our own world, but exploitationaugmented, or jacked up to an acid trip level of weird. Say that seven times fast! The thing is, Panem isn’t without its own scandals, so why add-on the hypothetical, and uncharacteristic idea of someone like Peeta being an uber asshole, and finding the opportunity to ruin everything he may have going with Katniss by screwing around with a, well– fan? I don’t buy it.

If we’re going to talk sexual exploitation, The Hunger Games universe, and scandals– we have at least two people to talk about, maybe three– perhaps four. Finnick Odair, Johanna Mason, Coriolanus Snow, and about a couple of thousand, or few hundred money-grubbing Capitol citizens who love, love, love the idea of doing naughty things with some sanctioned murderers, erm Victors. Finnick of course we know has been abused to the nth degree since he won his games when he was 14, which if you don’t shudder at the thought of a 14 year-old boy being forced to perform sexual acts with strangers for fear of his family, and loved ones being tortured or killed– you need to go get some help. Why? Because, say it with me now “ewwwwwww!” Right then, I’m sure there are about a bazillion horrible, half way decent, and maybe a handful of good fan fiction stories about this, but I’m gonna posit that Johanna was also exploited by the Capitol in almost the exact same way as Finnick. It’s already known that everyone she loves is dead, catching-fire-johanna-mason-full-2she said it her self in Catching Fire, but we don’t know how it all went down. Me thinks like Finnick, because she was one of the more attractive, and feisty tributes to become a Victor that she also forced into the elite Capitol prostitution ring that Finnick had already been part of for so long. This is also why I think that Finnick and Johanna’s friendship is on a level that many people could never fathom. Why? Because in my head I imagine some pretty horrid shit going down in that ring of sexual exploitation, stuff out of Requiem for a Dream, stuff out of Eyes Wide Shut, stuff out of The Story of O, sick, twisted stuff– and I think they experienced some of this trauma together. But how did Johanna lose everyone she loves if she was supposedly going along with this horribleness? Easy, she stopped not saying no, and they murdered her family, loved ones, and friends for her insubordination.

Now, that would never happen on Youtube, would it?

Them There Eyes



  1. Cool article. Though I’m not so sure about Finnick and Johanna’s friendship. They pretty much ignored each other in Mockingjay. Finnick didn’t mention a single word about her when she was being held in the Capitol. He was too concerned about Annie to think about anyone else. But how close can two people be when they only see each other once a year…

    1. Katniss is not exactly the best reference as to who talked to whom. It’s one of those things that we could go either way on.

      Also, even if they see each other only once a year, that little annual period of time can mean a lot in terms of bonding for a victor; I know that it’s very easy for many vets to bond quickly even if they had not known each other beforehand. Remember Haymitch referring to the other victors as “my friends” (yes, he’s done this more often, but my point still stands).
      That’s not getting into the interpretation that they were called into the Capitol more often than not, and ran into each other several times.

      1. I agree that because the story is told from Katniss’ POV, we don’t get to see all the behind the scenes conversations that happen between the other characters. But since she and Johanna were roommates in Mockingjay, I think she would have known about at least once visit or conversation between them. It’s up to the author to show us what’s important and what isn’t. And she didn’t do that with Finnick and Johanna in the third book. She did a good job of demonstrating his love for Annie and his growing friendship with Katniss, but when it came time to demonstrate his friendship with Johanna, we got nothing.

        Plus, I just can’t reconcile the fact that despite Finnick and Johanna being friends, he didn’t show any concern for her in Mockingjay. The only person he was concerned about was Annie. Even after they were all rescued, he only showed concern for Annie. He had virtually zero interactions with Johanna. Which is weird considering Johanna was nearly tortured to death for months. If they were such good friends, then Mockingjay would have been the perfect place to demonstrate that, but the author chose not to. To be honest, it kind of feels like Collins only introduced Finnick and Johanna’s friendship as a plot device so that Katniss would have more allies in the arena in Mockingjay. Because that’s the only real interaction that we get with them in the entire series.

        1. Agreed that the narrative made the attention Finnick placed on Annie almost seems to be to the detriment of everyone else. Especially since I’ve always gotten the impression that Annie never got the same level of physical torture (if at all; not that the psychological element wouldn’t be horrible enough for her) that Johanna and Peeta did.

          In which case, I’m really banking on unreliable narration because, while it’s nice that Finnick obviously cares for his girlfriend, it makes him look disproportionately callous to the suffering of others, IMHO. Even if he wasn’t best buds with Johanna, you’d expect at least a token amount of care to be shown.

  2. IIRC, Finnick didn’t have to start performing sexual favours when he was 14. The Capitol, in all their goodness, waited a few years.. (yes, nitpicking..)

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