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According to USA Archery, the National Governing Body for the Olympic and Paralympic sport of archery, since December of 2011, the number of archery clubs has nearly doubled and individual membership is up 25%. Owners of archery ranges across the United States are experiencing long waiting lists of adolescents who are interested in learning the sport, and many owners contribute this surge in popularity to The Hunger Games (2008–2010) franchise, a dystopian series featuring Katniss Everdeen, a bow and arrow wielding teenage girl who becomes a reluctant revolutionary instrumental in destroying a totalitarian government. The link between the series and the recent surge in archery is explored here. In this feminist, qualitative study, nine girls (n = 9) between the ages of 11 and 14 were interviewed about their experience participating in at least one 6-week after-school archery program. The results of this study suggest that The Hunger Games series influenced the girls, both directly and indirectly, to participate in the archery program. Additionally, this study found that archery is a sport where both active and less active girls feel they can compete with boys on a level playing field. Lastly, the participants did not report experiencing sexism or bullying as a result of their archery participation. The author provides applications and recommendations for further research.
Crookston is with the Department of Women’s and Gender Studies, University of Toledo, Toledo, OH.