Women in science fiction have always been minimal. The Hunger Games breaks all cliches of gender roles in not just science fiction but in the film industry in general. Katniss has become the role model of what a woman is supposed to be like in our modern society.
In the 90's little girls had Barbies which represented an unrealistic physical role model to idealize the way in which they should be. This representation shows the fit and skinny woman that dresses up nice and pretty... and that's it. There is no other purpose but to look good. The Hunger Games take that same role model and do a complete 180 degree turn with it. Katniss wins and is forced into a luxurious life of limitless pleasures and material possessions, yet, she regards them as worthless. They mean nothing to her and she rejects that lifestyle completely. For a woman to be so strong in her position and make that kind of statement in the society we live in today, says something about how obsessed we have become with material possessions. Rather, perhaps it is focused more on trying to break away from the cliche woman of the past and bring about a strong new woman role model for little girls to grow up to.
Having a woman in a place of such great power does not seem normal when comparing to previous movies in the past. But it works in its own way. Women have always been pushing for a more prominent place in society and this film does exactly that. It replaces the white man with a woman, puts a big strong white male in the women's place, completely rejects the glamorous lifestyle, and embraces morality over all of that. While the idea of being a moral person has always been presented in most science fiction, the bigger part is the gender swap.
Overall the movie is fantastic, especially with a woman leading the role. It might not have even been as interesting if Peta was the main character. It would have just played like any other science fiction movie. I believe that the more we see movies like this the more gender roles will start evening out. These movies provide inspiration for our younger generation to build on. It is only a matter of time before it becomes a reality.