Fri
Jul 2 2010 3:39pm

Eclipse: A Handy Review of the Creepy Stalker Boyfriend Saga

If cut-off jean shorts are “jorts,” are cut-off khaki shorts “khorts”?  The Twilight hating continues below the break.  Very mild spoilers and a feminist rant ahead.

In all honesty, I really didn’t plan to start my hate-fest of Twilight 3: The Squeakquel with a question of such philosophical intrigue and existential depth, but verily, these are the questions that plague our times. Questions that also plague our times are “If their clothes rip off when they turn into werewolves how come when they change back they are always in Adidas, socks, jorts, and boxers?”, “Is Kristen Stewart made of Botox and cardboard?”, “Why aren’t these kids in school? Don’t they have parents?”, and, of course, “Um, didn’t anyone making this movie notice the faint green outline from the green screen around the characters whenever they’re in that inexplicable wildflower meadow?” I tried coming up with answers but ended up jabbing a spoon into my ear just to make the pain stop. So instead I decided to write about how this movie is a sign of the apocalypse and that we should all start planting our crisis gardens and move into our doomsday bunkers before Obama’s communist dictatorship takes hold.

Genevieve Valentine has done a bang up job discussing Eclipse under the scope of the trilogy/quartet as a whole on her wonderful post here, and there are some great comments going on below. I, however, have not read the books (you can’t make me!) and spent the entire two previous “films”—and I use that term in the loosest possible sense—screaming at my computer screen when I wasn’t falling asleep during the incessant overly dramatic pauses. So I wasn’t exactly chuffed about seeing the Robsten Mooney Eyes Chat Show. Ah, the things one must sacrifice.

I honestly don’t know how long this movie was. I was 27 when I entered the theater, but when returned to the outside world my Corolla had been replaced by a hover car and Malia Obama was on the radio giving her State of the Union address. The movie wasn’t all bad, though. I’ll politely disagree with Genevieve and say that while I was bored to tears with Hardwicke’s direction, I thought Weitz’s was far more cinematic than the film deserved and that Slade made a pretty decent action/horror movie that was totally ruined by the interminable talking.

The few actiony respites between the endless blathering were entertaining enough and Taylor Lautner didn’t entirely suck (or maybe I was just lost in his abs). But that’s like saying I like Torpid Fever better than Typhoid Fever because of the fun yellow color your skin turns. The only times I almost got lost in the story were the vamp/were fight scenes, the tension created in the flashbacks, and when I was hoping they might decide to use the cliff as a nifty way to kill Bella. Spoiler: they didn’t. In fact, I’d like to suggest something for the director’s cut DVD: edit out all of Edward + Bella + Jacob crap and bing bang boom, you’ve got yourself a scary short film about vampires battling werewolves. And the Oscar goes to...

During all that tediously wooden acting I somehow managed to take notes before I passed out from strangling myself with my shoelaces:

  • Safe to say that sparkling is the least attractive quality a man can possess
  • Blandest Scoobies ever
  • Yay for color correction!
  • Is the whole jorts thing a rule? Did they take a vote? Would you be thrown out for wearing a suit? Or a shirt?
  • Vamps can enter a house without permission?
  • Dakota Fanning, Anna Kendrick, Bryce Dallas Howard = slumming. Blackmail?
  • Why would a vamp get scars?
  • He’s Texan? Since when? Since now? Oh, fine then.
  • How convenient, having a vamp who knows EXACTLY how to kill your enemy. Problem solved!
  • People did have premarital sex 109 years ago, you ain’t that old
  • Those werewolves suck as warriors
  • That’s because you came up with the stupidest plot possible. Idiots.
  • Climactic fight scenes shouldn’t be this anticlimactic

Generally speaking I’m fairly tolerant of most pop cultural ephemera. I long ago accepted that tweens and teens have atrocious taste in pop culture and, for the most part, I’m pretty good at ignoring it all. I keep forgetting Gossip Girl is still on the air and Daniel Radcliffe and I were both convinced Justin Bieber was some sort of Pokémon until it came out that he was really a Keebler elf with a lesbian haircut.

But Twilight is just too much. It isn’t the story itself that I hate. Yes, it’s melodramatic in the worst way, poorly acted by everyone on screen, and poorly constructed by everyone off screen. What really infuriates me is the demented nature of the relationships between Bella and Edward and Bella and Jacob. The series teaches girls that it’s okay to be passive and let your jerkface boyfriend literally throw you around, dictate the entire nature of your relationship and otherwise emotionally abuse and psychologically manipulate you. That you should accept his abuse because you “love” him even though no teenager anywhere in the world is even remotely capable of having true mature love.

Jacob is only marginally better, but even he ends up taking the power he helped Bella develop after Edward decided to be a douche canoe and break up with her in the worst way possible. Jacob routinely crosses into rapist territory with lines like “You love me, you just don’t know it yet,” while Edward spends most of their relationship lying to Bella and bossing her around under the vague guise of wanting to protect her. Not that Bella is worthy of the love or protection of two selfish jerks. She’s vapid, self-obsessed and self-absorbed. They all are. Stephanie Meyer has populated a miserably world full of horrible, horrible people. There isn’t a single human or supe in the whole of Forks who doesn’t deserve to be wiped off the face of the Earth. Preferably by Buffy.


Alex Brown is an archivist in training, reference librarian by day, writer by night, and all around geek who watches entirely too much TV. She is prone to collecting out-of-print copies of books by Evelyn Waugh, Jane Austen, and Douglas Adams, probably knows far too much about pop culture than is healthy, and thinks her rats Hywel and Odd are the cutest things ever to exist in the whole of eternity. You can follow her on Twitter if you dare...

35 comments
Alex Brown
1. AlexBrown
On a Leonardo DiCaprio-related side-note: I grew up with him on Growing Pains, was 14 when Romeo + Juliet came out, and saw Titanic in theatres 4 times and cried like a baby at each, so you can imagine how completely depressed and pissed off I was when, during the trailer for Inception, I overheard a teenage girl loudly ask her friend who "that old guy" was. Damn kids. Get off my lawn!
JS Bangs
2. jaspax
I had to look at that poster for a long time before I figured out what the hell was going on in that tent. And it's not any less gross now.
Alex Brown
3. AlexBrown
I know, right? So weird in fact that I almost used this image instead: http://verydemotivational.com/2010/04/16/demotivational-posters-twilight-2/
Ashe Armstrong
4. AsheSaoirse
This article makes me happy. That is all.
nicole rich
5. nrich
haha. Tell us how you really feel Alex.

Basically, this weekend I have to choose between sparkly vampire mofos or a massacred live action version of one of my favorite animes if I want to see a movie? Screw that. I'm getting drunk and watching reruns of Miami Ink.
Alex Brown
6. AlexBrown
And just think, Adelle, Jackson Rathbone is in both with terrible, terrible hair. I plan to substitute Miami Ink with the awfulness that is The Gates. I think Smirnoff will pair nicely with it :)
James Hogan
7. Sonofthunder
nrich@5, if you want a movie rec, you should see A-Team...it's hilarious!

EDIT: And for actual on-topicness...

The most of Twilight I've read was over a girl's shoulder on the bus. That was enough for me. I've not seen the movies either, but I've heard they feature a Muse song in the first one, which would probably be the only redeeming factor for me.
Aslansjoy
8. Aslansjoy
I have one small objection, if you don't mind. It is as follows:

Although anyone under the age of 25 is not expected to be mature, fully intelligent, capable of supporting themselves, or any other things that a fully grown adult, I still hold some hope for humanity and believe, not without evidence, that a teen aged person can be nearly as responsible and mature as an adult, if they have been raised properly and expected to behave themselves.
Ron Garrison
9. Man-0-Manetheran
"The Squeakquel" is good, but I like "The Squeequel" better!
Alex Brown
10. AlexBrown
Sonofthunder @ 7: The A-Team was bad, but The Losers was badder. And for me, it was the DCFC song "Meet Me On The Equinox". Love that song and them, but it still isn't worth sitting through that whole movie just for a 30 second audio clip.

Aslansjoy @ 8: Object if you will, but I still stand by my thesis. I never said anything about people in their twenties, but I do fully believe that you can't be a mature, fully grown adult until you are actually an adult. Remember, "Romeo and Juliet" was originally intended by Shakespeare to be a cautionary tale about what happens when spoiled brats defy their parents.
Rachel Hyland
11. RachelHyland
@ Milo1313

I get that you hate all things Twilighty. And that's okay, of course. I enjoyed this review and you're very funny... but I have a real problem with this:

The series teaches girls that it’s okay to be passive and let your jerkface boyfriend literally throw you around, dictate the entire nature of your relationship and otherwise emotionally abuse and psychologically manipulate you.

I find this oft-pontificated, ever-patronising constant whine of so-called feminist umbrage both sexist and ageist. It demeans the young women who read these books and watch these movies, suggesting that they are somehow constitutionally incapable of distinguishing between fantasy and reality, and that they would all naturally allow their relationship choices and life decisions to be swayed by a fricken teenage vampire romance series. It's offensive.

By the way, I feel your pain on the Leo thing. I had to identify Lenny Kravitz to a curious yet ignorant tween just the other day.

@7. Sonofthunder

There was also a Muse song in New Moon, and there's one in Eclipse too, though neither are featured as prominently or as successfully as "Supermassive Black Hole" in Twilight. (Vampire baseball!) The Eclipse song is their latest single, "Neutron Star Collision", and it was written for the movie, if you please. So, hey, Muse like The Twilight Saga movies. Make of that what you will.

EDIT - Meant to mention: Muse are Stephenie Meyer's favorite band. Hope that doesn't ruin them for you!
john massey
12. subwoofer
Heh. Love the commentary. My wife, bless her, flew in the face of convention, hasn't read the books, we did not see these movies in the theater, went out and bought these hunks of crap sight unseen. Apparently she has never heard of Blockbuster and renting. So I watch the first one and it is all about a guy acting with his forehead. Seriously. Every clip of buddy had him with his brows thrust forward. Baffled me. Either he has some weird neck affliction where he can't hold up the weight of his head or he suffers from terrible posture problems. That was the whole movie to me.

Crap Fest II was about this chick who must be arguably the worst actor in the world. As she sat in a chair and the seasons passed around her, I felt my life slowly ebb away too. Gah. What is with her anyways? Does she have beer flavored nipples? I dunno. But I do know that she is not worth the grief and aggravation of sitting through a whole movie watching her "emo" her way through a script. Heck, they coulda saved a ton on production costs by having her pan her script on a studio sound stage somewhere. It would have been just as convincing and just as exciting.

And when my wife and I looked at each other at the end of part deux and asked "that was it"? Speaks volumes when they just arbitrarily end a movie without actually having an ending. It was like the last Potter movie. "OK, we've run out of film, we'll call it a wrap".

Titanic. Said it before. Cameron and the whole cast owes me 5 hours of my life back. And Kate coulda moved her butt over to let Leo on that hunk of door or whatever.

Woof™.
Alex Brown
13. AlexBrown
RachelHyland @ 11: I will admit that many teenage girls are smart enough not to be swayed, but I will also admit that most are not. Remember, these girls are "Team Edward" and "Team Jacob" not "Team RPatz" and "Team Lautner". It's the characters they idolize, not the actors. I was one of those girls once, too, but the characters I aspired to be were like Jen from Dawson's Creek and Buffy. Without realizing it I took a lot of things from both those characters, a lot of my mannerisims, attitudes, snarky comments, etc.

Teenagers learn social mannerisms from television and movie characters just as much as they do from friends and family. It has nothing to do with distinguishing reality from fiction, and everything to do with seeing something being portrayed as normal when it is far from it.
Ashe Armstrong
14. AsheSaoirse
I find this oft-pontificated, ever-patronising constant whine of so-called feminist umbrage both sexist and ageist. It demeans the young women who read these books and watch these movies, suggesting that they are somehow constitutionally incapable of distinguishing between fantasy and reality, and that they would all naturally allow their relationship choices and life decisions to be swayed by a fricken teenage vampire romance series. It's offensive.

Most of the hardcore fans CAN'T seem to distinguish fantasy and reality. I've seen first hand fans telling someone (myself included) that we hate the series because we're jealous. Those of us who cry out this "ever-patronizing" sentiment have usually witnessed a need to do so.

Although, I will freely admit that sometimes, I just bring it up to piss the fans off. Sites like this, this and this lovely piece of art (make sure to read the very bottom) speak volumes. Particularly the first link and how rabid they tend to be.

Now, I won't say that taking things from fantasy and incorporating them into your reality is strictly bad. It can be a very good thing, depending on the subject. Obviously, running around yelling EXPELIARMUS! at people with end up with you getting your ass kicked or medicated. What does Twilight really offer to the real world though? Nothing.
Aslansjoy
15. LAJG
I forced myself to finish the first Twilight book. I thought, maybe if I found the second one in the library I might give it a chance. I did find it, read the back cover and first page, and decided to put it back on the shelf. I have yet to bring myself to watch the movies, but a guy friend of mine assures me they are hilarious.

I have middle-aged coworkers who love these books and movies. These women are intelligent and strong, and have raised their daughters to be strong, independent women. So I don't understand why they counter these arguments against Twilight with "but it's so romantic". I guess you have to get your fantasies somewhere.

Milo1313 @ 1: Sometime in the 90's a (younger) housemate of mine was going on and on about this gorgeous Leonardo guy. He looked like a little boy to me. So get off my lawn, times two!
Aslansjoy
16. David DeLaney
I don't know if anyone's mentioned her on one of these reviews yet, but Cleolinda Jones, who does the Movies in 15 Minutes snarkery on livejournal, has deconstructed the books with love, humor, and incredible amounts of snark some time back; you can find links to it all at her Twilight M15M post, http://community.livejournal.com/m15m/19551.html , which is a compressed review/recap of the first movie which HAS to be read to be believed.

Her reviews/recaps of the books can be found at
http://cleoland.pbworks.com/Twilight - scroll down to section iv in the contents.
She also did a New Moon in 15 Minutes compressed review/recap for that movie, at http://community.livejournal.com/m15m/21825.html , and I fully expect an Eclipse in 15 Minutes post sometime in the next month or two.

--Dave
Rachel Hyland
17. RachelHyland
Milo1313 @ 13 (ah, the synchronicity!)

Dawson's Creek's Jen taught us that to be sexually liberated is to emphatically be a bitchy tramp with no self-esteem (and to thence die of the dreaded Getting Knocked Up-itis. 'Cause of, y'know, being a tramp!).

Buffy's co-dependent and self-destructive relationships with vampires -- both of whom were even older than Edward (though admittedly also more badass) -- are hardly what one might consider good examples for teenage girls. In fact, possibly the only stable and healthy relationship in the Buffy-verse is the one that has lately developed between Xander and Dawn in the Buffy Season 8 comics, and even that feels kinda wrong. Although Wesley and Fred were pretty great together, till one of them became the vessel for an evil Hell Demon and turned blue. (God, don't you hate when that happens?)

AsheSaoirse @ 14

You know what I think it is? It's this idea that Twilight is somehow supposed to set a good example for the youth of today, rather than merely reflecting that youth's reality within its melodramatic and fantastical pages. Teenage girls are pretty wrapped up in their boyfriends (and themselves); teenage boys in the throes of first love are quite prone to stalkerish and controlling behaviour. Is it really in the mandate of supernatural teenage romance authors to create a Utopian vision of how we wish high school relationships played out? If you didn't know anyone with a similar Bella-Edward-Jacob psychodrama in their adolescent lives -- though no doubt sans the mythology aspect-- then I should be very much surprised.

David DeLaney @ 16

Oh, my! Thank you for the recommendation, those recaps are all kinds of awesome.
Ashe Armstrong
18. AsheSaoirse
@17 That is a good point. The only problem is that eventually, college gets involved, and then marriage, and then what appears to be a rape o' love and a vicious, mother-killing hellspawn who then causes the werewolf to fall in love with it and declare the still infant its mate for life. The first book by itself is a fairly good show of what you mentioned, high school love. And I did know of some stupidity with folks, but not nearly to that degree and usually it involved guys who were blatant douche bags (one time in particular was the first time I was told, "I wish my boyfriend was more like you").

Which I suppose is why I don't understand why anyone older than 20 likes these goddamn books. You've been out of high school for a while, you've (hopefully) realized that relationships can't exist long if all you're going on is "you're so pretty, let's date" and being emotionally yo-yoed is heavily damaging. But you hear how "romantic" it is. People say the same thing about Romeo & Juliet but forget that Romeo saw Juliet while he was with another guy and went, "she's way hotter, time to get me some new booty".

"But Ashe," you say, "in the end they kill themselves for their love!" Yeah...cause that's so romantic and totally the greatest idea ever. "Our families hate each other. I know! We'll try to fake my death thereby releasing us from their clutches!" Only a dumbass teenager would come up with that idea.

Oh my, this turned into a rant.
Brandon Wood
19. brad21088
@18: a pointless, offensive rant. I'm not far from being a teenager myself, and I assure you, I wasn't "a dumbass teenager." I was just a dumbass who happened to be in his teen years. In fact, the older I get, the more it seems that high school never ends. All people, no matter the age, come up with dumbass ideas. I think humanity's dumbassery has something to do with the fact that our species, ya know, evolved, and wasn't placed on this planet by an omniscient God, made in His image (so I'm saying we're all kind of stupid. We're like the mentally challenged kids who are just smart enough to know they're mentally challenged. Kind of tragic, if you think about it). We humans have the propensity to be dumbasses, but that really has little to do with our age. Old age does not a wise one make (if you don't believe me, I can introduce you to plenty of dumbass people who happen to be old). Anyway, my point in all of this is to say that I disagree with hating on teenagers writ-large: some are bigger dumbasses than others, just as it with all age groups.
Aslansjoy
20. hapax
Both my teenage daughter and I (decidedly NOT teenage) loved the Twilight books for the same reason -- they pretty much exactly captured a certain hormone-crazed mood of adolescent First Luuuurrrvvv, and allowed us to indulge in / laugh at all the heightened emotions and self-absorption in a safe and harmless fashion.

I assure you, neither of us has the slightest hankering for a Real Life Edward of our own. (Admittedly, daughter has occasional expressed a wistful longing for a Real Life Miles Vorkosigan, but when when pressed, admits that she'd shove him out of the hovercraft within half an hour).

However, @subwoofer: "So I watch the first one and it is all about a guy acting with his forehead. Seriously. Every clip of buddy had him with his brows thrust forward. Baffled me. Either he has some weird neck affliction where he can't hold up the weight of his head or he suffers from terrible posture problems."

We both found the movies vastly more enjoyable if you just realize that Edward is going through the entire story with an invisible duck nesting in that astonishing hair style. Since all of the other characters can see it, it also explains their continual baffled, slightly worried expressions as they interact with him -- "Does he KNOW that there's a duck on his head? Should I ask about it?" "Whatever you do, Don't Mention The Duck!"
Rachel Hyland
21. RachelHyland
brad21088 @ 19

See, that's what I was saying! But I'm afraid it didn't carry nearly as much authority, as I am considerably more removed from teenagerhood than you. But, yeah, that's my main problem with all of this "Think of the children!" hysteria over what Meyer is allegedly doing to our daughters and daughters daughters... people should stop assuming teenage girls are all simpletons without the sense to realise that Bella and Edward are merely a monster-y fairy tale; basically just Beauty and Beast, but with less dancing cutlery.

hapax @ 19

Again, see, that's what I was saying! Exactly, Twilight is a mirror on what teenage love is kinda like, not some sinister and subversive attempt to turn our young women into the pseudo-heroines of Victorian literature.

"Does he KNOW that there's a duck on his head? Should I ask about it?" "Whatever you do, Don't Mention The Duck!"

I will be chuckling about that for weeks. Weeks, I tell you!
Alex Brown
22. AlexBrown
RachelHyland @ 17: You and I obviously saw very different aspects of the characters. I liked that Jen was complex and had similar issues that I did at that age. We were going through the same shite at the same time and dealing with it in similar yet different ways. She made mistakes, we all do, but she never let anyone hit her.

And as for Buffy, I'm not sure where you get the whole co-dependency thing. I'm pretty sure the main story arc through the entire show was that she was too independent and was always pushing people away. Half the eps of season 7 were about that. I do/did that too, and that was one of the reasons I felt a connexion to her. That and I wanted to be able to walk into dark alleys and kick the shite outta anyone who harassed me.

RachelHyland @ 21 and brad21088 @ 19: Except the Beast doesn't rape Beauty and call it love. Or throw her into walls. Or emotionally abuse her on a regular basis. Or sneak into her bedroom uninvited and watch her sleep. Or stalk her around town and stake out her house.

hapax @ 20: That totally makes sense! Now what could explain KStew's propensity toward scowling and her horrible posture? Is it a subversive attempt at auditioning for the Hunchback of Notre Dame?
Madeline Ferwerda
23. MadelineF
I think there's a little truth in both parts of the debate on this thread.

1. Teenagers are perfectly capable. When I was a teen, I pretended to be an adult online and I was better at it than many adults. All teens lack is experience to compare their current emotions/issues to, and sometimes you can fake that. It's part of current values to infantilize teens and keep them out of the work force, and that's a shame.

2. It matters what you take as your myths when you're young. I was soooo into Sherlock Holmes and Gandalf. I'm not sure I did as well as I might have; better than some, worse than others. It certainly shaped the choices I made. What is cool? If you pick something dumb as your cool touchstone, you're going to tend to head down dumb paths.

And an entirely different note, it's perfectly legit to look at Twilight and say WTF is wrong with us that this sexist BS is so popular.

Also, hapax: "Does he KNOW that there's a duck on his head? Should I ask about it?" "Whatever you do, Don't Mention The Duck!" Effing hilarious!!
Daniel Brown
24. I_Slap_Raptors
A big fat "Meh!", is my reaction to both the fan love and the "This book sets a bad example!" type of comment aimed towards the Twilight series. It's a mediocre pulp romance, when all's said and done. It's not really that much more melodramatic than the Sweet Valley High books my older sister kept trying to inflict on me (a 12 year old, male, SF&F reader. Her success was limited) when she was 16, or the Catherine Cookson melodramas my wife was so fond of in her youth.

Are the characters in Twilight good examples of what you want your daughter/grand-daughter/niece/friend's daughter to grow up to be like, or the type of men she tries to enter into relationships with? Hell no! Will they grow up like that for having read the books? Probably not. I read a lot of Clive Cussler and Piers Anthony novels when I was young and impressionable, but I didn't grow up to be a chauvinist. My sister didn't grow up vapid and image obsessed for reading the Sweet Valley High series and my wife read everything Catherine Cookson wrote, but doesn't expect me to treat her like a chattel, a skivvy or a weakling who must be protected from the harshness of life (I fear for my continued existence, if I was to try!).

Speaking only from my own experience, youngsters like something broadly depicted and not too complex when it comes to drama, as do a lot of adults who like a break from the heavier and more deeply layered stuff now and then. Good luck to 'em, I say. The adults reading it won't suddenly enter into unhealthily co-dependent relationships for having read it and, if my own eventual reaction to Piers Anthony is anything to go by, the younger readers will one day react against the squickier elements by determining to never think or behave that way. Emulation of a character isn't the only way a story can shape a young personality, you know.
Rachel Hyland
25. RachelHyland
Milo1313 @ 22

When Buffy sent Angel to Hell at the end of Season 2, she ran away from home, changed her name and worked as a waitress in the Big City, miserable and cut off from all her friends. And even after she returned home, she remained self-absorbed and isolated in very Bella-ish manner for a couple more episodes.

When Angel broke up with her for her own sake (and for the sake of his own spin-off series) towards the end of Season 3, she told Willow "I'm just trying to keep from dying. I can't breathe. I feel like I can't breathe." Sure, she managed to get past it, realised she had a giant snake demon to kill and had to let her ancient boyfriend go, but that's not to say she wasn't at all Bella-like again (read: teenage girl) in her angsting over the loss of her First Great Love.

And as for Spike... there was nothing healthy about that relationship at all. It was fun to watch, but so very, very wrong. (And set up one hell of an incestuous triangle.) Let's face it, Buffy was always more into the bad boys than, say, Riley, and I am not sure that's the Great Example-Setting you seem to be suggesting. Not that a teenage supernatural TV show needs to set a great example, any more than a teen vampire romance series does! It's just... I think Buffy and Bella have more in common than perhaps you realize.

When does Edward rape Bella? If anything, she's the sexual agressor of the two. And when does he emotionally abuse/manipulate her any more than she does him? (I concede the sneakily watching her sleep thing is just plain disturbing, but the throwing her into a wall was accidental.)

I_Slap_Raptors @ 24

I concur! I read a lot of Enid Blyton as a kid, and yet am not now racist, xenophobic, sexist, elitist, vocabulary-challenged or have a tremendous appetite for something called "blancmange".

My sympathies to you on the Sweet Valley High situation. My teenage bugabear was those Virginia Andrews Flowers in the Attic books that all my friends insisted I read. Talk about your squickier elements!
Brandon Wood
26. brad21088
Yeah, a story about a girl with Stockholm's Syndrome marrying her captor is MUCH better than Twilight. *eye roll*

I'm not saying Beauty and the Beast is a horrible story, just that you can look at it that way, just like you can look at Twilight and see a weird relationship between a 109 year old and an 18 year old, or you can just... not do that. Also, Edward never rapes Bella and he was never physically abusive to her. Further, while he may have been uninvited, he wasn't at all unwanted, plus you have to factor in the whole "he's a vampire" thing, and at first is really struggling with not drinking her blood. Obviously if this happened in real life we would have a Big Effing Problem, but it's a vampire fantasy story. I'm not a huge Twilight fan but I think taking a massive dump on the stories is pretty ridiculous. You didn't like the books (if you ever read them; maybe you just don't like what you've heard of them). That's fine. But I don't understand why people make it seem like Twilight is something that it isn't. It's not some horrible, anti-feminist, subversive series. It's a YA series about a vampire and an angsty girl, just as Beauty and the Beast is a story about a French girl who falls in love with a cursed prince and helps him break that curse, rather than being a story about a girl who's kidnapped by a monster.
Rachel Hyland
27. RachelHyland
brad21088 @ 26

Get out of my head! Belle totally has Stockholm Syndrome! I was just thinking that the other day.

Could not agree with you more on this whole thing. (Well, except for the not-being-a-huge-Twilight-fan part, that is.) Nicely done.
Daniel Brown
28. I_Slap_Raptors
RachelHyland @ 25

Flowers in the Attic? I remember going to stay with my Nana for a weekend and forgetting to pack any books. All she had were Mills & Boon romances, Flowers in the Attic and one of the sequels, something about thorns, I think. Worst. Weekend. Ever!

Meanwhile, back on topic...

Sure, Twilight has a few squicky ideals in there (for a given value of "squick"), but so does an awful lot of YA, going back for a number of years, depending on where you're standing. Coming from a family of working class, liberal, leftists I found Enid Blyton gave me the dry heaves, while a wealthy, conservative, relation I went to spend a few weeks in the summer with was horrified at the anarchy and violence in Michael de Larrabeiti's Borrible trilogy, which I was reading at the time.

Different stories set off different alarm bells for different readers, depending on where you're already stood on the issues raised. I've known people to complain about Twilight's assumed message, while thinking Heathcliffe (from Wuthering Heights, not the cartoon cat) was the most dreamy male character ever committed to paper. Figure that one out, without your head exploding! I figure that Sparkleboy™ and Moody Scrappy-Doo™ are two of the dopiest romantic leads in history, but then again, I'm not the target audience. The people who would be reading Wuthering Heights or Pride & Prejudice are, so they'll swoon appropriately. The Twilight fans are no different from the hordes of women who turn up for every new version of Pride & Prejudice (zombies optional) that gets put on film. I'm happy to let them enjoy their unrealistic ideal male, if they'll let me enjoy my unrealistic ideal female. (Faith from Buffy, if anyone cares. Evil Badass Faith, not mopey remorseful Faith from later on)
Alex Brown
29. AlexBrown
Wow. And here I thought I'd just get a bunch of Twihards screaming about how Edward is sooooo dreamy. Never thought the comments would turn into a strange sort of feminist debate. I feel like I should've written this for Jezebel.com. Though I still maintain that throwing your girlfriend into a wall and calling it accidental is on the same plane as beating your girlfriend's face in and apologizing afterward saying "Why do you make me hurt you?"

I_Slap_Raptors @ 28: Lookit, I'm willing to accept that people have different opinions about stuff, but please please please don't put Twilight in to the same category as Pride and Prejudice. There is absolutely nothing at all similar between the two except that there is a love story in there. Meyer and Austen should only even be mentioned in the same sentence if being used as examples of terrible, awful, horrible, no-good fiction (Meyer obvs) and incredible, fantastic, excellent literature (Austen obvs).
Rachel Hyland
30. RachelHyland
Milo1313 @ 29

Oh, I love me some Austen (am such a devoted fan that Pride and Prejudice isn't even my favorite), and yet I get what our friend I_Slap_Raptors is saying here. Darcy and Edward are equally as idealised, and really, if you want to talk about your "emotional abuse" look no further than our cravat-wearing hero. He was horrible to poor Lizzie... not to mention how he high-handedly broke up Bingley and Jane.

And don't forget, P&P and its cousins weren't always considered the epitome of all that is precious and rare as they are now. There was a time when they were accounted what we'd call "pulp romance." So, hey, maybe in a couple of hundred years Twilight and its sequels will likewise be seen as classic literature.

(No, okay, probably not.)

Though I still maintain that throwing your girlfriend into a wall and calling it accidental is on the same plane as beating your girlfriend's face in and apologizing afterward saying "Why do you make me hurt you?"

Reflexively throwing your girlfriend into a wall because you're trying to keep her safe after reading in your adopted step-brother's vampire mind that he wants to rip said girlfriend's throat out and feast on her delicious, delicious blood... y'know, I think that's okay.

I_Slap_Raptors @ 28

Faith is the hottest of all hotness ever to be hot. Any Faith is a good Faith, reformed or no. Always five by five!
Ellie Angel
31. Ellie_Angel
RachelHyland, I feel about Twilight as I felt about Phantom of the Opera when I was about 12.

The music was amazing. The set was amazing. The story was amazing, although I think I was aware even then that Christine was kinda lame. But the Phantom loved her and he was so misunderstood and awesome. And, damn, it would be so great if someone felt that way about me.

When I saw the recent movie adaptation a couple years ago, I couldn't believe I'd invested so much time and energy in a story that was so disturbing in terms of what it said about love and people and why they do stuff. It's basically obsession dressed up as love. Which is what this franchise is about.

(Well-argued review here about the ugliness of Meyer's philosophic worldview: http://www.hitfix.com/blogs/2008-12-6-motion-captured/posts/the-m-c-review-the-twilight-saga-eclipse)

Also, the difference between Edward and Bella and Austen's Darcy and Elizabeth is that the latter are equals and the former are not. There is a significant power imbalance in the relationship that hinges on Bella's negative self-worth and his "awesomeness". Neither is questioned or analyzed. The characters never come to any realization about themselves or the other person. It is the status quo the whole way through.

Elizabeth without Darcy would still be interesting, and is for long sections of the book. Bella without her interspecies love-triangle would be . . . well, what exactly?

Case in point: if you had a rich immortal boyfriend who could fund your education at the best schools on Earth and your response to his repeated offers to help you experience more and make something of yourself is "meh, I don't want to get a year older, kill me already" I really hope someone would read you the riot act.

Buffy had its issues, particularly as the series unfolded, but it was always about HER evolution and HER choices--good, bad, fucked up, whatever. Her love interests were her equals (in one case her inferior in her eyes) and never more central to the story than she herself.

Twilight might be narrated by Bella, but it is about the ideal of Edward, her obsession with that ideal, and her lack of worth in the face of it. If he wasn't addicted to the smell of her blood (seriously?), why would he be interested in his creepy super-fan?

The cultural eureka moment is coming and when it does, Twilight will be that thing that recreates the experience of being young and awkward and having a crush on an elusive boy.

In the meantime, it's the depth of the hysteria that grates.
Alex Brown
32. AlexBrown
Ellie_Angel @ 31: Thank you, thank you, thank you. I'm not going to keep arguing back and forth with people, but thank you :)
Aslansjoy
33. Colleen T
I completely agree with you! "The series teaches girls that it’s okay to be passive and let your jerkface boyfriend literally throw you around, dictate the entire nature of your relationship and otherwise emotionally abuse and psychologically manipulate you."

I think the books reek of females are below male attitudes! So, maybe it's a good thing you haven't read them, as I'm sure it would enrage you to no end.

Also, what is with this lately anyway? (I'm 24 and write for the young adult genre; many of the books I read are in this category.) There are far too many YA novels portraying weak female characters who constantly think about, swoon over, and desperately fall in love with the male characters.

There is nothing wrong with falling in love. I remember it to be the most wonderful feeling in the entire world at that age, but I think that can be conveyed without the female being lost to the male. For example, when Eddie leaves Bells she's found curled up in the dirt and darkness, unable to move or think, and then all she does is sit around moping for the next ten billion years.

Another series about vampires which involves a girl who attends Evernight Academy also features a weak female character. This girl has the upper hand, but somehow you hear her constantly talking how cute he is, oh look at his beautiful face, he's so perfect, oh I just can't live without him kind of talk... Even when he's been a jerk!

I'm waiting for the strong female character to show up. Someone new, not Buffy. I don't need to hear about past characters. I'm finding myself ever tired of opening these books written by my counterparts to see they are full of weak girls.

Anyway, enjoyed your post :)
Alex Brown
34. AlexBrown
Colleen T @ 33: I've decided that the market is somehow being redirected back toward Gothic heroines. Still haven't decided if it's a natural ebb and flow reaction against post-postmodernism feminism (of which I am a charter member), or if it's something more sinister, a la A Handmaid's Tale...
Aslansjoy
36. TMuscat
Ellie_Angel @31: I agree.

But about the point you made on the Phantom of the Opera: True, the Phantom's love is more of an obsession, but ultimately he loses Christine to Raoul's love. And ultimately some form of love may have been present after all, as the Phantom let her go with Raoul, choosing her happiness over his own.

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