Posts Tagged ‘Twilight’
It’s true. I’m intrigued by the phenomenon of Twilight because I think it’s pretty bad yet it’s really popular, as we all know. I saw Twilight (a couple times, actually) and it was bad too, but at least kind of entertaining. I’m sad (but not too surprised) to report that New Moon wasn’t even kind of entertaining…it was just bad.
I think we are well aware of the overall anti-feminist tones and feminist critiques of the Twilight saga (even if you don’t agree with those critiques, you are probably at least aware of those critiques), so I’m not going to delve too much into some of the already discussed critiques. I can talk about how the Twilight saga is all about sex and has created (ok, I don’t know about created, but definitely made popular) the genre of abstinence porn. I could go on for a while about the anti-feminist themes of Twilight, but that’s not really what I want to do in this post, I just want to talk about the movie New Moon and some of the things that I found deeply disturbing.
Before I get into it too much, I just want to make a comment about just how bad I thought the movie was. The acting was horrible and forced, the storyline was boring, there was not a whole lot of plot. Not really a whole lot of redeeming value. I had heard so much about how the book New Moon was so much better than Twilight so I was expecting the movie to be better as well, but it wasn’t. I don’t even know how the book could have been better because it would have been like 400 pages with not a whole lot of plot.
But past there being no plot, there was an overwhelming theme of protection in the movie. Both Edward and Jacob say some form of the phrase “it’s my job to protect you” to Bella at some point throughout the movie. I’m sorry, but no, it’s not your job. You just think that the man has to protect the woman and that no other man should tough the woman because she belongs to you. Edward even tells her not to be reckless after he leaves her — a way of controlling Bella even after he is out of her life.
And Bella, she’s just hopeless without a man. She repeatedly participates in “reckless” behavior as a way to see a vision of Edward telling her not to do something. There’s a whole scene of her sitting in front of a window with the months passing around her and having bad dreams after Edward leaves her because she can’t bring herself to do anything without him.
I just have to say that I found it really hard to pay attention to the movie because it didn’t have much of a plot and I was just bored throughout. I even found it hard to pay attention to the extremely problematic aspects of the movie because of this. But one thing that I want to bring up as well is the representation of the Native American tribe and the group of werewolves. When I was visitng friends this weekend, one of my friends and I were talking about the movie. We talked about how the representation of the werewolves as part of a Native American tribe and always showing them without shirts on, just in shorts, just adds to the stereotypes of Native Americans as beast-like. I’m sorry, but does this seem pretty racist to anyone else?
And then can we just talk about the poster that I have included in this post? Bella is portrayed as unconscious (possibly dead). And Edward and Jacob surround her picture as a way of protecting her unconscious body. She has no agency in this picture, and not really in the movie either. I just can’t believe that people thought this was a good promotional poster.
One thing that I did like about the movie was Dakota Fanning. Sometimes she really gets on my nerves, but she has been taking more serious, adult roles recently which I like to see. I’m not saying that New Moon is necessarily a serious or adult role, but she did do a good job. She was only on-screen for approximately five minutes as a member of the powerful vampire family, the Volturi. She was pretty hard-core and I actually enjoyed seeing her in that part of the movie.
So, overall, if you are not absolutely in love with the books, I would not recommend seeing this movie. The funny thing is, I was expecting this movie to be better than the first because I’ve heard the second book is better than the first. It was not. And I heard from people that I respect (who also happen to like the books, and yes, I still hold some respect for them despite that fact), that it was a great movie. I just don’t understand, because it wasn’t. It wasn’t even mildly entertaining like some bad movies are. I just can’t fully wrap my head around the Twilight phenomenon. I understand that some people like the “dark romance” “undying love” aspect of it, but it’s just not good writing, acting, or storytelling. There are other series that have the “dark romance” vampire stuff that are much better written and translated to film or television.
Ok, Twilight fans are seriously getting a little out of control. They are just a little too obsessive. And about a story about a stalker and a girl who doesn’t realize she’s in an abusive relationships.
Some of the reasons why I think Twilight fans are getting a little out of control:
- You can now have your very own stalker – Robert Pattinson style. You can purchase an outline of Edward Cullen to paste onto your bedroom wall so he can watch you sleep, just like he watches Bella. Just what I always wanted – a shadowy figure hanging out in my bedroom while I sleep. Twilight fans see Edward’s stalker tendancies as romantic, but they really aren’t. There’s nothing romantic about a stalker. Portraying stalking as romantic is just encouraging abusive relationships – Edward treats Bella like his possession istead of an autonomous human being. (h/t to o filthy grandeur!)
- Edward Cullen Ken and Bella Barbie. Is there anything more to say? You can now buy Barbie’s designed after your favorite Twilight characters. Now you can play with the dolls while you watch the movie and reenact your favorite stalker-y scenes.
- Twilight fans can’t take criticism. Jezebel has a post about how Twilight fans, unlike die-hard fans of Harry Potter, LotR, Star Wars, and Star Trek, can’t take criticism of their beloved movie. Fans of other movies can take jokes about said movie – and even sometimes are the ones that make the joke. But Twilight fans cannot handle any ill-mouthed words. They are so connected with the characters of Twilight, that they cannot picture anything wrong with them. Never mind the fact that it portrays an abusive relationship (not only emotionally abusive, but sometimes physically as can be seen in the New Moon trailer) and a girl who is always in need of being saved. It’s apparenlty the best piece of literature and the best movie ever made.
Even though I am weirdly fascinated by the phenomenon that is Twilight, the phenomenon has recently gotten too out of hand than I can handle. Recently at a block party, my twelve-year-old neighbor, whom I know very well, made a comment that caught me off guard. I knew she really liked the Twilight series – she’s read the book, owns the movie, and is anxiously awaiting New Moon. When we were filling out name tags for the block party she randomly (and i mean this is completely out of the blue) says, “If we had to put one fact about ourselves on here, I would put ‘I love Jacob,’” (for those of you who don’t know, Jacob is the werewolf in Twilight that is in love with Bella).
People’s lives are becoming consumed by Twilight. It’s gone from a phenomenon to a lifestyle. And that’s what scares me. Edward is seen as romantic instead of a possessive stalker, like he really is. But that’s nothing really new. What’s getting out of hand is the increase of marketing and profiting off of promoting Edward as romantic, especially with the wall decal pictured above. The wall decal of Edward also comes with the words “Be Safe.” Maybe it’s just me, but I don’t exactly feel safe with a shadowy figure hanging out in my bedroom.
What is America’s obsession with vampires? I’ll admit, I’ve fallen into this obsession. It all started with Buffy, which I only started watching earlier this year, and now I’m into True Blood as well. There’s also Twilight, which I have a weird fascination with as I’ve talked about before. As much as I love these vampire shows (Buffy and True Blood, that is), why is America obsessed with them? And why am I obsessed with them? (My obsession might have something to do with my obsession with pop culture and TV shows in general, but maybe it’s something more too since America seems obsessed with them as well.)
I loved Buffy because the character was a strong woman who saved the world on numerous occasions which is such a rare occurrence in media today. Even though Buffy had the help of many strong men, she was the one in charge and the one who ultimately would save the day. True Blood centers around a strong female character, Sookie Stackhouse, and her relationship with a vampire, Bill. While Sookie often needs rescuing, she can stand up for herself. My weird obsession with Twilight has more to do with my lack of understanding for the obsession with the phenomenon. Bella is not strong, cannot stand up for herself, and constantly needs to be saved by Edward. And Edward is basically a creepy stalker. I prefer Buffy and True Blood because of the strong female characters, where as Twilight is a feminist nightmare. But why does America like vampires?
In the New York Times article “A Trend With Teeth,” Ruth La Ferla examines the appeal of vampires. She states,
The vampire’s attraction is “all about the titillation of imagining the monsters we could be if we just let ourselves go,” suggested Rick Owens, a fashion bellwether whose goth-tinged collections sometimes evoke the undead. “We’re all fascinated with corruption, the more glamorous the better” and, he added, with the idea of “devouring, consuming, possessing someone we desire.”
Dodai from Jezebel wrote a similar, yet feminist, article titled “Women Play Mostly Supporting Role Within Male-Dominated “Trend”“. To explain America’s fascination with vampires, she proposes,
But in a new interview with True Blood series creator Alan Ball, he says: “Vampires are sex. Vampires basically arose in our time as a metaphor for sex. I mean, vampires are sort of the ultimate Romantic rock star, bad boy or girl fantasy.”
So, if vampires are all about sex, it’s no surprise that America has an obsession with them. Especially with the ‘abstinence porn’ that is Twilight. This series is all about sexual control, in a very sexualized way.
But why do we always see male vampires? Buffy had Angel and Spike. Twilight has Edward. True Blood has Bill and Eric. One of the few exceptions is the newly made vampire Jessica in True Blood, who is a whiny teenager who is still learning to control her impulses. There is also Drusilla in Buffy who is very mentally disturbed.
Why is it always the men that embody sex, dominate women, and possess others? Why can’t women be in these powerful roles? And why is it that when women are vampires, as in Jessica and Drusilla, they are in some way less than the male vampires, whether through age and experience or mental capability?
“Bloodsucking is a boys world,” according to the Jezebel article. It then goes on to describe the online phenomenon that was the video of Buffy ‘dusting’ Edward.
Jonathan McIntosh, who created the clip, says: More than just a showdown between The Slayer and the Sparkly Vampire, it’s also a humorous visualization of the metaphorical battle between two opposing visions of gender roles in the 21ist century […] In the end the only reasonable response was to have Buffy stake Edward – not because she didn’t find him sexy, not because he was too sensitive or too eager to share his feelings – but simply because he was possessive, manipulative, and stalkery.
I guess that what we need to combat the male domination of the vampire world is digitally created video of two different shows mashed together.
I wonder if a show or movie centering around a female vampire will ever be as popular as Buffy, Twilight, or True Blood? Sure there are powerful female characters in two out of three of those, but they are not vampires. When will women be able to embody sex and sexuality like men as vampires?