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November 18, 2009 9:29 AM   Subscribe

"YOU CAN HAVE THE FURRY ONE, I WANT THE ONE THAT SPARKLES." Fan posters at the Twilight: New Moon premiere.
posted by ocherdraco (179 comments total) 8 users marked this as a favorite

 
EVERONE KEEPS TALKING ABOUT HOW EDWARD IS HOTTEST BUT I THINK ITS PRETY CLEAR TEAM JACOB IS THE ONE FOR ME BECAUSE WHO IS BETTER FOR BELLA IS THE QUESTION YOU SHOULD BE ASKING

HE TURNS INTO A WOLF BECAUSE OF HIS NATIVES AMERICAN CURSE BUT IT IS ALSO A BLESSING

ALSO HE CUTS HIS HAIR BUT I THINK HE LOOKS GOOD BOTH WAYS

GO TEAM JACOB!~!!!!!!!!!!!
posted by Greg Nog at 9:31 AM on November 18, 2009 [13 favorites]


I think it's entirely possible to appreciate the spirit that moves people to go out and be silly in public and find them totally and unfortunately ridiculous at the same time. These are awesome.
posted by hermitosis at 9:32 AM on November 18, 2009 [8 favorites]


You know, when I'm 300 year old vampire (it's going to happen, just wait), I just know that above and beyond anything I'm going to want a deep, meaningful connection - the kind of connection that can only be formed with a 16 year old girl.

For sure.
posted by kbanas at 9:34 AM on November 18, 2009 [45 favorites]


"RPATTZ DOESN'T BOWL
HE STRIKES 1 PIN DOWN & THE OTHER 9 FAINT"

Robert Pattinson has become the swooning dreamboat Chuck Norris.
posted by Dr-Baa at 9:34 AM on November 18, 2009 [4 favorites]


I want my vampires bursting into flames.
posted by rokusan at 9:34 AM on November 18, 2009 [3 favorites]


kbanas, Edward is only, like, 100. Duh.
posted by amro at 9:36 AM on November 18, 2009 [1 favorite]


Memo to aliens who are struggling to understand humanity:

Good luck with that.
posted by brain_drain at 9:37 AM on November 18, 2009 [9 favorites]


Your favorite SF/fantasy franchise sucks.
posted by Joe Beese at 9:37 AM on November 18, 2009


>
Where are the romance novels about alien Grays? I mean, Paranormal Activity is doing well, so why not capitalize by making something for the tweens?
posted by mccarty.tim at 9:39 AM on November 18, 2009


Anyone who even understands these posters has no real claim of superiority over those who made them.
posted by DU at 9:40 AM on November 18, 2009 [2 favorites]


I'm so very scared.
posted by The Whelk at 9:41 AM on November 18, 2009


I actually think that one sign reads, "I WANT TO BE A STUPID LAMB," as in sheeple, but I like the "stupid lamp" interpretation better.
posted by misha at 9:41 AM on November 18, 2009 [1 favorite]


Where are the romance novels about alien Grays? I mean, Paranormal Activity is doing well, so why not capitalize by making something for the tweens?

Paranormal Activity is about woo-woo occultism and showcases a Ouija board. Though I agree that a romance about the Grays would rock.
posted by hermitosis at 9:43 AM on November 18, 2009


I hadn't even heard of Twilight until a few days ago. Is it popular simply because every new generation needs its own iteration of vampires to identify with?
posted by Burhanistan at 9:43 AM on November 18, 2009


So are we culturally numb, or completely dead?
posted by boo_radley at 9:44 AM on November 18, 2009


Also, anyone that disses Twilight's older-vampire/young-girl relationship as anti-feminist but praises the feminism of Buffy has another think coming.
posted by DU at 9:45 AM on November 18, 2009 [2 favorites]


Hey, you know, if it gets them reading...

...no, you know what? Not reading would be better than this. If all you read is Twilight, please just don't read.

I know, this is the movie. I'm trying to just overlook that, you know, keep the despair a little bit at bay.
posted by rusty at 9:46 AM on November 18, 2009 [1 favorite]


Not reading would be better than this. If all you read is Twilight, please just don't read.

I will say this, my sister read the Twilight books obsessively, and when she was finished with them she felt a pang of loss because, you know, now she had nothing to read, so I leaped in and milk-fed her a couple of early Margaret Atwood novels and now she's reading things like Nicholas Nickelby and The Grapes of Wrath of her own volition. Those Twilight books have wound up opening a whole new realm of things for she and I to discuss together via literature.
posted by hermitosis at 9:48 AM on November 18, 2009 [19 favorites]


Also, anyone that disses Twilight's older-vampire/young-girl relationship as anti-feminist but praises the feminism of Buffy has another think coming.

I have not read or seen Twilight, but my impression is that it's a very different dynamic. With Buffy you have a strong, independent woman who kicks ass and takes names. The protagonist (Bella?) in Twilight seems more a.. well, it makes me uneasy, something about it. The way in the trailers and such she seems kind of co-dependent and must cling to Edward for protection and love and... it.. something about it seems different. And kind of unsettling.
posted by kbanas at 9:48 AM on November 18, 2009 [4 favorites]


My favorite part of Twilight is the fact that the guy who plays Edward thinks the story is stupid and hates the fans.
posted by Caduceus at 9:49 AM on November 18, 2009 [40 favorites]


Loving the Wayne's World reference on this one. Oh, fans. Never change.
posted by marginaliana at 9:50 AM on November 18, 2009 [1 favorite]


Like, what's this stupid little lamb stuff? And why do women seem to identify with it and wear it with a badge of pride? I've seen scores of shirts and stuff that say as much. Like, what's that about?
posted by kbanas at 9:51 AM on November 18, 2009


Caduceus: "My favorite part of Twilight is the fact that the guy who plays Edward thinks the story is stupid and hates the fans."

And he smells.
posted by Joe Beese at 9:52 AM on November 18, 2009 [1 favorite]


My favorite part of Twilight is the fact that the guy who plays Edward thinks the story is stupid and hates the fans.
posted by Caduceus at 12:49 PM on November 18


quote or link please! i'd love to hear/read this for real.
posted by cristinacristinacristina at 9:53 AM on November 18, 2009


With Buffy you have a strong, independent woman who kicks ass and takes names.

No you don't. Buffy spends 70% of her time moping and 25% pining after whatshisname. And she's a high school student during at least part of the time this 250 year old man is literally stalking her. It's creepy and would alone be enough to put me off Whedon if almost everything else he'd done hadn't already done it.
posted by DU at 9:54 AM on November 18, 2009 [2 favorites]


Like, what's this stupid little lamb stuff? And why do women seem to identify with it and wear it with a badge of pride? I've seen scores of shirts and stuff that say as much. Like, what's that about?

I've never read the books or seen the movies, but it's almost certain that at some point someone calls Bella a stupid little lamb for continuing to love and support Edward.
posted by Caduceus at 9:54 AM on November 18, 2009


Like, what's this stupid little lamb stuff?

BECAUSE THE LAMB FALL IN LOVE WITH THE LION (READ BIBLE TO GET THE REFERENCE) AND EDWARD IS A LION AND IN THE FIRST ONE HE SAY "WE'RE LIKE LION AND LAMB" AND BELLA SAYS LIKE "I GUESS IM A PRETTY STUPID LAMB" AN EDWARD IS LIKE "I AM A PRETTY MASOCHISTIC LION"

BUT THATS JUST GRIM THINGS THEY SAY BECAUSE THEYRE IN LOVE, THEY LIE DOWN IN THE SUN AFTER THAT AND HE SPARKELES
posted by Greg Nog at 9:54 AM on November 18, 2009 [60 favorites]


I hadn't even heard of Twilight until a few days ago.

Do I have to be the one to fall for this? It's just...really?
posted by kittyprecious at 9:57 AM on November 18, 2009


Who wants to organize a Vampire: The Masquerade LARP this weekend? Free body glitter for new players! C'mon, who's with me?
posted by GameDesignerBen at 9:58 AM on November 18, 2009 [2 favorites]


Jesus H. Christ, I just snorted. Thanks, Greg Nog. I have no idea what any of that means but it is fucking hilarious.
posted by Loto at 9:59 AM on November 18, 2009 [1 favorite]


"Where are the romance novels about alien Grays? I mean, Paranormal Activity is doing well, so why not capitalize by making something for the tweens?"

Let me introduce you to The Greatest Book Series In The Whole World, an original sci-fi parody of the Twilight series, complete with slimy aliens, hot makeouts, cyborgs, and plans to blow up the earth.
posted by ShawnStruck at 10:00 AM on November 18, 2009 [5 favorites]


Oh, so that's where all the irony went. Someone hid it under this pile of "stupid little lamb" t-shirts.
posted by Spatch at 10:01 AM on November 18, 2009


Do I have to be the one to fall for this? It's just...really?

Why is that so hard to believe? I'm sure there are lots of things that I know about that I think are commonplace but that you don't know anything about. I consider it a blessing that I don't know about the latest tween supernatural fiction craze.
posted by Burhanistan at 10:01 AM on November 18, 2009


Stephenie Meyers: The Comic Book

there is no god
posted by robocop is bleeding at 10:02 AM on November 18, 2009 [3 favorites]


My favorite part of Twilight is the fact that the guy who plays Edward thinks the story is stupid and hates the fans.
posted by Caduceus at 12:49 PM on November 18

quote or link please! i'd love to hear/read this for real.


From an interview with Pattinson in Empire:
"When you read the book," says Pattinson, looking appropriately pallid and interesting even without makeup, "it's like, 'Edward Cullen was so beautiful I creamed myself.' I mean, every line is like that. He's the most ridiculous person who's so amazing at everything. I think a lot of actors tried to play that aspect. I just couldn't do that. And the more I read the script, the more I hated this guy, so that's how I played him, as a manic-depressive who hates himself. Plus, he's a 108-year-old virgin so he's obviously got some issues there."
And an interview with E! Online:
Pattinson: Well, I mean, I think people -- there's a thing about the books where, uh, when I was reading them, I, ugh, I didn't know how to read it from, you know, teenage g-- or any woman's perspective, I guess. I don't really know why they like it. But what I thought was weird about it, the, what, the reaction I had with it was ... umm.... When I read it, it seemed like (grimaces) I was convinced that ... Stephenie was ... convinced that she was Bella, and uh, and you, it wasn't, it was like it was a book that wasn't supposed to be published, like reading her ... her sort of sexual fantasy about some -- especially when she says that it was based on a dream, and it's like, "Oh, then I had a dream about this really sexy guy" and she just writes this book about it, and there's some things about Edward that are just so specific that it's like, I was just convinced that, that this woman is mad, she's completely mad, and she's in love with her own fictional creation and I -- sometimes you, like, feel uncomfortable reading this thing, and I think a lot of people feel the same way, that it's kind of voyeuristic, ah, and it creates this sick pleasure in a lot of ways. But then it kind of introduces a lot of the, the action elements and it's very honest and really really honest and that's kind of what's weird about it.
(Both links via Cleolinda's heroic devotion to chronicling the madness.)
posted by penguinliz at 10:04 AM on November 18, 2009 [42 favorites]


I am both appalled and amused that MeFites even know what Twilight is.
posted by heyho at 10:07 AM on November 18, 2009


Thanks, ShawnStruck. Dreams really do come true.
posted by mccarty.tim at 10:08 AM on November 18, 2009


I remember being just a little be shocked when I found out that most of the 'home made' posters they hold up in the crowd of wrestling matches are actually supplied by the tv companies... but I don't think it's the case with these somehow.
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 10:10 AM on November 18, 2009 [1 favorite]


What the whole "Team" thing? Can someone please explain?
posted by yeti at 10:10 AM on November 18, 2009


I'm on Team BLADE.
posted by Uther Bentrazor at 10:11 AM on November 18, 2009


I am both appalled and amused that MeFites even know what Twilight is.

It was metafilter that introduced me to Sparkle Motion !
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 10:14 AM on November 18, 2009 [1 favorite]


What the whole "Team" thing? Can someone please explain?

IIRC

During the Vietnam war, Team Edward belonged to the US military, framed for a bank robbery they didn't commit, they escaped to the underground of where ever Twilight takes place. The team is made up of Edward, an older leader type. A musclebound guy afraid to fly on airplanes, an attractive "face" man, and a crazy pilot sort. They can build weapons out of anything. They help the oppressed for money.
posted by drezdn at 10:17 AM on November 18, 2009 [23 favorites]


I feel old. Also jealous at how much fun these people are having.
posted by Nelson at 10:19 AM on November 18, 2009


It was metafilter that introduced me to Sparkle Motion !

Now let's not bring Donnie Darko into this. That will just confuse everything.
posted by amro at 10:19 AM on November 18, 2009 [2 favorites]


I am both appalled and amused that MeFites even know what Twilight is.

Are you kidding? It's the perfect media storm of meta. You have entire websites devoted to Twilight hate and collecting mostly-fictional stories about provoking crazy interactions with Twilight fans. You have both the science fiction and comic book fanboy media bitching at every opportunity about yet another violation of the boyzone. And to cap it all off, you have the MSM punditry masturbating about what the whole thing means in relationship to literacy, feminism, romance fiction, horror fiction, and heterosexuality.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 10:19 AM on November 18, 2009 [3 favorites]


Team Jacob is another story.

Jacob's dad was a brilliant inventor/adventurer, but Jacob is just lazy. He has two sons who have died many times over, but it doesn't matter because there were plenty of clones available. Unfortunately, last year Jacob's clone technology was destroyed, and now Jacob has a pedophile bodyguard (whose urges are kept in check by a chemical) who has to keep an extra close eye on his two sons.

Go Team Jacob!
posted by drezdn at 10:20 AM on November 18, 2009 [15 favorites]


Where did this trend of people calling themselves "Team _" come from? I first heard about it with "Team Kate" from John & Kate + 8.

WTF?

(also, I see yeti asked the same question)
posted by delmoi at 10:20 AM on November 18, 2009


These are all hysterically fabulous
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 10:24 AM on November 18, 2009 [2 favorites]


delmoi: "Where did this trend of people calling themselves "Team _" come from?"

I believe it started with Team Aniston vs. Team Jolie. But I could be wrong.
posted by Joe Beese at 10:25 AM on November 18, 2009


KirkJobSluder, I wasn't kidding. Then I saw the Sparkle Motion thing, and... wow. I had this instant flashback to missing the schoolbus back in fourth grade: a little bit of panic at being left behind, a little bit of "whew, I've been spared."

Link me to this?: You have entire websites devoted to .... collecting mostly-fictional stories about provoking crazy interactions with Twilight fans. It sounds delightfully stupid (and like something I should maybe be exposed to).
posted by heyho at 10:26 AM on November 18, 2009


hermitosis: I guess that's good to hear. Still though. It's just... it's just hard, you know? Jesus, I need another drink.
posted by rusty at 10:29 AM on November 18, 2009 [1 favorite]


I can understand the hype around Twilight, people get obsessive over certain movies, books, sports teams and computer operating system. But what crosses the line for me is that the first book cover is a woman's hands holding an apple. Now that woman is charging Twilight fans $30 for a picture with her. She has nothing to do with the book other then being on the cover but people are paying her $30 for a picture and autograph. That's taking things a little to far and a little to creepy for me.
posted by lilkeith07 at 10:35 AM on November 18, 2009 [1 favorite]


“Bella [Twilight’s female lead] is a responsible caretaker—she cooks, she cleans, she takes care of her family. Those are maternal traits that a lot of moms can relate to,” says Kirsten Starkweather, media director of TwilightMoms.com, a fan site with 34,000 registered members. And while Edward, Bella’s bloodsucking soul mate, has the moony eyes of a 17-year-old, he’s actually over 100. “His impeccable manners, his sense of morality, his way of speaking, they’re all old-fashioned,” says Starkweather. “More like a man in a nineteenth-century novel than a modern teenage boy.”
posted by Joe Beese at 10:36 AM on November 18, 2009


I am both appalled and amused that MeFites even know what Twilight is.

Well we're alive aren't we? I bet most of us know who the Jonas Brothers and Miley Cyrus and are.
posted by delmoi at 10:37 AM on November 18, 2009


We're seeing the logical conclusion of a generation raised by parents alive in 1968: namely, the subversion of older notions of heroism.

Who are the glorified in the films? The Pirates, the Vampires, the Werewolves--precisely the "villains" from previous generations. It's "Wicked" on the silver screen.

And its terribly interesting.
posted by jefficator at 10:37 AM on November 18, 2009 [1 favorite]


Needs a twitarded tag.
posted by butterstick at 10:38 AM on November 18, 2009


delmoi: Where did this trend of people calling themselves "Team _" come from?

It's clearly Stephanie Meyer's nod to The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou.
posted by shakespeherian at 10:39 AM on November 18, 2009 [6 favorites]


Now that woman is charging Twilight fans $30 for a picture with her.

Google image search results for Kimbra Hickey are pretty hilarious.
posted by delmoi at 10:40 AM on November 18, 2009 [2 favorites]


I dislike Twilight (a lot, in fact), but it seems like it's a female equivalent to muscle-bound-hero-saves-world-and-get-girl-with-large-bossom wish fulfillment that boys and man-children engage in on a regular basis without anyone batting an eye.

Also, Meyer has written an alien love story already, to those talking about it upthread. It continues her bizarre ideas of the lover as a parasite...

Stephenie Meyer, creator of the phenomenal teen-vamp Twilight series, takes paranormal romance into alien territory in her first adult novel. Those wary of sci-fi or teen angst will be pleasantly surprised by this mature and imaginative thriller, propelled by equal parts action and emotion. A species of altruistic parasites has peacefully assumed control of the minds and bodies of most humans, but feisty Melanie Stryder won't surrender her mind to the alien soul called Wanderer. Overwhelmed by Melanie's memories of fellow resistor Jared, Wanderer yields to her body's longing and sets off into the desert to find him. Likely the first love triangle involving just two bodies, it's unabashedly romantic, and the characters (human and alien) genuinely endearing. Readers intrigued by this familiar-yet-alien world will gleefully note that the story's end leaves the door open for a sequel--or another series
posted by codacorolla at 10:40 AM on November 18, 2009


codacorolla: Also, Meyer has written an alien love story already, to those talking about it upthread.

A coworker gave me a copy of that book. I couldn't get past page 1. Meyer is an abominable writer.
posted by shakespeherian at 10:43 AM on November 18, 2009 [1 favorite]


Who are the glorified in the films? The Pirates, the Vampires, the Werewolves--precisely the "villains" from previous generations. It's "Wicked" on the silver screen.

Oh please, anti-heros have always been popular. Look at the popularity of outlaws like Billy the Kid, Jessy James, and Bonnie and Clyde.
posted by delmoi at 10:44 AM on November 18, 2009 [4 favorites]


Look, we're talking about a group of fans who collectively do not seem to find anything at all wrong with putting the object of their wild frenzied desire's face on the crotch of their panties. I only wish I was joking.

Also - best sign ever in the upper right. Simple and to the point. LOOK AT MEEEEEE.
posted by elizardbits at 10:44 AM on November 18, 2009


It looks like I'm going to this movie.
My daughter wanted to see the first Twilight movie, so I took her on a Friday night last year and then afterwards we went to the Rivoli and shared calamari while she had a Coke and I had a pint and we talked about how silly the movie was. She thought it was the most fun thing, that we were out "late" on a Friday night at a Queen Street restaurant.
Turns out it's some sort of tradition now and my wife said that my daughter is really excited to go see this new one and then to the Rivoli again after.
From the ads it looks really quite awful; really bad wolf CGI, 17 year-olds with their shirts off. People are going to wonder why I'm there, with all the shrieking pre-teen girls.
Like the dad from Happiness or something.
posted by chococat at 10:47 AM on November 18, 2009 [4 favorites]


To the above examples of Twilight's Robert Pattinson scorning the book, I have a tale about his scorn for fans -- you may even be able to find this on Youtube.

While they were filming the first movie, they were on location and he walked from his trailer to the set -- and the gaggle of girls who'd been lingering behind a barrier hoping for a little glimpse of him all saw him and started shrieking. Some cameraman was waiting by the set to interview him for some entertainment fluff TV show, and the cameraman remarked on the screaming girls.

"Yeah, I heard them," Pattinson said. Then added, "....I thought it sounded kind of like what you'd hear at the gates of hell."
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 10:47 AM on November 18, 2009 [24 favorites]


I'm actually a bit sad that the only Alice Cullen-themed poster they showed was so tame.

Surely Team Alice: She always sees them coming would be appropriate?
posted by Katemonkey at 10:47 AM on November 18, 2009


You have both the science fiction and comic book fanboy media bitching at every opportunity about yet another violation of the boyzone.

I don't think the denizens of fandom_wank and affiliated communities would take too kindly to being called boyzone. Not that there hasn't been that kind of BS in the wider community. But don't make it seem as if that's the only reason people criticize Twilight.

The fact that some people hate something for shitty reasons doesn't mean there aren't good reasons to hate that something.
posted by kmz at 10:47 AM on November 18, 2009


Subconsciously, my mind was saying "GET TO THE FUCKING ALREADY!" and once my conscious mind figured that out, I was like "This book was written by a Mormon. There will be no fucking." And then, admittedly, I was a little annoyed. I almost wanted to write the sex scenes myself.
-- If I could review "Twilight" (the book) in three letters, they would be "WTF"
posted by namewithoutwords at 10:49 AM on November 18, 2009


"Yeah, I heard them," Pattinson said. Then added, "....I thought it sounded kind of like what you'd hear at the gates of hell."

I thought that was his description of the first Twilight panel at Comic-Con?
posted by kmz at 10:49 AM on November 18, 2009


The Millions has a recent article that compares Twilight to the eighteenth-century novel Pamela. Neat context for all this hype.
posted by gladly at 10:50 AM on November 18, 2009 [6 favorites]


The Team issue goes back even further than Meyer. It is an indicator of people taking sides in celebrity conflicts. For example, in 2007 people started taking sides and declaring their support for either Britney Spears or Kevin Federline in their custody issues. It is used a lot on Perez Hilton's site.
posted by onhazier at 10:52 AM on November 18, 2009


We're seeing the logical conclusion of a generation raised by parents alive in 1968: namely, the subversion of older notions of heroism.

I think not. As delmoi said, anti-heroes have always been popular. We're seeing the reiteration of very traditional notions of gender roles and the subversion of feminism under the guise of romanticized, pedophilic anti-hero-ish characters. We're seeing the assertion of conservative notions that women are weak, delicate homemakers who need to be (and get off on being) protected/owned/consumed by their paternalistic and creepy-ass male lovers. It is no mere coincidence that Stephanie Meyer is a Mormon, a faith that maintains pretty strict ideas about gender hierarchy.
posted by Saxon Kane at 10:53 AM on November 18, 2009 [4 favorites]


BTW, Cleolinda's page referenced above is an awesome resource for all things Twilight related.

Going a bit further afield, there's the Twilight journalfen comm and twilight tag on f_w.
posted by kmz at 10:53 AM on November 18, 2009


"It's like the sound you hear at the gates of hell."
posted by elizardbits at 10:53 AM on November 18, 2009 [1 favorite]


I dislike Twilight (a lot, in fact), but it seems like it's a female equivalent to muscle-bound-hero-saves-world-and-get-girl-with-large-bossom wish fulfillment that boys and man-children engage in on a regular basis without anyone batting an eye.

nnnnot so much. Because in the Musclebound-hero-saves-world trope, the musclebound hero is the active party. With TWILIGHT, the lovely young thing isnt' the one who goes out and kicks ass and gets the hot guy, the lovely young thing just stands there being lovely and everyone falls all over themselves to save HER.

A more accurate "female equivalent" of the musclebound-hero trope, to me, would be BUFFY. The "male equivalent" to TWILIGHT would be something like the story of a mild-mannered Walter Mitty type who has women getting into catfights around him because glasses get them hot, and all the while he just sits meekly in the middle.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 10:54 AM on November 18, 2009 [6 favorites]


Oh crap, messed up my second link: this should work.
posted by kmz at 10:55 AM on November 18, 2009


chococat: You are a damn good dad. One of the reasons that I don't want to have kids is because I don't think I could deal with indulging them in all the stupid shit kids tend to like. I'd just rant about how terrible Twilight is and how disappointed that a daughter of mine would fall for such tripe.
posted by Saxon Kane at 10:56 AM on November 18, 2009 [2 favorites]


> I only know who Miley Cyrus and Jonas Brothers are because of The Soup, but... whatever makes you feel alive is okay by me. (No sarcasm there, really.) I still find it amusing, and I like being amused, so I think I'll keep being amused.
posted by heyho at 10:57 AM on November 18, 2009


"When I read it, it seemed like (grimaces) I was convinced that ... Stephenie was ... convinced that she was Bella, and uh, and you, it wasn't, it was like it was a book that wasn't supposed to be published, like reading her ... her sort of sexual fantasy about some -- especially when she says that it was based on a dream, and it's like, "Oh, then I had a dream about this really sexy guy" and she just writes this book about it, and there's some things about Edward that are just so specific that it's like, I was just convinced that, that this woman is mad, she's completely mad, and she's in love with her own fictional creation"

Oh, it's better than that. Not only is Bella a total MarySue for Stephenie Meyer (Description of how Meyer sees Bella, Photo of Meyer), but Edward apparently bears striking similarities to Joseph Smith, founder of Mormonism and perfect Mormon man:
Every time SMeyers would write about Edward, I would just boggle. She was drawing from everything we Mormons were taught about Good Ol' Joe - he was handsome, shockingly so, he could draw you in with just his presence, let alone when he spoke, down to his freaking nose and hair color. HI THERE CREEPY AUTHOR WANTING TO BONE YOUR PROPHET. (I have no problem with bible slash, etc. Just... I don't think she knows she's doing it.) [...]

She is delicious, delicious meat to him, but he will hold back because she is the one, and although he doesn't understand it, he has waited almost 100 years for her. They were meant to be. Just like how Mormons believe they picked their spouses and families in the "pre-existence."

Edward is pure white (and delightsome. See: Book of Mormon's drumbeat that perfect, righteous people are white, or will be PERFECTED IN HEAVEN and made white. No, really. Six times it says that in particular.) and is hard as marble and smart as a crack on the cheek and cold as a bag of frozen peas. And when he steps into the sun, he DAZZLES! Without jazz hands!

Edward also doesn't believe in open mouth kissing, swearing, chewing tobacco, drinking caffeine, and enjoys time with his family. HE IS THE PERFECT MORMON BOY.[...]

Perfection = a constant drum beat in the Mormon church. You aren't supposed to try to be perfect, you are supposed to be perfect. Your family is the key to this, your family is the key to everything. Your happiness and most importantly, your backstage pass to get into the Penthouse Suite of Heaven where you live forever. Hey, what does that sound like? (One apostate can keep the whole family from heaven!)

Everyone in Edward's family is: you guessed it, perfect. They all look like they stepped out of a catalog. [...]

She goes back trying to convince Edward to dry hump her, which seriously: that would bruise. He's marble, remember? Edward is fey a gentleman and will not do anything unseemly, so they snuggle for like, eight pages or some shit. SMeyers is a total cock block, and I'll tell you something else: the fact that it is always EDWARD (the righteous white male priesthood holder) that controls the situation is so steeped in the church, I can't even begin. The male needs to be in charge and set the tone, because ladies are either unable to be turned on because of how holy they are, or need the strong, but firm and loving hand of their priesthood holder to guide them. BLECH.
There's a whole lot more (book two, book three, book four), and it's quite an entertaining read both on its own as a Twilight rant/synopsis and if you want the perspective of how a (former?) Mormon views the whole Twilight thing (Spoiler: IT"S ALL ABOUT Mormonism), but... Yeah, I can't hear anything about the books OR Meyer without immediately thinking "Stephenie Meyer had a sex dream about Joseph Smith and millions off of it." So there's that.
posted by Captain Cardanthian! at 11:01 AM on November 18, 2009 [29 favorites]


I didn't know much about Twilight, and then I taught middle school for a little while. A girl would come in during lunch and say "Did I leave my Twilight book in here?" and I'd be like "You mean this one?" and she'd say, "no, not that one," and I'd be like, "Oh, you mean this one?" and she'd be like, "No, it's the one with the flower, I don't think it's in here."

Also pretty much every joke you can make about Twilight has already been thought of and used ad nauseam ago by a 12-year-old boy. I just kind of shrug now.
posted by molybdenumblue at 11:18 AM on November 18, 2009


EmpressCallipygos: A more accurate "female equivalent" of the musclebound-hero trope, to me, would be BUFFY. The "male equivalent" to TWILIGHT would be something like the story of a mild-mannered Walter Mitty type who has women getting into catfights around him because glasses get them hot, and all the while he just sits meekly in the middle.

I think the problem highlighted by comparing Twilight to Stallone movies is that they both feed off of traditional gender roles-- I'd argue that Buffy isn't merely romanticized-comfort-food-escapism because it features a non-traditional, empowered female, and thus, in standard Western society, challenges viewers the way that junk food doesn't. There's also a patriarchal women-are-sexual-objects argument to be made against your proposed Walter Mitty story, but the problem shared by musclebound-hero films and the Twilight films is that they both feed into how their respective audiences already are likely to enjoy imagining themselves-- Bella isn't a Welcome to the Dollhouse-style wallflower that the hot vampire likes despite what her peers think, she's incredibly popular at her school, and doesn't even have to act in order to get everything she wants.
posted by shakespeherian at 11:21 AM on November 18, 2009


A good point, shakespeherian, about how each trope feeds into the whole gender-relations status quo; what I dislike about this, however, is precisely THAT it feeds into the gender-relations status quo. I also disagree with the idea that the fantasy of the "musclebound hero" is appealing to guys because they're thinking, "whee, I would get to uphold the patriarchal paradigm!" It's more a gut-level "whee, I get to do awesome shit!"

I think I was more comparing actions than gender roles in terms of equating things to each other, in other words. You have a good point.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 11:28 AM on November 18, 2009


Everyone in Edward's family is: you guessed it, perfect. They all look like they stepped out of a catalog. [...]

Reminds me of this blog I saw, by a Mormon mommy blogger: c.jane.enjoy.it which was the most narcissistic thing I've ever seen. The header is a giant banner of the blogger with angel wings. She sometimes post pictures of stuff around her house and a lot of the time they look like stuff out of a catalog, she uses a high-end DSLR, of course, but more then that the pictures are just setup and framed the way you would see in a catalog.

Also, from the article that talked about Pamela:
But the idea that the Cullen wealth holds no appeal to Bella, when it is Bella herself who draws so much attention to it in her first-person narration, just doesn’t stand. When, at the end of the fourth book, she finally admits a little pleasure in the jaw-dropping, head-turning spectacle that this wealth allows her to become, it feels like she is finally admitting what she’s felt and wanted all along—a pleasure that anyone, most especially a teenage girl, would feel:
He took the calf-length ivory trench coat I’d worn to disguise the fact that I was wearing Alice’s idea of appropriate attire, and gasped quietly at my oyster satin cocktail gown. I still wasn’t used to being beautiful to everyone rather than just Edward. The maitre d’ stuttered half-formed compliments as he backed unsteadily from the room.
Of course, the idea here is that it’s (spoiler alert) Bella’s newly enhanced physical beauty that stuns the man (she’s become a vampire at this point, and vampires are more beautiful in order to attract their prey, i.e. humans), but Meyer/Bella lingers on the clothes—the things money can buy.

Bella’s compulsive observation of the Cullens’ beauty and their beautiful things does not come to seem a metaphor for spiritual superiority but a conflation of material wealth, physical beauty, and moral elevation.
posted by delmoi at 11:54 AM on November 18, 2009 [3 favorites]


EmpressCallipygos: The "male equivalent" to TWILIGHT would be something like the story of a mild-mannered Walter Mitty type who has women getting into catfights around him because glasses get them hot, and all the while he just sits meekly in the middle.

Sounds like a harem anime. Actually, with that perspective, I can almost see why people read the books more.
posted by zabuni at 12:01 PM on November 18, 2009 [1 favorite]


Thank you, Videogum, for allowing the img tag in comments so we don't have to.
posted by Dr-Baa at 12:03 PM on November 18, 2009


Speaking of Twilight and Mormon stuff, has anyone read the book by Stephanie Meyer's friend Aprilynne Pike (also a Mormon, if you couldn't tell by her name), Wings? Apparently, it's pretty similar to Twilight, only the main character is a beautiful, bland homeschooled girl who grows a pair of wings and seems to be a fairy but (mouseover for spoilers). It sounds so ridiculous that I almost want to read it. Almost.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 12:14 PM on November 18, 2009 [9 favorites]


Ugh. I hated the first movie. There was so much teen angst going on all of the characters looked like they were taking a hard shit or something.
posted by stormpooper at 12:30 PM on November 18, 2009 [1 favorite]


PhoBWanKenobi, I duly moused over for spoilers, and now I simply must have this book. NOW!
posted by ErikaB at 12:32 PM on November 18, 2009


With Buffy you have a strong, independent woman who kicks ass and takes names.

A more accurate "female equivalent" of the musclebound-hero trope, to me, would be BUFFY.

5 Reasons It Sucks Being a Joss Whedon Fan:

#4. This Whole Feminist Empowerment Thing Smells Fishy

Yeah, Buffy kicked unholy ass, Zoe was Mal's Terminatrix-like enforcer, Faith begat Echo and Echo is the baddest ass Kung Fu Whore TV has ever seen, and yet, aside from the fact these girls have done some push ups and punched masculinity in its shriveled balls time and again, the idea that Whedon is some sort of hyper-feminist stinks as bad as Eliza Dushku's "acting."

Joss shoots his actresses most lovingly when they're wet and crying and curled up in the fetal position, pressed up against a wall, broken, mascara running, bleeding, and reaching out. And what are they typically reaching out for? Some dude (or vampire or werewolf) and the dick he's attached to.

That's it. That's as complex as it gets. Sound familiar? That's because it's also the image of women we get from every other movie or show written by men. And yet when a lisping nerd who tritely describes himself as "a lesbian in a man's body" does it to a high-school cheerleader, it's "feminist." This is like when Toni Morrison called Bill Clinton "The First Black President." You could only say such a thing if you were THAT willing to settle. His two most artistically successful shows are Angel and Firefly, both centered on men, and written from a male point of view. If I wanted to be glib (and I usually do) Angel and Firefly worked because they're basically "Batman in LA" and "Han Solo, the TV Show," respectively.


(Or what DU said.)
posted by symbollocks at 12:43 PM on November 18, 2009 [1 favorite]


On the one hand, I totally agree with many of the critiques of Twilight here -- Bella is oh-so-subservient, Edward is oh-so-perfect, the plot is oh-so-Mormon, Meyer is oh-so-Mary Ann. On the other hand, the level of shrieking hate that is being directed toward it does seem to be OMG-how-dare-you-project-your-female-fantasies-into-MY-BOYZONE. Twilight isn't High Concept. Neither is The Three Stooges, Jackass, or Spike TV. So what? Women aren't trying to outdo each other in lamenting cultural touchstones of mainstream male culture.
posted by lleachie at 12:45 PM on November 18, 2009 [1 favorite]


The Wings story gets even stranger later in the series, when (mouseover for spoilers).
posted by brain_drain at 12:46 PM on November 18, 2009 [23 favorites]


I think the problem highlighted by comparing Twilight to Stallone movies is that they both feed off of traditional gender roles-

But in Stallone movies, the character is in some way desireable or fulfilling some kind of ideal of his gender role. Bella is not even a "superior" exemplar of her "traditional gender role." Rather, she's an everywoman. EmpressCallipygos gets this right: the male analogue to the Twilight series involves protagonists who display some kind of passivity or ways in which their everyman aspects are the "desireable" ones.

What Edward does is set high standards for what women he will desire and then making an exception for Bella. That's why the analogue is a story about a shlubby man who "gets the [beautiful] girl". This has its own Mary-Sue and traditional gender role aspects as well, and it maintains feeding off of those traditional gender roles while also not being like a Stallone movie.
posted by deanc at 12:47 PM on November 18, 2009


kmz: I don't think the denizens of fandom_wank and affiliated communities would take too kindly to being called boyzone.

Sure, and I wasn't referring to fandom_wank. I was specifically referring to the comic book and science fiction fandom "journalism" that seems to be in a perpetual state of soul-searching regarding the latest fangirl invasion of genres and fan conventions. I fully agree that science fiction and fantasy communities are not a "boyzone." But the whole fictional narrative of female Twilight/Potter/Manga/slash fans suddenly invading the exclusive domain of geek manhood seems to be an easy sell.

There certainly are some good criticisms of Twilight. On the other hand, I'm seeing a fair amount of criticism of Twilight fandom that's misogynistic as heck.

EmpressCallipygos: Because specific gender roles are so deeply embedded in our culture, I really think it's difficult to do direct inversions. There certainly is no lack of kick-ass heroines in contemporary horror and urban fantasy though.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 12:49 PM on November 18, 2009


A fair challenge, symbollocks -- but even in that regard Buffy's still a damn sight more kick-ass than Bella.

At least I think so.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 12:49 PM on November 18, 2009


deanc: But in Stallone movies, the character is in some way desireable or fulfilling some kind of ideal of his gender role. Bella is not even a "superior" exemplar of her "traditional gender role." Rather, she's an everywoman. EmpressCallipygos gets this right: the male analogue to the Twilight series involves protagonists who display some kind of passivity or ways in which their everyman aspects are the "desireable" ones.

I'm perfectly willing to be wrong about this, as I haven't read or seen Twilight and was only speaking out of what I've read about it on blogs etc., but my understanding was that Bella was very popular at her high school and everyone thought she was totally awesome, and meanwhile she bakes and wears an apron and submits to his every whim and desire and allows him to set all terms of the relationship. I'm not sure exactly how a character can be more an exemplar of her traditional gender role, especially to the exclusion of everywoman status. June Cleaver, while not a focal character, was certainly an everywoman.
posted by shakespeherian at 1:03 PM on November 18, 2009


Oh, wow, PhoBWanKenobi, that book sounds amaaaazingly ridiculous. Checking my local library catalog now...
posted by marginaliana at 1:09 PM on November 18, 2009


lleachie: " Twilight isn't High Concept. Neither is The Three Stooges..."

The difference is that Three Stooges fans don't daydream about having sex with Christine McIntyre.
posted by Joe Beese at 1:29 PM on November 18, 2009


On the other hand, the level of shrieking hate that is being directed toward it does seem to be OMG-how-dare-you-project-your-female-fantasies-into-MY-BOYZONE.

We're still stuck on this boyzone meme? The level of hate being directed toward Twilight isn't because it's a female fantasy, it's because it's drek.
posted by kbanas at 1:30 PM on November 18, 2009 [4 favorites]


And to that end - and I'm not a woman and I haven't read these books, so, um, yeah - but it's my impression that Twilight isn't even a really what would be considered a positive, pro-feminist piece of fantasy writing. I get the impression from what I've read (both here in these comments and elsewhere) that it's mired in Mormon dogma and presents a view of women in which they are helpless and scared and dependent on strong masculine figures.
posted by kbanas at 1:33 PM on November 18, 2009


The "male equivalent" to TWILIGHT would be something like the story of a mild-mannered Walter Mitty type who has women getting into catfights around him because glasses get them hot, and all the while he just sits meekly in the middle. (EmpressCallipygos)

I would pay to see that movie. Especially if the main character were actually Walter Mitty.
posted by ocherdraco at 1:39 PM on November 18, 2009


EmpressCallipygos: "The "male equivalent" to TWILIGHT would be something like the story of a mild-mannered Walter Mitty type who has women getting into catfights around him because glasses get them hot, and all the while he just sits meekly in the middle."

That's right... it's about time for the next Woody Allen film, isn't it.
posted by Joe Beese at 1:44 PM on November 18, 2009 [6 favorites]


The level of hate being directed toward Twilight isn't because it's a female fantasy, it's because it's drek.

I dunno, male-oriented drek seems to get a different response.
posted by brain_drain at 1:52 PM on November 18, 2009


kbanas: We're still stuck on this boyzone meme? The level of hate being directed toward Twilight isn't because it's a female fantasy, it's because it's drek.

Oh, I think it's both. There are certainly attacks on Twilight as badly written garbage, but on the other hand, the science fiction community hasn't been at all shy about embracing other garbage with a cult following. I think when the criticism shifts from "that book is embarrassingly bad," to "what the heck are all these women doing at our conventions" that we've crossed that line.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 1:52 PM on November 18, 2009


Look, I'm a huge fan of woman-oriented fantasy books. Heck, I'm actually a fan of YA women-oriented fantasy books, for that matter. When Suzanne Collins writes the next sequel to "The Hunger Games", I'll be camped outside the bookstore. Can't get enough of Kristen Cashore or Holly Black. I'll snuggle up with the latest Richelle Mead on a cold evening. I haven't given up on Carrie Vaughn, I was thrilled when Jacqueline Carey came out with "Santa Olivia", I will read anything Patricia Briggs even jots down on a napkin and tosses out the window, and I think P.C. Hodgell should be more famous than Elvis.

"Twilight" is *terrible*. It's laughably bad. It's amazingly bad. The structure is awful. The characterization is terrible. The concepts are ludicrous. The prose is painful. The transitions are awkward. The themes are repellant. It's just. Plain. Bad.

Making fun of Twilight is not about invasion of the Boyzone. If people attack Twilight with unusual zeal (which they do), it is more likely a response to the jarring dissonance that comes from a book that bad being that popular.

Harry Potter got attacked on metafilter quite a bit during its ascendance, as well. It also had a lot of defenders. The Harry Potter books were not perfect, but there was a lot of good stuff in there, and people were able to support why they liked them by pointing to their finer qualities.

There are very, very few defenders of Twilight here. And I really don't think it's because Harry Potter was about a boy and Twilight is about a girl. There's just not a lot you can point to in Twilight and say, "This is why I like it."
posted by kyrademon at 1:55 PM on November 18, 2009 [3 favorites]


(Updated on preview to add: if there is a "what the heck are all these women doing at our conventions" component, then that certainly is a boyzone thing. I have not yet encountered this aspect of Twilight hatred, but then, I don't go to conventions. So I'll admit that it's entirely possible that my previous comment was wrong by dint of my having incomplete information.)
posted by kyrademon at 1:58 PM on November 18, 2009


"Twilight" is *terrible*. It's laughably bad. It's amazingly bad. The structure is awful. The characterization is terrible. The concepts are ludicrous. The prose is painful. The transitions are awkward. The themes are repellant. It's just. Plain. Bad.

I offer a three-word description of one plot point from the series which will back kyrademon up on this:

Dental. Caesarian. Section.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 2:00 PM on November 18, 2009 [3 favorites]


Dental. Caesarian. Section.

Oh god oh god oh god. I remember reading about that on Cleolinda's site and it was... um. Some things, once you read, you can't unread.
posted by kmz at 2:02 PM on November 18, 2009


I dunno, male-oriented drek seems to get a different response.

Yeah, I guess I can see that. I appreciate Total Recall for what it is - I'm a guy and I like seeing stuff blown up and people shot and exploded and even if there's no story, or a paper thin story, I can still get my rocks off because it appeals to the boy inside of me who smashed match box cars together. And that thread you linked seems to be similarly populated.

And maybe there is something to the idea that Twilight projects a similar fantasy that some women have - the notion that there will be a perfect man out there who will sweep them off their feet and protect them and hold them and nurture them - again, I don't know - I think there are plenty of women who would find that fantasy kind of condescending and anti-feminist - but there are women who probably embrace it, too - and maybe we lashout so strongly because of a boyzone thing. You know, male masculine fantasies are great, women's romantic fantasies are utterly worth mocking.

I don't know. It's all so complicated.
posted by kbanas at 2:07 PM on November 18, 2009


One of my favourite fictional characters is Henry Chinaski but I wasn't there at the Factotum premiere holding up a sign imploring Matt Dillon to scream at me in a drunken rage and beat me with a shoe, and it is for that simple reason that I think anybody who becomes this obsessed with a fictional invention should be gassed and fuck if the books give them a love of reading because I don't want their dead, stupid eyes casting themselves over the page as they mouth their way painfully through, uh, Little Dorrit.
posted by turgid dahlia at 2:08 PM on November 18, 2009 [3 favorites]


You're always such a chipper fellow.
posted by kmz at 2:16 PM on November 18, 2009


My point, I guess, is that there is a big difference between "women are stupid and like stupid things" and "Twilight is so bad, it makes Ishtar look like Citizen Kane".

The first statement is false, and indeed reveals ugly things about the person saying it if it is being made. But the second statement is simply true.
posted by kyrademon at 2:22 PM on November 18, 2009 [1 favorite]


kyrademon: Making fun of Twilight is not about invasion of the Boyzone.

Sometimes it is. This Blog Post at Spearhead liberally evokes the crazy Twilight fan as a boogyman to support an argument that women's participation in science fiction and fantasy literature undermines the market for "Big Idea" science fiction. Extending the trendline back, you have Dirk Benedict's rant about the Galactica revival, and the flurry of anxiety regarding women as consumers of imported manga vs. domestic comics. Twilight is just the latest iteration of a phenomenon with plenty of data points.

So on preview, I am bugged somewhat because the fact that Twilight is really, really bad is used to validate the argument that women are stupid and like stupid things, stupid things that should be kept at arms length away from the rest of the fandom.

Of course, I'm biased in that I very much prefer Earthsea over Conan as literature because of the "Big Idea" at the center of Le Guin's Taoist metaphysics. Although a novel about a guy in a boat meditating on his mortality makes for a less impressive movie than the Governor of California punching out a camel. So there is that.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 2:38 PM on November 18, 2009 [3 favorites]


Interestingly, the 12 year-olds who read the books don't give a shit about the crusty old people (who read every V.C. Andrews book in their own adolescence) critiquing them.
posted by chococat at 2:44 PM on November 18, 2009 [3 favorites]


*reads rest of thread*

Oh good, now I'm sexist because I hate Twilight.
posted by turgid dahlia at 2:54 PM on November 18, 2009


I'm not saying that, TD. I don't really like it either. It's the over-the-top shrieking about how NOBODY should like it and the ridicule of those who do.
posted by lleachie at 3:11 PM on November 18, 2009


turgid dahlia: Oh good, now I'm sexist because I hate Twilight.

No one has said or implied this. But you might be sexist if you hate Twilight because it's an example of how women threaten to ruin your sacred fandom.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 3:13 PM on November 18, 2009


Are Twilight fans really going to sci-fi conventions and stuff? I mean, it seems to me from the women that I've known or seen at cons or in comic book stores or whatever would have no interest in Twilight.

In any case, the reason why I find Twilight gross (and this is just from reading the wikipedia articles about it and witnessing the fandom in action) is not because "girls are stupid and like stupid things" but because Twilight has the potential to reinforce negative ideas about what women should be like: stupid, weak, and dominated by men. It makes people stupid.
posted by Saxon Kane at 3:28 PM on November 18, 2009 [3 favorites]


So on preview, I am bugged somewhat because the fact that Twilight is really, really bad is used to validate the argument that women are stupid and like stupid things, stupid things that should be kept at arms length away from the rest of the fandom.

I think you're way over thinking this. Plenty of women hate Twilight, most of the criticisms I've heard of it deal with it's "Anti-feminist" messages.
posted by delmoi at 3:44 PM on November 18, 2009


I hate Twilight because there is now a full generation of young girls who think that it's not only 100% A-OK but actually incredibly romantic and dreamy for some guy to sneak into your bedroom at night AND WATCH YOU AS YOU SLEEP, or prevent you from leaving your extremely isolated rural house by removing the engine from your car, and then climbing a tree to WATCH YOU THROUGH YOUR WINDOW AS YOU SLEEP. These books romanticize and reinforce the ideas that women are weak and silly and don't know what's best for them, so men have to defend and protect them, even if it is against their will.

So yeah, I'm happy to be called sexist for hating Twilight if it means that sexists like me want girls to be able to identify and avoid men who will manipulate them into dangerous relationships. But honestly, I don't think that Twilight hate stems from sexism. It stems from the fact that these books are craptacular and vomitous, in the same way that the somewhat analogous series of overwrought, purple-prosed male fantasy books - John Norman's Chronicles of Gor - are craptacular and vomitous.

I personally would be extremely interested to hear the mefi community reaction to an askme question penned by Bella, describing Edward's behaviour and asking if it was creepy or romantic. DID I MENTION THAT HE BREAKS INTO HER HOUSE SO HE CAN WATCH HER AS SHE SLEEPS? Just checking.
posted by elizardbits at 3:46 PM on November 18, 2009 [12 favorites]


100% A-OK but actually incredibly romantic and dreamy for some guy to sneak into your bedroom at night AND WATCH YOU AS YOU SLEEP,

Not to trot out the argument again, but when this happens in Buffy it's seriously creepy and taken as a threat and a sign that they all have to magic up and get ready to stake the bastard, not as a sign of true wuv.
posted by The Whelk at 3:51 PM on November 18, 2009 [2 favorites]


Greg Nog's comments in this thread are too few and far between, and it's a real loss because he's 100. Percent. Spot. On. with a good portion the fandom.

I wish I had the links to the oral c-section abortion/abomination doll(s) someone made. Not sure if it was from the wonderful world of Etsy or a Livejournal community art project gone awry.
Are Twilight fans really going to sci-fi conventions and stuff? I mean, it seems to me from the women that I've known or seen at cons or in comic book stores or whatever would have no interest in Twilight.
Yes and no. Apparently they're going to the ones of Comic-Con proportions and people are getting thoroughly bent over it. And don't even get the indie kids started on the soundtrack! Talk about a your-favorite-not-so-underground-band-just-sold-out-to-Twihards debacle, golly.

This Hot-Topic shirt garnered a lot of attention because of the unhealthy relationship it refers to. Just change it up a bit, though, and it's glorious.
posted by june made him a gemini at 3:54 PM on November 18, 2009 [2 favorites]


Dental Cesarean section? You mean like this?
posted by darksasami at 4:28 PM on November 18, 2009 [3 favorites]


It is no mere coincidence that Stephanie Meyer is a Mormon, a faith that maintains pretty strict ideas about gender hierarchy.

Have the Mormons cracked mainstream-alternative pop-cultural cool? First The Killers and now this...
posted by acb at 4:31 PM on November 18, 2009


Ok, after reading those quotes, Robert Pattinson isn't the douchebag actor I assumed he was. Quite the opposite.
posted by zardoz at 4:33 PM on November 18, 2009


darksasami: If you drain the cool out and put it in the lame jar, then yes, it is a lot like that.
posted by june made him a gemini at 4:34 PM on November 18, 2009


I can't remember my second grade teacher's name, but I know this:

What drew Edward to Bella at first was that 1) He couldn't read her mind and 2) she smelled delicious. That's pretty much it.

So the entire series is the story of a hungry guy protecting the mystery lamb stew he found in Biology class one day from other hungry dudes who want a bite. When something goes wrong and the pot of stew falls over, he is finally required to eat it.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 4:36 PM on November 18, 2009 [16 favorites]


Dental Cesarean section? You mean like this?

Believe it or not? Yes. Yes, it is like that.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 4:42 PM on November 18, 2009


When something goes wrong and the pot of stew falls over, he is finally required to eat it.

If by "it" you mean "her uterus," then yes.
posted by brookedel at 4:42 PM on November 18, 2009


AND THEN BUFFY STAKED EDWARD. THE END.
posted by cristinacristinacristina at 4:43 PM on November 18, 2009 [2 favorites]


Saxon Kane: Yes, there was a kerfuffle regarding Twilight events at San Diego this year.

I'm not defending Twilight as a literary work. I just see abundant sexism in the way that Twilight fans have been covered by various media sources and critics.

delmoi: I think you're way over thinking this. Plenty of women hate Twilight, most of the criticisms I've heard of it deal with it's "Anti-feminist" messages.

I don't think so. I posted two different sources that criticized an "invasion" of hormone-driven Twilight readers into fandoms. One of them started from the premise that women are like unicorns in the fandom, the other started from the premise that women threatened the market for "Big Idea" science fiction.

I read an interesting idea a few weeks ago that because female fans of rock music are stereotyped as driven by sexual attraction, it's a lot harder for women to be taken seriously as audiophiles and musicians. So I'm wondering if the same thing is going on with women as fans of science fiction. Sure there's a fair quantity of feminist criticism going on, but feminists are already marginalized as scolds. And it certainly feels like both feminist criticism and the active work of women as writers, artists, producers, critics, and fans in the community is being upstaged by Meyer's most rabid fans.

Which again, isn't a problem just with Twilight. When the latest cinematic revival of Star Trek opened I read MSM articles about women as fans that focused exclusively on slash. There's nothing wrong with slash, but I really have to wonder why they ignored the thousands of pages written by women as Trekkies about gender, race, religion, and politics in that universe. I'm not saying that Twilight canon is anywhere near as worthy as Trek cannon. I'm just highly suspicious regarding media bias in hyping Meyers as the current big thing in contemporary urban horror and fantasy.

elizardbits: So yeah, I'm happy to be called sexist for hating Twilight if it means that sexists like me want girls to be able to identify and avoid men who will manipulate them into dangerous relationships.

No one has said or implied this. But the existence of feminist criticism of Twilight doesn't negate the existence of explicitly and implicitly anti-feminist criticism of Twilight.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 4:53 PM on November 18, 2009 [1 favorite]


> The header is a giant banner of the blogger with angel wings. She sometimes post pictures of stuff around her house and a lot of the time they look like stuff out of a catalog, she uses a high-end DSLR, of course, but more then that the pictures are just setup and framed the way you would see in a catalog

So Mormonism is like the apartment scene at the start of Fight Club?
posted by Decimask at 5:02 PM on November 18, 2009


there is now a full generation of young girls who think that it's not only 100% A-OK but actually incredibly romantic and dreamy for some guy to sneak into your bedroom at night AND WATCH YOU AS YOU SLEEP

He's also a vampire and has sparkly skin. And fictional. And the other guy turns into a wolf.
You know it's a story, right?
posted by chococat at 5:14 PM on November 18, 2009


Joss shoots his actresses most lovingly when they're wet and crying and curled up in the fetal position, pressed up against a wall, broken, mascara running, bleeding, and reaching out. And what are they typically reaching out for? Some dude

I'd have to stats on that. There were plenty of lovingly shot scenes of women with weapons, and plenty of lovingly shot scenes of men angsting over women or women angsting over other women. Equal opportunity angst. Ask yourself: when you think of Buffy and Firefly, which image comes to mind first? Crying women? Or axe wielding women?

Whether axe-wielding is a great stride forward for feminists is up for debate. Speaking for myself, it was fun to get some women warriors that for once weren't in a Hong Kong kung fu flick.

I finally read Twilight two weeks ago, fully expecting to suffer mightily the pain of ghastly writing, but was disappointed to discover a typical teenage bodice ripper which was, in fact, less clunky than many.
posted by small_ruminant at 5:18 PM on November 18, 2009


Dental Cesarean section? You mean like this?

Am I speciesist if I think that makes sharks badass?
posted by Zalzidrax at 5:26 PM on November 18, 2009


Frankly, this clip of the new movie as presented by Conan O'Brien makes me think I might want to watch it.
posted by ooga_booga at 5:42 PM on November 18, 2009 [2 favorites]


He's also a vampire and has sparkly skin. And fictional. And the other guy turns into a wolf.

You know it's a story, right?


It's a story that glamorizes and romanticizes boundary-crossing behavior under the guise of "true love," yeah. I don't think anyone's mentioned the awesome part in the third book where Jacob kisses Bella against her will, and when she can't extricate herself from him, she goes limp and submits. When he finally lets go, she punches him and ends up breaking her hand. Both Jacob and Bella's father find this hilarious, although later when Jacob's gone the father concedes that maybe unwanted sexual contact isn't so great.

(SPOILER ALERT)

In the next book, sexually inappropriate Jacob goes on to date Bella's newborn baby daughter! Twilight is the gift that keeps on giving.
posted by brookedel at 5:43 PM on November 18, 2009 [2 favorites]


But the existence of feminist criticism of Twilight doesn't negate the existence of explicitly and implicitly anti-feminist criticism of Twilight.

I would call the latter sexist criticism of Twilight, because there is nothing about Twilight that is feminist (beyond it being written by a woman). Personally, my dislike of the phenomenon is because Twilight as a series IS anti-feminist -- and bad, just bad, bad writing and ideas and everything.
posted by Saxon Kane at 5:55 PM on November 18, 2009 [1 favorite]


My favourite review is Jim Schebri's:

"In other words, the premise of the Twilight saga is about a guy who falls in love with his dinner so deeply he refuses to eat it."
posted by prettypretty at 6:32 PM on November 18, 2009 [5 favorites]


I read an interesting idea a few weeks ago that because female fans of rock music are stereotyped as driven by sexual attraction, it's a lot harder for women to be taken seriously as audiophiles and musicians. So I'm wondering if the same thing is going on with women as fans of science fiction. Sure there's a fair quantity of feminist criticism going on, but feminists are already marginalized as scolds. And it certainly feels like both feminist criticism and the active work of women as writers, artists, producers, critics, and fans in the community is being upstaged by Meyer's most rabid fans.

Absolutely agreed.

Anwyn Crawford, who I think is one of the finest music critics currently writing, originally titled her (much to my distress, now deleted) blog Fangirl because of exactly this: that female fans of music are responding on some kind of sexual level and that their interest is erotically fixated on the performers rather than the music itself. She recently wrote a piece in Loops called Girls Just Wanna Have Fun which addresses this.
Wordless, intensely emotional and undeniably sexual – this is the state in which teenage girls are understood to connect with music, and with those performing it. It is all in their bodies: they do not intellectualise; their opinions are instinctive rather than considered. Without rational judgement or the ability to articulate it, a teenage girl will always be a fan, never a critic.
Though I think she's being optimistic in saying that only teenage girls are figured this way; as far as I can tell, it doesn't stop when women grow older.
posted by jokeefe at 6:32 PM on November 18, 2009 [3 favorites]


So, basically, I'm torn. I loathe Twilight for its stupidity and its hypocrisy and its general lameness and because I hate and fear bad writing with a passion usually reserved for the deepest pits of hell.

On the other hand, it also bothers me that it's so easy to mock and ridicule and find disgusting women who are publically expressing desire. I know they don't help themselves, but can we try to have at least a slightly more nuanced reading of the whole thing than gawking at hysteria? No? Sigh.

Is it because women typically do fandom in groups? And that the networking amongst the women involved becomes just as important as the original object of their shared interest? Did men get together over drinks and dinner to watch Brigitte Bardot movies and obssess about her and every trivial detail about her life? Does the mass of screaming girls and women scare the hell out of men (it kind of scares me)? *wanders away muttering*
posted by jokeefe at 6:43 PM on November 18, 2009


(On reading: I don't mean that "they don't help themselves" is equivalent to "they can't control themselves"; I mean that they don't help out their own desire (and I'm sure they have such a desire, somewhere) to not be ridiculed. They know they're being over the top, but I'm sure they don't want to actively inspire revulsion. Even when they're holding a "JASPER I'D CUT MYSELF IN FRONT OF YOU ANYDAY" sign.
posted by jokeefe at 6:46 PM on November 18, 2009


> AND WATCH YOU AS YOU SLEEP <
There is something to be said for romance though...
posted by niccolo at 6:46 PM on November 18, 2009


There is something to be said for romance though...

I actually tested this recently. Amongst our home warming presents was a life-size cutout of Edward Cullen. If my wife, who loves Twilight found Edward's sleep-peeping romantic, I figured she would find it equally romantic if Cutout Edward was positioned in rooms just to the side of doors, on the other side of doorways, or over her side of the bed while she slept.

Unfortunately, she did not find the romance in being consistently startled by a leering Edward standing just in the corner of her vision when she entered a room. My current hypothesis is that she is secretly a member of Team Jacob, so therefore I will obtain his corresponding cutout to also be secreted about the house for her eventual discovery when she is home alone on a dark and stormy night.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 7:01 PM on November 18, 2009 [30 favorites]


it's so easy to mock and ridicule and find disgusting women who are publically expressing desire.

It would be one thing if there was an owning of female desire presented in Twilight media. Instead, it seems to me like it's a desire to be objectified. It's one thing for an independent person to be into a little s&m or b&d, but to want to be completely possessed by some creepy dude... well, that's a little disturbing to me. I mean, I guess "the heart wants what the heart wants," but this "desire" is completely conditioned by patriarchy.
posted by Saxon Kane at 7:05 PM on November 18, 2009


> I wish I had the links to the oral c-section abortion/abomination doll(s) someone made. Not sure if it was from the wonderful world of Etsy or a Livejournal community art project gone awry.

Not sure if this abomination was what you referred to, but it might as well be...?
posted by cobwebberies at 7:18 PM on November 18, 2009


This turned into a great, almost shockingly informative and interesting thread.
posted by Optimus Chyme at 7:50 PM on November 18, 2009


I thought that boyzoners are essentially saying that Meyers is using a shitty romance novel to dupe the masses, and she pollutes the "genre" in the process. So they don't like an author catering to the lowest common denominator in the fantasy horror genre. I think we'd all be happy if they just realized that the genre in question here is really the romance novel.

Then I tried to read that Spearhead article. I failed to find anything convincing, let alone all that credible in it. I'm not sure how I'm supposed to square a growing genre market (i.e. influx of new tween readers) with the "crowding out" that the author is so worried about. (And yes, I assume his gender is male. Sue me. ) He basically labels everything he dislikes as "feminine". Any Star Trek other than the original? Feminine and PC. The whole thing comes across as an author with a chip on his shoulder... which is sadly common in the boyzone. He then literally claims that the same readership that likes John Scalzi is going to be turned feminine and gay by the popularity of Stephanie Meyers. He lost me altogether when he compared Mad Men to The Rockford Files.

This is not a credible criticism. I looked at the surrounding links and ads, and I was not surprised. They really confirmed my suspicions of acute insecurity.

The Newsarama article is at least more interesting, but I'm not sure how boyzone it is. The world of fandom is having a growth spurt, and that means an influx of additional women. Fandom is also being rocked by some really popular, really crappy material in The Twilight Saga. But it's not like it's hurting anything.

Stop complaining and compete against the crappy precedent that increased your market size. If you can write something more interesting than Twilight, you stand to have more fans than before Meyers puked into her typewriter. Claiming you're being marginalized, cavalierly tossing around terms like "ghettoize" just makes you sound jealous and petty.

Oh and Twilight sucks. Big time. Daybreakers on the other hand looks fucking awesome.
posted by butterstick at 9:09 PM on November 18, 2009 [2 favorites]


it's so easy to mock and ridicule and find disgusting women who are publically expressing desire.

It would be one thing if there was an owning of female desire presented in Twilight media. Instead, it seems to me like it's a desire to be objectified.

I think Saxon Kane is referring more to people poking fun at the pictures linked to above, the fans of the movie and the like.

Although I think in this case both points are valid.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 9:53 PM on November 18, 2009 [1 favorite]


I don't think so. I posted two different sources that criticized an "invasion" of hormone-driven Twilight readers into fandoms. One of them started from the premise that women are like unicorns in the fandom, the other started from the premise that women threatened the market for "Big Idea" science fiction.
Well, who cares about fandom? I'm sure these guys would like more women to be going to cons and stuff, but isn't it entirely possible that people who aren't put off by the retrograde social attitudes also don't like the fact that it's crap. A lot of these guys love "buffy" and stuff. Anyway I don't exactly follow fandom, but was there a similar complaint about all the women who loved Harry potter (which was also written by a woman)? My impression is no, although there might a small minority of complainers.

As far as "criticism of Twilight is primarily sexist" I think that's absurd, like I said, most of the criticism is the claim that the book itself is sexist. Now there may be some men who don't like the "girly" nature of the book, but I don't know if you could call them "sexist" for it. That's like saying women who don't like football and monster truck rallies are "sexist"
that the author is so worried about. (And yes, I assume his gender is male. Sue me. ) He basically labels everything he dislikes as "feminine". Any Star Trek other than the original? Feminine and PC.
Of course, the original Star Trek was all about being "PC".
posted by delmoi at 12:07 AM on November 19, 2009


Just another note. The latest movie has werewolves who wear magically disappearing/reappearing pants.
posted by ooga_booga at 1:33 AM on November 19, 2009


As far as "criticism of Twilight is primarily sexist" I think that's absurd, like I said, most of the criticism is the claim that the book itself is sexist.

But there's a kind of double sexism in assuming that Twilight fans take everything in the books at face value. There's a lot that's problematic in the books, but the critics give the fans no credit at all. 'OMG! Twilight fans will think having a boy break into their houses and watching them sleep is sexy!' Well, no, of course they won't. They know the difference between reality and fantasy.

I'm deeply sceptical of the notion that there's something inherently harmful about an otherwise well-adjusted teenage girl exploring - in the purely fictional realm of books or films - certain masochistic or submissive impulses. I think girls have the right to wallow in whatever sex fantasy they choose, however un-PC it may seem. I love how crazy and wild and stupid Twilight is. Erotic fantasies should be high-octane and absurd. Yeah, jump off that cliff you mad bitch, Edward's cock is totally worth it! It probably sprays glitter!

Anway, the antics of Twilight fans undercut the retrograde message that's allegedly being sent. Stephenie Meyer may be a meek Mormoness, but her fans carry on in a most unladylike way, especially when they get a whiff of the pretty-boy stars of the films. Whatever feeling is aroused in Twihards when a cavalcade of waxed, toned boyflesh is paraded before them, I imagine it's not meekness. More of a 'Queen of Sheba stocking her harem' feeling, I should think. As the boys cavort before you like burlesque stars, tits and abs on display, you might even turn to your companion and lazily say 'YOU CAN HAVE THE FURRY ONE, I WANT THE ONE THAT SPARKLES'. Why not? There's plenty of boy-bitches to go round. It's a smorgasbord!
posted by eatyourcellphone at 2:02 AM on November 19, 2009 [4 favorites]


Twilight vampires = superheroes with a skin condition and strict dietary requirements. It's such over the top wish fulfillment that the whole thing just becomes hilarious.

I've always preferred werewolves to vampires, so I'm very curious to see how that works out. They can probably choose to transform whenever they want, are super strong and animalistic (but in a sexy, sexy way), are very loyal to their family pack and only eat rabbits and feel appropriately guilty afterwards. And due to the Native American link (afaik from the trailers and this thread) they're going to be 'in touch with nature' and spout some pseudoreligious nonsense about balance and harmony.

With the above in mind, I did kind of enjoy the first film and will undoubtedly watch the second one at some point. The alcohol helps.
posted by slimepuppy at 3:38 AM on November 19, 2009


In the next book, sexually inappropriate Jacob goes on to date Bella's newborn baby daughter! Twilight is the gift that keeps on giving.

I can't wait to see how they deal with that in the movies for book 3 and 4- "imprinting", aka love at first sight that's true and meaningful and will last forever, blah blah blah, but the only people we actually see it happen to are grown men who fall in love with little babies.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 4:32 AM on November 19, 2009 [1 favorite]


The Bangles' "Eternal Flame" taught me that it's OK to watch people when they are sleeping. Do you understand, do you feel the same?
posted by soundofsuburbia at 5:57 AM on November 19, 2009 [2 favorites]


butterstick: I think we'd all be happy if they just realized that the genre in question here is really the romance novel.

The funny thing is that many romance writers and fans dislike Twilight because it offers few of the tropes that have become dominant in that genre, and uses tropes that romance has been moving away from.

delmoi: As far as "criticism of Twilight is primarily sexist" I think that's absurd,...

Of course that statement is absurd, as you've invented yourself. Is it too much to ask that you engage in the arguments presented? Especially when I just compared and contrasted feminist criticism of the anti-feminist themes of Twilight with anti-feminist criticism that Twilight is what we can expect from women writing SF&F, it's more than clear as to exactly who and what I'm calling out as sexist.

Now there may be some men who don't like the "girly" nature of the book, but I don't know if you could call them "sexist" for it. That's like saying women who don't like football and monster truck rallies are "sexist"

Well yes, I do think that some criticism of football and monster truck rallies is horribly sexist when it falls along the lines of "what do you expect from men."
posted by KirkJobSluder at 6:30 AM on November 19, 2009


It's a story that glamorizes and romanticizes boundary-crossing behavior under the guise of "true love," yeah. I don't think anyone's mentioned the awesome part in the third book where Jacob kisses Bella against her will, and when she can't extricate herself from him, she goes limp and submits. When he finally lets go, she punches him and ends up breaking her hand. Both Jacob and Bella's father find this hilarious, although later when Jacob's gone the father concedes that maybe unwanted sexual contact isn't so great.

Ooh! How about the part where Edward then comes back and gets jealous of how much time Bella's spending with Jacob, so he TAKES THE ENGINE OUT OF HER CAR?

And then he tells her he did that, and SHE THINKS IT'S ALL ROMANTIC?
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 6:34 AM on November 19, 2009


Then I tried to read that Spearhead article.

Argh, that thing was horrible. Tim Powers being held up as a champion of male sci-fi because he writes 'big idea' stuff? Getting the author of Conan wrong? Seriously? The whole thing turned into a bad stand up routine parody: guy nerds read books like this and girl nerds read books like that!

The comments were not better. I got as far as someone saying that Tracy Hickman of DragonLance fame was female before I had to stop.

I like urban fantasy books and I can sympathize with the feelings that a type of story that's Not For Me occupies a big chunk of the genre-space. I want stories about outsiders sticking up for the little guys in a setting where everything is not what it seems. I don't want stories about making out with werecats. Fair enough, I can see the point that given limited shelf space/publishing dollars one type of story could crowd out others. But I have a hard time agreeing with such a sloppily presented case. It'd be like listening to someone explain that the Earth revolves around the Sun, just like the Moon, which is made of green cheese, revolves around the Earth. Wait, what? I agree that the Earth revolves around the Sun, but what was it you said about the Moon again?
posted by robocop is bleeding at 6:37 AM on November 19, 2009 [2 favorites]


Feeling wholly ignorant, I watched Twilight last night. It was fun and the boys were hot. It struck me as the perfect teen girl romance movie. Yeah Edward's stalking Bella is creepy if you analyze it, but in the movie it's just that he's in wuv. (And very hot). He's a vampire, he's supposed to be creepy, but he wuvs Bella so much that he's harmless and protective. He's safe sexuality, like Tiger Beat or early New Kids on the Block. Also he's really hot when he sparkles in the sun.

I also thought it was interesting to compare Twilight to True Blood, which has pretty much the exact same story and is just as goofy only it's, you know, written for adults. Sookie makes a much better feminist lead character, she's very strong-willed and kicks a lot of ass. And it's nice to see some real sexuality, not this cock-block stuff for teens in Twilight. But then the vampires aren't as hot in True Blood, so what can you do?

(Did I mention that Edward Cullen is very hot? As a gay man, I totally approve of teen girl romance movies featuring winsome pale skinny boys.)
posted by Nelson at 7:34 AM on November 19, 2009


Eatyourcellphone brings to light the two main liberal value conflicts I have when I read about this stuff. On the one hand people should be able to enjoy any kind of entertainment they like irrespective of whether or not it conforms with my value system. If people want to read anti-feminist mormon cock block pron, because it turns them on they should go for it. But it also directly conflicts with my value system that says women shouldn’t be seen as meek little flowers whose only function in life is to provide some eye candy for men. But what Eatyourcellphone points out is that the girls holding the signs are taking action and claiming the men as eye candy. It may not be what Meyer’s originally intended, but it doesn’t seem to be setting feminism back hundreds of years.

Although I still fail to understand why adult women feel comfortable carrying and reading those things on the subway.
posted by edbles at 8:33 AM on November 19, 2009


EmpressCallipygos: Ooh! How about the part where Edward then comes back and gets jealous of how much time Bella's spending with Jacob, so he TAKES THE ENGINE OUT OF HER CAR?

And then he tells her he did that, and SHE THINKS IT'S ALL ROMANTIC?


what
posted by shakespeherian at 8:36 AM on November 19, 2009


Ooh! How about the part where Edward then comes back and gets jealous of how much time Bella's spending with Jacob, so he TAKES THE ENGINE OUT OF HER CAR?

And then he tells her he did that, and SHE THINKS IT'S ALL ROMANTIC?


That'd be the part where I realised the real fun in reading the books was telling other people the story in context-free chunks and pausing for them to WTF. Followed only by spotting the bits where Edward and Bella are talking to each other about anything other than each other.
posted by carbide at 8:36 AM on November 19, 2009 [1 favorite]


But then the vampires aren't as hot in True Blood, so what can you do?

A) True Blood's Eric & Godric is to Twilight's Edward & Carlisle as Chicken Kiev is to a god damned McNugget

B) True Blood has Lafayette

C) Pam, those were great pumps
posted by Greg Nog at 8:43 AM on November 19, 2009 [7 favorites]


Exactly, carbide. Like when I told kittens for breakfast about Edward's brother punching grizzly bears and he's all OMG THIS BOOK SHOULD BE AWESOME AND YET IT IS NOT!

The big fun, though, is telling people about the vampire c-section. Hot damn, I suffered the eternal torments of hearing S. Meyer use the words "liquid" (or "molten," if she was feeling fancy) "topaz eyes" like eight hundred kajillion times JUST to get to the damn c-section.

Even more fun was our idea to play ding dong ditch with an Edward lifesize cardboard cutout we'd covered in glitter. We still haven't gotten around to it, but damn, do I want to! Imagine opening your door to THAT!
posted by bitter-girl.com at 8:43 AM on November 19, 2009




It would be one thing if there was an owning of female desire presented in Twilight media. Instead, it seems to me like it's a desire to be objectified. It's one thing for an independent person to be into a little s&m or b&d, but to want to be completely possessed by some creepy dude... well, that's a little disturbing to me. I mean, I guess "the heart wants what the heart wants," but this "desire" is completely conditioned by patriarchy.

But IS it completely conditioned by patriarchy? Many women have fantasies that they would NOT want to experience in real life. Here is a Psychology Today article about the rape fantasy, which a surprising number of women reportedly have. Although Twilight is hardly as hard-core as a "rape fantasy", it's the progression of all that domination from Jacob and Edward that Bella seems to be accepting at least passively.

Although the article above is somewhat diluted by the "In my experience" posturing by the author, the article features a report of a meta-analysis of refereed journal articles about rape fantasies, possible origins, and their relative plausability. Male rape culture is supposedly one of the less plausible origins. It's a fascinating study and I want to read the original.

The thing to remember about Twilight is that it IS, in effect, a fantasy. Werewolves don't really exist, vampires don't really exist, and so wanting one of these exceptional creatures to ravish you because you're irresistible is harmless. In effect, one of the major origin theories of the rape fantasy is that the fantasizer, i.e. the woman, is in control.

There's part of me that wonders if men who object to the hordes of young women on Team Jacob or Team Edward are simply facing the same insecurity that women have faced when the males around them have drooled over female sex symbols over the years, women whom they could never compare to.
posted by lleachie at 8:47 AM on November 19, 2009 [2 favorites]


If Edward were a real person, then much of his behavior would be your garden variety emotionally abusive manipulative stalker type stuff.

However, not only is he not a real person, but within the Twilight universe, Edward's behavior is a fantasy under the control of the author and therefore under the perceived control of the reader. Many people fantasize about behavior they would undoubtedly not actually like to see in reality. To take it to the extreme, many people of both genders have rape fantasies. This is normal, and this does not mean that people would actually like to be raped. In such a fantasy, the individual remains in control of the situation at all times.

I have never read or seen Twilight, nor do I intend to do so. It's probably crap. However, there's something to be said for how it clearly mainlines a certain adolescent feeling for its audience. That feeling of being the focus of adoration of a handsome, yet inaccessible and vaguely sinister man. A man who will never age. A man who could love no other, and who has to make sacrifices in order to love you. There's also something to be said for a book that's all foreplay - sex is usually less interesting than what comes before, so sure, why not, an entire series of all that buildup and drama.

Meyer's conservative, religious background figures into how the story plays out, and it's obvious that Twilight plays traditional gender roles like a fiddle, without any subversive element on that score. That's a feature, not a bug. Of course a popular cultural phenomenon would communicate on that level. This is not necessarily a good thing, but neither is it necessarily the worst thing in the world. It's also condescending to Twilight fans to think that they lack a sense of irony about the material or that they're all completely devoted to being as passive as Bella.

Here's a dumb aside. I think about how Quentin Tarantino was able to turn his adolescent love of skeezy 70s movies (as well as truly great movies of all eras) into innovative entertainments like Pulp Fiction. What if there's some 14-year-old girl out there right now, who loves Twilight, but who will eventually grow up to be an author with a witty and subversive angle on this material? I think of Twilight as being that skeezy entertainment, and I look forward to twenty years from now, when it gets turned into something magnificent by someone who wasn't ashamed to enjoy something cheesy.
posted by Sticherbeast at 9:08 AM on November 19, 2009 [7 favorites]


A) True Blood's Eric & Godric is to Twilight's Edward & Carlisle as Chicken Kiev is to a god damned McNugget

B) True Blood has Lafayette

C) Pam, those were great pumps


Greg, is it possible we're actually the same person in some freaky alcohol-related multiple personality thing? Cause I've got whole weeks I can;t recall if any detail. Care to fill me in?
posted by The Whelk at 9:14 AM on November 19, 2009


I think about how Quentin Tarantino was able to turn his adolescent love of skeezy 70s movies (as well as truly great movies of all eras) into innovative entertainments like Pulp Fiction. What if there's some 14-year-old girl out there right now, who loves Twilight, but who will eventually grow up to be an author with a witty and subversive angle on this material? I think of Twilight as being that skeezy entertainment, and I look forward to twenty years from now, when it gets turned into something magnificent by someone who wasn't ashamed to enjoy something cheesy.

An interesting observation. However, Tarantino was doing an affectionate hommage to a pretty unique art form here -- whereas the elements we're critiquing about Twilight are really nothing new.

The vampires? Been done before.

Passive heroine who exists solely to be admired, and that is her entire function? Been done before.

So there's been plenty of other things for spunky 14-year-old girls who want to grow up and give us a twisted take on cheese to emulate already. In fact, I'd argue that one reason why the dissents are as strident as they are is because we've already started to SEE these snark-takes -- and Twilight is itself a straight-up RETURN to the cheese in some respects -- for pity's sake, the characters compare themselves to WUTHERING HEIGHTS. (Stephanie Myers: I've read Emily Bronte, I know Emily Bronte; Stephanie, you're no Emily Bronte.)
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 9:29 AM on November 19, 2009


I couldn't read the fourth Twilight book, because my son's friends, who had read it, assured me it was crap and explained what happened in it to me and I completely lost interest. I've always seen the series as more fantasy/romance and who fantasizes about dying during childbirth? Or having her bestest friend fall in love with her child? Sheesh.

I did read the first three, and as I've mentioned before, found the writing very plodding and repetitive but felt that Edward was a character that would appeal to teen girls. I liked him myself, not for all the creepy stuff (watching her sleep did bother me), but because I enjoy the whole vampire mystique thing.

Yes, I personally often enjoy fantasy that is not PC or feminist. It's harmless, it's an escape, and as Sticherbeast, ileachie and others before them in this thread have pointed out, the reader is in control of the situation. I don't like the idea of someone policing what I read.

I also just plain like that teens are reading.

As an adult, it is incredibly satisfying to be able to share books with my kids, which is why I read the Harry Potter series and Twilight to begin with. My oldest son used to like the (to me quite depressing) Unfortunate Events series by the mythical Lemony Snicket, and I was just glad he was reading, as he was a reluctant reader despite my best efforts to interest him.

And I am absolutely thrilled that my youngest son, who is normally deeply into all the HALO books that go along with the video games, has just read Agatha Christie's And Then There Were None in school, and loved it. We've been talking about the brilliant plotting of that novel and the suspense and characterization.

And now that 14 yo is doing better in NaNoWriMo than I ever did, with over 33,000 words under his belt already, so who knows? Maybe next year we will be talking about his books instead of the Twilight saga.
posted by misha at 9:41 AM on November 19, 2009 [1 favorite]


A little more for people to think on: teen female Twilight crushes as a safe rehearsal of adult romance. This, most of all, is why I am not-so-ok with the ridiculing of teen girls who are crushing on the main stars. I may not like everything about the books, but I do understand this adolescent tendency.

A quote from the article: "They're practicing feelings of love and attachment and attraction and romance," says Los Angeles psychologist Wendy Walsh, whose own 11-year-old daughter also loves Lautner. "These are all new feelings, and what a safe way to play them out — in the privacy of their own room with a poster of Taylor Lautner."

If I were 17 today, I would probably have that poster of Taylor Lautner. Doubly so because my ancestry is a lot like his, and it would have been so refreshing to have a crush object who wasn't so blond and Anglo.
posted by lleachie at 10:51 AM on November 19, 2009 [2 favorites]


lleachie, I don't think people are objecting to the "oh he looks so dreamy" aspect of things at all. Lots of teen girls will crush on hot-looking guys, and it was ever thus.

I think people are reacting more to girls who are idealizing the nature of the relationship itself that those hot-looking guys are HAVING with the heroine of the story. Edward Cullen may be hot, but Edward Cullen also rips out his girlfriend's car engine because she wants to go drive and visit another friend of hers. And some girls think that's an awesome thing for their crush to do.

If instead it were a story of Edward Cullen FIXING his girlfriend's car engine, or better still, teaching her how to fix her OWN car engine, my reaction to the people waving Robert pattinson posters would be very different.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 11:58 AM on November 19, 2009


this is really all I have to say about Twilight.

I never thought I'd miss Anne Rice's purple prose so much.
posted by Unicorn on the cob at 3:28 PM on November 19, 2009 [1 favorite]


The "un-PC" and "conservative" elements of Twilight, while I find them rather unsettling and more than a little gross, in many ways upset me less than the fact that it is just stupid crap. The "pro-Twilight-as-fantasy" crowd has made some good points, and I truly don't believe in policing what people read; if girls want to read and fantasize about sparkletwinks stalking them, whatever, go for it. I find the superfans ridiculous and laughable, but I also find the superfans of BSG or X-Men or the Giants ridiculous and laughable. And I'm sure they laugh at me, so who cares.

But, the intellectual content of Twilight is just so... lame! I mean, yeah, teens are reading, that's always good, but is our children learning? I don't know. I'm an English teacher. I deal with 18-19 yr olds who say they've never read a book outside of one assigned for class, or have never even COMPLETED a book. Part of me wants to say, "Please, dear god, read Twilight, read Dan Brown, read any piece of shit that is made up of semi-complete sentences that approximate the English language." Just the process of transforming the squiggles on the page into brain-words helps improve your linguistic and communicative abilities. But if they get stuck just reading this poo? Ugh, that's what scares me. Not that everyone MUST read Shakespeare, or whatever, but reading stupid stuff only takes you so far, while reading smart stuff makes you smarter. What you read (and watch, and hear) provides you with your mental scaffolding and conceptual vocabulary. If the most complex metaphors kids can understand are "Edward is beautiful because he is WHITE! and SPARKLES! WHITE! = GOOD! and SPARKLES! = PRETTY!" then what the fuck? Is that the height of mass culture at the most literate moment in world history? Depressing. For some it will be a gateway drug -- they'll decide to read some Anne Rice, then maybe say, hey, what about this Bram Stoker fella, and oh, look, the gothic novel! But for many, it is just the latest consumable fad and will have no lasting impact, because nothing has an impact on them. But, whatever, I guess. They can read their Twilight, but please do it on someone else's lawn.
posted by Saxon Kane at 9:09 PM on November 19, 2009 [1 favorite]


If instead it were a story of Edward Cullen FIXING his girlfriend's car engine, or better still, teaching her how to fix her OWN car engine, my reaction to the people waving Robert pattinson posters would be very different.

This makes you a member of Team Jacob, as (again I can't believe I have lost brainspace to this knowledge) he helps Bella learn how to fix cars and motorcycles and stuff while Edward is off in Italy trying to commit suicide via sparkling. Of course, he also sexually assaults her later on, so you'll probably want to hold off buying the bumpersticker.

I should note that I have not read any of these books, but I have listened to most of them on long car trips between Boston and Annapolis. The recordings are okay, I guess, but poor Jacob does suffer from the fact that the female narrator's reading of his voice sounds a whole lot like Milhouse. This has put a spin on my understanding of the character, changing his behavior from that of a potential sexual predator to that of a pathetic, awkward, also-ran.

I agree with Saxon Kane that the books are bad across the board, not just bad for their presentation of femininity. There are no good male characters in the books:

Edward: Aloof manic depressive obsessive stalker who is perfect at everything.
Jacob: Awkward, desperate teen Hulked out on hormones, urges, and werewolfism.
Bella's Dad: Absent father.
Bella's Male Highschool Friends: Squabbling teens, presented as immature babies next to Edward.
Male Werewolves: Jerks! With! Fur!
Male, non-Cullen Vampires: Jerks! With! Fangs!
Dr. Cullen: Way too perfect!
Emmett Cullen: You'd think a guy who punches bears would be more interesting. He's just dumb muscle.
Jasper Cullen: He's almost interesting and is the biggest sign that Meyers picked up a World of Darkness Guide to the Sabbat book at some point. But despite having one of the better backstories, he does freak out over a papercut at one point. Seriously? A papercut?
posted by robocop is bleeding at 5:03 AM on November 20, 2009 [2 favorites]


This makes you a member of Team Jacob, as (again I can't believe I have lost brainspace to this knowledge) he helps Bella learn how to fix cars and motorcycles and stuff while Edward is off in Italy trying to commit suicide via sparkling. Of course, he also sexually assaults her later on, so you'll probably want to hold off buying the bumpersticker.

Oh, darlin', I'm not on anyone's team. Hadn't heard about the "Jacob teaches her things" bit, but I have heard about how he falls irretrievably in love with Bella's INFANT DAUGHTER. The whole thing is a big bowl of "do not want" for me.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 6:10 AM on November 20, 2009


The pedophilia of the series is a little weird. There's at least 2 people who are in love with infants, and the 100+ yr old vampire being in love with a 16 yr old girl is also more than a little May-December creepy. What the hell is up with that?
posted by Saxon Kane at 8:00 AM on November 20, 2009 [1 favorite]


Oh my god:
Meyer's commitment to satisfying that need hasn't gone unrewarded. In the first quarter of 2009, Twilight novels composed 16 percent of all book sales -- four out of every 25 books sold were part of the series. The final installment, Breaking Dawn, sold 1.3 million copies on the day of its release in August 2008. 


That's an aside in this article.
posted by delmoi at 4:47 AM on November 21, 2009


Oh, my.

The Simpsons are going to spoof Twilight in an upcoming episode -- Lisa falls in love with an enigmatic sparkly vampire. and the best part is that this vampire is going to be voiced by DANIEL RADCLIFFE.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 11:01 PM on November 21, 2009 [2 favorites]


Someone convinced me to watch Twilight last night and it is just a huge pile of shit. Unbelievably bad. Christ. Vampire fucking baseball. The Convenient-Bookstore-Rape Gang. Breaking and entering as a romantic gesture. The idea that a 109 year-old would willingly go to high school over and over and over again. The idea that a 109 year-old could stand to be around a twitchy dumbshit 17 year-old for more than ten seconds. I kept hoping maybe the last half of the movie would just be Bella's dad and that wheelchair Indian dude sitting there watching the fucking Mariners game for 45 minutes.
posted by Optimus Chyme at 10:37 AM on November 23, 2009 [3 favorites]


ITS PRETTY CLEAR THAT OPTIMUS MUST HAVE SLEPT THROUGH THE PART WHERE EDWARD PUTS BELLA ON HIS BACK AND RUNS VERY FAST LIKE HE IS HER HORSE
posted by Greg Nog at 1:08 PM on November 23, 2009 [10 favorites]


I kept hoping maybe the last half of the movie would just be Bella's dad and that wheelchair Indian dude sitting there watching the fucking Mariners game for 45 minutes.

I would watch the shit out of that movie and I trufax do not even know what sport these Mariners play or from where they hail.
posted by elizardbits at 9:02 PM on November 23, 2009 [1 favorite]


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