|Willow (the_willow) wrote,|
@ 2009-10-23 19:42:00
|Entry tags:||thinky thoughts|
Twilight & Other Creepy Thoughts
I think I've figured out the appeal of Edward Cullen.
So I'm reading Female Chauvinist Pigs: Women And The Rise Of Raunch Culture and I get to the part about interviews and interactions with teenage girls (yes, white teenage girls, but hear me out - cause I'm also curious if this phenomenon is universal for all girls in the US, or if ethnicity and culture counter-balance)
The author talks about girls conflicting pretty with sexy (I may have mentioned that in an essay somewhere at some point) but the point she raised that I hadn't thought of before, is that between the media crush to be sexy and the abstinence only programs with a 'hush hush, you don't need to know about that' - she thinks girls have no idea of their own sexual desires. They don't know what wanting feels like, they don't know what being sexy FEELS like. They only know sexy as performance with returns of attention.
And suddenly Edward Cullen made so much sense as a heart throb. I don't know if Stephanie Myer knew this when she wrote, or if he and that relationship really was more an unconscious product of her upbringing. But Edward Cullen is a boy who
a) does not require a girl give a performance of / have the persona of sexy
b) in having that requirement, thus allowed Bella to feel want and lust and yearning
c) saw nothing wrong with Bella having those desires, but respected/loved her and so wanted to wait (sex was not the end game)
It's startlingly to me to contemplate that Edward / Bella is the romantic story of the century (at least right now contemporarily) because the heroine is aware of, and is allowed to feel her own desire and have her own sexual wants outside of the social act of the new female/feminine performance of pretty and the hero gives a damn about it.
But that's not the creepy part. The creepy part is that suddenly the Urban Fantasy genre, despite its, to me, soft core presentation, begins to make sense/be feminist/seem political. These characters are women in leather with guns who allow themselves to feel both arousal and power.
Obviously not everyone will do that well. And some (LKH) will in fact lose sight of that in all the combinations of screw partners and unpolished writing. But UF as a social response to the message that girls are sexy and act sexy but never mind their pretty little heads about feeling want, desire, sexual or sexually empowered for themselves - that is, not thinking of themselves as experiencing sexuality the way a man might - makes sense, even as I sigh and scowl and pout at realizing it is actually serving a social purpose.
UF, showing women they don't have to give up being sexual beings to have power, and that being a sexual being is about a woman's own desires, not her potential attractiveness to a man.
Who'd a thunk it? (I'm betting at least 20% of my flist actually. 'Cause sometimes I'm behind the curve)
ETA: 10/27/2009 - Anonymous people showing up in my journal talking about how 'safe' the male of colour character was in the Twilight series and how they'd never before encountered the noble savage buck who protects (or tries to) the white woman, even from herself - your comments will be deleted. Get the hell out of my journal space and go read an educational book on race and colonial theory.
ETA 3: Twilight fans also need not reply here talking about hateful single feminists (I'm not a white, middleclass cis het woman, so how the fuck could I be a feminist) and who knows what other hogwash. ETA 2 is a comment down below about ignoramuses being deleted immediately.
And two comments from 22.214.171.124?
The first one telling me to chill on race, and then when I don't, I get a second full of vitriol and inability to rationalize?