Friday, November 18, 2011

In Protest

This is the weekend a million screaming tweens and their moms gather together to gush in high-pitched tremors of just how much Twilight means to them. All around me--at college--people are discussing the newest film. As if there's anything really to talk about. It's just the "A Baby Story" from Hell. Boy and girl have sex, girl gets pregnant, wolf gets protective, everyone cries, baby rips itself out of womb, girl should die, luckily boy is a vampire and saves her taking it.


If you haven't guessed, I can't stand Twilight. Not just because of the poor writing or the fact that, by the end, it morphs into soft porn, but mostly because the "lessons" in them.... /shudder. The Bella-Edward dynamic, it's just not healthy. On any level. Nor is it ever romantic. Please, please, PLEASE explain to me how a 200-year-old creeping into your room in the middle of the night to watch you sleep is romantic? It's not. But people aren't just like "OMG, this is so not real life!" No, people get serious about it. I read an article about a woman who told her husband she wouldn't have sex with him until Bella slept with Edward. And then there's, where these women spend THOUSANDS on Twilight tours and figurines. They even annotate their books. Of course, in response, there's which is replete with horror stories about crazy, obsessive wives pricking their fingers and licking the blood as foreplay.

So this isn't simply a dumb book people like. It's a book people worship. And it's sick.

Some people (read: little girls and bored housewives) consider my view on Twilight to be misanthropic. I'm just jealous, I just don't understand, etc., etc., etc. But, no, this is not mere cynicism. This is built on a life of reading literature that inspired me. Not in a lecture-ish way (I mean, look at this blog: heaven knows I like some silly stuff), but I still learned about being strong, smart, brave. From The Magic Tree House series to Chronicles of Narnia, even Little Women and definitely Harry Potter. There's good stuff out there. But Twilight? Mostly, I can't stand when negative qualities--especially sexist qualities--are professed to be something good, something enlightened. Bella Swan is no role model. She's weak and Edward relishes in the control. What Stephenie Meyer calls chivalry I call male chauvinism.

I am not opposed to a man holding a door open for me, paying for my meal, even buying a gift. I am opposed to a man telling me what to drive, telling me I can't drive, and definitely watching me sleep. Bleh, I say, bleh. Not to mention, he's there because she smells good. She's his own personal brand of heroin, remember? But that's a major question of mine: shouldn't the attraction end once the crack-infested blood stops pumping through her veins? That's all he wants, right? That's why he's there; that's why he can't stay away: she is the object of his blood-lust. And that's what romance is--at least to Meyer.

I mean, their relationship (if you can call it that), isn't built on anything. What do they ever talk about? How they shouldn't be together. I doubt he even knows her favorite color. Because, I mean, he never really lets her talk. He abandons her, but then even keeps her from moving on. He is the one deciding what is best for her; she has no say. When they get together, when they have sex, even when she becomes a vampire--these are all decided by him. It's disgusting.

But it's not like she has much going for her anyway.

Meyer tries to make Bella a sort of feminist--what, since she's not "pretty" and so introspective. But all she really seems concerned about is being a year older than her ageless boyfriend before they hit the sack. Really? That's what's eating her up inside? Not that, say, she has an affinity for attracting mystical creatures, or that her boyfriend wanted to kill her when they first met, or that her in-laws almost ate her. Nope, she's just some shallow teenage girl. And it's probably a good thing that Edward can't read her thoughts because I'm pretty sure even he'd be running for cover, terrified by how insipid, dim-witted, shallow-minded, and obsessive-compulsive his forever-love is. I mean, she's the one who becomes attracted to him when she realizes he is physically repulsed by her; she's one who goes from almost kissing the wolf-boy to running off to Europe (without telling her parents) to save her ex who left her to die in the woods; she's the one who jumps off cliffs when things don't go her way; she's the one who makes out with her wolf-boy in front of her lover-boy and only sorts through her feelings for both when, conveniently, she has a baby girl said-wolf-boy can mate with, thus solving her "perfect family" worries.

It's messed up, people.

So why do I spend so much time talking about Twilight? In my defense, it comes up when the movies come up. And they won't die. I mean, I thought this was the last one. No, it's the first part of the last one (further proof that they wish they were as cool as Harry Potter. Fact: they will never be). So there's still a whole other year before even the POSSIBILITY of Twilight fading from the human consciousness begins to happen. So I rant, I rave, and I mock. Because, okay, it's hilarious stuff (and I heard this fourth film is the funniest,'s got that going for it). But since this is a book blog, and since I haven't had time to read recently, I thought I'd post an old review of the Twilight series. Because it's pretty epic. And I want to spread the word in any way possible. Maybe bring a few twi-hards back to sanity.
If only.

But, without further adieu, I give you...
"Twilight, Or When Women Stepped Back A Few Hundred Years."

You know what I can't understand? How ANY of this is attractive or exciting. It's just not healthy. These are trashy novels--as in they literally belong in the trash. They're severely sexist, bordering on misogynistic; they're poorly written, relying on repetitive adjectives like "alabaster"; they offer nothing good yet purport themselves as clean and empowering when it's actually all completely irrelevant. I feel my brain cells dying when I read (or watch) any Twilight. So what business do I have here? Why did I bother. was hilarious. Depressing, sure, but hilarious. Mostly because people take it so seriously. And the fact that 14-year-old girls bond with their 40-year-old mothers over this. Isn't that reason to give pause?

I read somewhere that Edward can't read Bella's thoughts because she doesn't have any. It's something I can believe. Her motivations make no sense, her logic is nonexistent. Who she is as a person...I find myself wanting to reach into the pages and choke her out. I mean, come on--anyone actually attracted to a bloodsucking vampire just because he is, in fact, a vampire obviously has mental problems, or at least some major daddy issues. And then, at the same time, she falls inexplicably for the werewolf with anger management issues who is the exact opposite of her "soul mate." But she literally only lives to please them, turning in circles because she can't decide how to make both of them happy. She needs thrown into a Women's Studies class ASAP.

It's not like she needs to be a feminist. I understand she's a stupid, starry-eyed teenager in love. That's fine. JUST STOP HAVING HER MAKE LIFE-ALTERING DECISIONS. She is self-centered and stupid. She pretends she isn't but she is. Her friends are background noise, her parents are worse. She disrespects everyone, including herself. She sees Edward as a god--literally calling him one about 5,000 times (I could make a drinking game out of it). So she gives herself wholly over to him, regardless of what everyone/anyone else in her life would say. And then, amidst all that, she decides that yes, indeed, she's ready to risk her soul just to do it with some cold vampire. 

It's uncomfortable how much she's given herself up. As I heard one girl put it, any series that climaxes with a girl waking up bruised and battered but assures her husband over and over again that it's fine, that she understands, that it's not his fault, that she asked for it, that she loves him--it's just not healthy. It's irresponsible for anyone to purport this as any sort of ideal, perfect, fantastic relationship. It's abuse. Physical, mental, emotional. And I'm not even kidding.

Edward is overprotective, controlling, smothering. I don't care how chiseled his abs are, just how perfect he is with his "translucent" skin. There is no explanation behind their relationship beyond the sexually charged and blood-sucking-fueled tension between them. Off the page, they don't make sense together. Scratch that: even on the page, they don't make sense. There is no chemistry. Unless you call him wanting to lock her in a cage and eat her alive chemistry.

Really, everyone complains about not knowing what Bella's thinking. I'd really be interested in the vampire's inner monologue. It can't be pretty.

And then Jacob? I've never understood this whole two-polar-opposites-love-triangle-thing. What can they both see in Bella? And what does Bella possibly see in either of them? He's a dog. Literally, figuratively, all of the above. He gets a high off of pushing her around, demanding things from her until she gives in. And then he imprints. On her newborn. Even the word sounds dirty. Imprinting. On a baby. Meaning he's found his soulmate, the one he'll magically love forever, no matter what. While she's just clawed her way out of his girlfriend's womb. Now, what's really interesting here is that it seems that, even though imprinting is a magical wolf thing, these girls just go along with it. They have no choice; they've been chosen. So...yet another woman loses her identity to a man she's inexplicably paired to. Like mother, like daughter.

But that would be an interesting conversation: in the mere days it takes for this special child to grow up into a beautiful, poised, perfect little whatever-thing who will actually never live (seeing as she had no childhood and she has no future). Can't you just see them, maybe holding hands as they rip a bear gracefully apart? "Mother, I'm getting married." "It's about time, darling. You're getting old." "Don't you want to know who to?" "Oh, but everyone already knows. To your babysitter, Jacob. You know, I almost married him once. We even made out. He was in love with me for three years." "But...that's longer than I've even been alive." "I know! Isn't it wonderful?"

But, hey, that doesn't matter right? I can't insult what isn't actually discussed. And, hopefully, Twilight 2: Renesmee's Story never hits the shelves. I think even Meyer realizes she painted herself into a corner with that one.

The point is, this series is weak. It's based on a middle-aged woman's fantasies. And it's obvious she's been sheltered her whole life (though you can watch her TV interviews to figure that one out). Frankly, though, it scares me how obsessive people get over it. I feel like I'm caught in a literary Josie and the Pussy Cats where there's some message 
brainwashing everyone but I'm missing out on hearing it. The hype just doesn't make sense and it's terrifying that this, this is the book that will define this decade, this generation.

Remember Harry Potter? How love was never lust but something that could literally save lives? How you didn't have to be beautiful to be awesome (Hermione, Neville, Ginny, etc.)? How even when a boyfriend dumps you, you carry on instead of just, say, jumping off a cliff? 

But maybe that's my problem: I'm such a dyed-in-the-wool HP girl, I can't even pretend to understand the Twi-hards. And I hate that name. And I hate that they embrace it. If I had a choice, my nickname for them would be Twits. It's more true to life, right?

Seriously, though. I think I'm going to start telling people puppies die when they say "Twilight" and "good" in the same sentence.

Unless the sentence is "Twilight is a good piece of crap." But even that can be misleading.