This site will work and look better in a browser that supports web standards, but it is accessible to any browser or Internet device.

Whedonesque - a community weblog about Joss Whedon
"Because it's WRONG."
11945 members | you are not logged in | 19 October 2014




Tweet







December 04 2008

The Guardian's Lucy Mangan rounds on Twilight comparing it to Buffy, spoken of in glowing terms (including "Whedonesque").

Finally.

Seriously, I just don't get how people don't see those things.

Edward is no hero. Bella is no Buffy. And Twilight's underlying message - that self-sacrifice makes you a worthy girlfriend, that men mustn't be excited beyond a certain point, that men with problems must be forgiven everything, that female passivity is a state to be encouraged - are no good to anyone. It should be staked through its black, black heart.

I especially like the end. :)
I made a vow that I would reserve my judgments on Twilight until I had a least read a couple chapters of the first book. But the more and more I hear, the harder it becomes to do so. Some of the things I've heard described sound really repulsive (making it all the more scary that hordes of teenage girls are reading the novels).

On the other hand, it's not like I can say that everything I read or watch is progressive from a feminist standpoint. And a lot of the criticism I've heard towards Twilight seems to be of the bandwagon variety. So I will try to maintain an open mind, now matter how hard it can be sometimes.
I'm actually going out to see this tonight, despite perhaps my better judgment. But I feel like if I'm going to mock the trailer so thoroughly, I might as well see the movie to see if it is redeeming at all.

Worst case scenario, I hate the movie, but at least I'll be able to snidely make fun of it in my head in the process, and then out loud afterwards (I'm not going to the 'special hell').
I’m not sure what’s worth saying on yet another comparative round of Buffy vs. Twilight; but here I go trying for some intelligent banter on the subject.

I’ve read all four books and saw the movie over Thanksgiving weekend. I’m not one of Stephanie Meyer’s biggest fans, but I did graduate from the same university and in the same program as she, so there is a bit of nagging curiosity when I approach her work.

Do others agree that Twilight's story has a “black, black heart”? I’ve always naively approached the material as soft headed teen fluff. I’ve never thought of it as dangerous. Is it? If so, what is dangerous about it? Is Edward really a misogynistic rapist in the making? That seemed a stretch, but I could be wrong.

Here’s another question. I love Buffy. Do not misunderstand me here. Buffy is one of the most influential pieces of writing/television I have ever had the pleasure of enjoying. But the critic did point out some interesting similarities between the two overall storylines. What ultimately makes them different? What makes one better than the other? IMHO Buffy is superior, but I don’t think the critic made all of the reasons as obvious as her overall opinion, which I gathered from the article seemed decidedly against Twilight.
I’m not sure what’s worth saying on yet another comparative round of Buffy vs. Twilight; but here I go trying for some intelligent banter on the subject.

Ha, yeah, it kind of feels like we've had this conversation to death here, doesn't it? I agree with you re. soft-headed teen fluff vs. "black, black heart" BTW. I guess those who prefer Buffy would argue that the heroine is fully empowered, never at anyone's mercy, and when her boyfriend does go evil, she's ready to take him down, but I've never fully bought Buffy as feminist icon (which is not to say I don't adore her). Since you've read the books, Rebekah, I'd be curious to hear what you think the crucial difference is (or if there is one) between the two heroines? Do you think Buffy is more complex / independent / interesting than Bella? Or is that unfair.

In any case, it seems silly to say Twilight ought to be more like Buffy. Buffy is enough like Buffy for me, and Twilight can be Twilight, right?
I disliked Twilight greatly. Bella follows Edward, and Jacob in Edward's absence, around like a lost puppy. She has no personality, strength, or redemptive quality. She spends her time drooling after boys and cooking for her father. Edward, and Jacob for that matter, exercise abusive and alarming power over the physically weaker Bella. I especially hate the part in the second (or is it third?) book when and when .

Maybe I've just been spoiled by Buffy because BtVS is a vampire story (with a strong, LIKABLE female lead) that doesn't FREAK me out big time with all the perverted creepiness.
I've just finished the third Twilight book, and I have to say that there's nothing in this article that didn't run through my head while reading them - Bella seems weak and dull, while Edward scares me a lot of the time. I'm reading them mostly because my little sister is rather obsessed with them, and I wanted to understand.

This article seems to only cover the first book, and I'd say these problems get worse in the second and third. Edward gets more and more "protective" which to me seems more like "controlling," while Bella becomes entirely dependent on the constant presence of her boyfriend. I can't deny that I wish Bella was more like Buffy, just so that all the girls obsessed with the novel might have a better role-model.
Buffy saves the world. A lot. She makes mistakes and learns from them. She grows from them.

Bella does not. There are no consequences to her actions, she gets everything she ever wants. As a result, she doesn't grow.

I just don't see comparing the two.
Is Edward really a misogynistic rapist in the making?

No, but the books really make it seem like he's a controlling, emotionally abusive husband in the making.
I know I've talked way too much about a book I haven't read, but I find this topic so fascinating. I get what people find objectionable about the stories, but I can't help thinking that the books seem to be offering a particular kind of erotic fantasy, more than a "story" per se. It's selfhood being totally consumed by passion and obsession, right? The author of the article says
Supporters will call this the erotics of abstinence. I call it fear and distaste for female sexuality and a poisonous message to be feeding young women.

but I think that's kind of silly. People get off on weird shit, and the fantasy of powerlessness, of loss of control, of yearning that can't be fulfilled... that is really not that weird. Someone who is in control and independent in their life may not want that in the bedroom. This made me think of a salon article I read this summer (which you can read here if you're interested) about call girls and the kinds of guys who go in for dominatrixes. The relevant part being this:

Is it true, like on "Secret Diary," that there would be no actual sex involved in dominatrix work?
Yes, that's true. The dungeon environment is all about giving up control. It really is a way for these men to relieve stress. They want to relinquish all control. They aren't worthy of you. They don't get to have sex with you.
What kind of men are into the dungeon BDSM scene?
Men with positions of authority -- CEOs, cops, politicians, doctors. Guys with high-stress jobs.
Not a bunch of weirdos?
Definitely not.


The point being... powerlessness and not being in control is a pretty standard turn-on that both men and women may sometimes want to take to extremes. Twilight strikes me as chaste erotica, basically. Not that it should be above criticism, at all! But dangerous? Poisonous? Seriously?
I haven't read any of the Twilight books and the movie isn't going to be released here until the 11th of December, but from all this marketing, I'm curious enough now to check it out. It does sound terribly like the Buffy/Angel love fest (or lack there of), but maybe all this hype can be a good thing for young fans who haven't yet seen Buffy. Example...Hey, Twilight's similar to Buffy, maybe I'll watch Buffy, gee this Buffy Show is cool, gee I really like this show, gee I'm in love with this show, gee this Whedon guy is a genius! This may mean an increase in the legion of Whedonites, (Whedonians? Whedashians?) which may mean more Joss stuff, which frankly equals, yay!
... And also, Joss Whedon, novelist, will be ultra awesome. Ok, I know he is uber busier than Santa's elves, but he's done everything else, why not a novel? Pretty, (like Neil Patrick Harris pretty),... please?

[ edited by RollingInKittens on 2008-12-05 01:21 ]
This article beautifully articulates everything I've been thinking about this book series for some time. Although I've only read the first two books, I've found myself despising the two romantic leads. Edward is a monumentally self-absorbed control freak, Bella a passive, needy, selfish individual whom it's difficult to sympathise with. Come to think of it, the books don't really have any positive female role models. We need a re-run of the entire seven series of Buffy now so we can bask in the empowering and witty mind of Joss!
Catherine, I don’t think your question is unfair, but it’s a hard one to flippantly answer considering the complex contexts of both storylines (Four books for Twilight, and BtVS’s 140-something episodes/19 comic issues—Buffy with the unequivocally larger canon.).

That being said, let me try to attempt it. When it comes to being independent, Buffy takes cake all the way. Bella is never happy without her man. In fact, in the second book, Edward leaves her for a time, and then she proceeds to pine for literally chapters and chapters worth—she becomes inconsolably depressed (enter teenage angst hour...).

However, Bella is extremely plucky and incredibly determined to have what she wants, no matter what the cost. Some see this determination as a negative, because her decision often go against better judgment and put others is needless danger for purely selfish reasons. She is however fiercely loyal and kind, and the books often refer to her being smart, if not actually giving us good examples of that fact.

As far as interesting? Her most interesting hour, for me at least, did not come until the fourth book—I will spare spoilers if you are actually interested. The problem with those compelling moments being in the fourth book, however, is if people are tired of miring through the two middle novels, the lesser books IMO, they may never get there. It may not be worth it: 500 pages per book is a substantial investment for “fluff.”

As for complexity? I have to say Buffy wins on this one. Her motivation for doing things has often been more difficult for me to understand. Her relationships specifically, are much more complex. Think of who she has in her Scooby gang at different points in the series: A reformed dark witch, a former demon, Andrew from season seven killed his best friend. These are much more complex characters because they are not perfectly good guys. I never questioned who the bad guys and good guys were in Twilight—never.

The other difference, and I must mention this, is Meyer is not Whedon. The cleverness, intelligence, and wit I expect from Whedon’s characters are just not there. For me, that is Twlight’s biggest sin. I think you can enjoy both, but they are not the same.

I hope that answers some of your questions. Thanks for an interesting response.
This is a little odd. I’m just finishing a class, Pop Culture in the Classroom, and my final project concerns that question. I teach high school and have been watching girls read the Twilight books for years, but I didn’t pay any attention until Breaking Dawn came out and I ask a kid if the main character got a happy ending. She said, “Yeah, Edward turned her into a vampire, like she wanted.” I was like WTF? That’s a happy ending? You are happy that she is happy?

So I started digging deeper into what people, my teen friends and my fellow teacher’s, liked about it. Turns out most of them don’t like Bella – she’s annoying, whiney, they said. For them it’s about Edward because he’s soo perfect. I read the first book, and I get the appeal of him, but I draw the line at reading the second based on the synopsis. Edward leaves for Bella’s own good, but she discovers that putting herself in life threatening danger gives her a hallucination of his voice, so she’s cliff diving and inviting death over and over again because even death is worth it to hear him. YUCK!

I read someone who questioned whether an Meyer as an author has a responsibility to offer up a better role model to her readers, and I’m torn. I get that she wrote the book from a personal drive, a dream, and had no idea it would succeed. So I don’t have a problem with that, but I do hold her in contempt (personally) for continuing into the three other books and making millions off the girls I see in my classes who are being influenced and need a better role model than Bella and a better model of a relationship than those two. I love what Mangen says about Edward; it’s spot on to me.

The project I did (with the help of my students) was a web comic where Buffy confronts Bella and tries to give her a different choice. I was trying to create a dialogue between the hero archetype and the female as misguided martyr that is Bella. It’s posted at web.me.com/whimsy36 if anyone is interested. (Shameless self-promotion only to get a better grade.)

[ edited by whimsy36 on 2008-12-05 03:06 ]
I've read Twilight, and I agree that Edward is a possessive moron, and that Bella has no sense of self-preservation. But, that said, I don't see how the series is dangerous. Maybe me and my friends (my friends are bigger fans than me -- one of the reasons I read the series was to snark, while they actually enjoyed it) are older and more mature than the target age group (we've just finished high school, and we're aged between 16 and 18); but I doubt that any of us would put up with a possessive, controlling boyfriend, regardless of what we think of Edward. We have our values, and we'll stick to them. Reading Twilight hasn't changed them.

Sure, the character's morals can be annoying at times. But I just see it as fluff. I don't think it's dangerous, and I don't think it's a bad thing for kids to be reading it -- because we need to give them credit to be able to differentiate fantasy from reality.
Have you ever worked with teenagers? In my experience as a public school teacher, they have a real problem distiguishing fantasy from reality.
Thanks for the response, Rebekah. I don't think it sounds like my kind of book, but I was curious to know whether Bella as a character was appealing beyond the obvious appeal of the fraught / dangerous relationship that the books center on.

whimsy36 do you think that girls really see Bella as a role model? Based only on myself and my friends when we were reading trashy books as kids... surely it's about the vicarious experience, how extreme it is, and the sex, and not about wanting to be like Bella? But if I carry on I really will just start repeating old posts, so I'll stop there ;).
I surely hope that we're not at a point where ("Eclipse" spoilers)

I bet if we picked through "Buffy", "Veronica Mars", and any of a number of shows, movies, and books with good reputations for female empowerment, you'd find a heroine doing almost the exact same thing, and it being totally okay.

I do share a lot of these concerns over the tone of "Twilight" in general, and Bella's general helpless attitude, how she's powerless and useless because she's just a human/just a girl. But that event? Not offensive.

And, not that I'm one to defend Meyer's mythology too much, but about her werewolves,
Have you ever worked with teenagers? In my experience as a public school teacher, they have a real problem distiguishing fantasy from reality.

I am a teenager, and I guess I'm hoping that others out there are something like me and my friends.
That fourth book is so offensive it beggars description. You have to really think about the message it is sending. Calling Bella a breeder is perhaps as nicely as it can be put. I find this entire series so horrid I can barely articulate it.

I appreciate this article. It brings attention to the real problems inherent in the text. Bella is a bad Mary Sue, and the author's beliefs infuse the book. This is not, taken alone, reason to mistrust the book, of course. But it is so apparent that Bella=Stephanie. I am sad we have gone from Buffy to Bella. Thank God for Sookie; she at least fights for herself and is willing to put Bill in his place. Bella cannot live without Edward. She has no meaning without her man. And she has no agency, ever.
But we haven't gone from Buffy to Bella! There's still Buffy, and there's Bella too. Surely there's room in the world for both Buffys and Bellas? And even for books so offensive they beggar description? ;)
Obviously. But it pains me to see Bella posited as heroic, when she is anything but. Buffy is. It is as if Joss's desire to put the "helpless blond" in control has been not only reversed, but erased. There is nothing in Bella to admire. And as a big advocate of YA novels, which I find truly compelling at times (my fave: Paula Boock's "Dare, Truth or Promise"), I understand that the nuances I may see will not be seen by the YA reader, by and large, so they will simply enjoy the story. Nonetheless, offensive to me these are. And that fourth? Just horrible.

[ edited by Dana5140 on 2008-12-05 02:25 ]
Ha, OK, I getcha :). So what is Paula Boock all about? Does she also write fantasy or something different?
My goodness. Bella is NOT the natural progression of Buffy. We have not "gone" from one to the other. They're both just relatively comparative contemporary vampire/occult stories. I would no sooner say Buffy was Twilight's precursor than insist Sookie from the Southern Vampire Novels was the natural progression of characters in Rice's Interview with the Vampire.

Dana5140, that's an interesting thought as far as Bella=Stephanie. I'd be interested to know in what way you feel her belief system is imposed on the story.
whimsy36 do you think that girls really see Bella as a role model?

The teens in my writing group don’t see her as one, but so many see Edward as the “perfect” guy and that does trouble me a lot. So many of the girls I’m teaching don’t have strong identities and are too hung up on “having a guy” as defining them. Plus, I was that girl, overly influenced by the idea that life was waiting for Prince Charming. I was 25 before I got over the martyr complex.

The thing I appreciate about BUFFY is that true love can be true and bad for you too. (and being a hero isn't all parades either) I think Meyer created Bella and Edward in a perfect little dream and wasn’t willing to mar it by giving Bella a backbone or by acknowledging anything negative about Edward and his clan. If you read Midnight Sun, they detest humans; Bella is just a novelty, and obsession that Meyer’s calls true love.
RollingInKittens, I like your train of thought. If people like things that grate my nerves and yet it turns them to Buffy and then to Dollhouse, all is well in the world. Your assessment is SPOT ON, btw. :)

I would like to follow that with how my friend became addicted to Angel. She stumbled upon Bones & fell in love with David Boreanaz. When the show was on hiatus for baseball *curses sports with a spit*, she needed to get her DB fix so she turned to Angel (without asking; how dare she!). After seeing all 5 seasons in about a week, she ended up loving Angel more than Bones, but still watches Bones for her DB fix. You'd think it'd then be easy to persuade her to watch Buffy (since she likes Angel & Firefly), but will she budge? No. She's built this wall of cringe that has to do with a silly name like Buffy.

One day. *shakes fist* She also loves Spike, and her stance almost faltered when I hinted at Spike's appearance in a couple of episodes in Buffy. I know, I understated it a bit, but I didn't want to hurt the girl. She'll come around... >)
Isn't it a problem, though, that we're calling a series of novels 'dangerous' because we don't agree with their values? As I said above, I get the problems with the 'Twilight' series, and I agree with the dislike of the characters. But aren't we going to the same place that the people who advocate banning novels like Harry Potter went?

There's nothing wrong with having criticisms -- hell, I have plenty. But I do find myself uncomfortable with the final sentence of the article: "It should be staked through its black, black heart."
I see what you're saying, whimsy36 (and I enjoyed the webcomic, BTW!). I guess it's hard to tell from some of the criticisms I hear leveled at Twilight if the critics are just saying "Twilight sucks because..." or in fact "Twilight should be different than what it is / be Not Twilight, in order to help teenage girls to be better people" (sorry - that's a rather silly parody!). If it's the former, then, sure. If it's the latter... I just think that Twilight is phenomenally successful because it taps into something. It may appeal to some people simply as a vicarious thrill, and to others because it represents their own fantasies to some degree. But I agree with snowinhell that calling it "dangerous" or "poisonous" feels like a bit much. I know nobody is burning copies of Twilight or suggesting it be banned from libraries, but ya know, one person's sinful demonic trash is another person's favorite fantasy series, and another person's poisonous misogynistic tripe is another person's... favorite fantasy series.

When it comes to girls placing too much of their sense of self-worth in their relationships to guys... I don't think Twilight can be held responsible for that, and I don't think a romance writer has any obligation to try and combat it, either. But I do get what you're saying... if I were working with teens, I might find the things they were into depressing!
snowinhell, expressing opinions about your culture is vital to keeping it alive and should never be looked down upon. Banning is the opposite of that.

I would just like to add that Buffy is not really that much stronger than Bella, at least not when it comes to love. The difference between the two works is much more in the perspective of their authors. Meyer has an uncanny ability to completely miss all the worthwhile questions and come across as glib, glossing over some pretty nasty stuff, and in effect sanctioning them within her story.
I am sad we have gone from Buffy to Bella. Thank God for Sookie; she at least fights for herself and is willing to put Bill in his place. Bella cannot live without Edward. She has no meaning without her man. And she has no agency, ever.
Dana5140 | December 05, 02:14 CET


Sookie? Dana5140, Sookie may be better than Bella (have not read Twilight for comparison), but she is not what I'd consider a strong woman. Of all the characters in True Blood, I would say she's the worst. She had potential to be interesting when Bill first came to town, and she's all for standing up for her beliefs and what not, but those final 2 episodes??? Nu uh.

Bill gets sent away to trial and the next day she's making moves on the bar tender? The same bar tender who's been infatuated with her but she hasn't given a second look at until she finds out he's with someone else? This is the same day she confirms her true love for Bill, but within 5 hours later, is making out with the bar tender on the couch?

To me, Sookie may just be as clingy as Bella. One man after another to lean on for support. The difference is that Sookie seems to have a life outside her men, as limited as that may be. And she gets mad & puts up fights with people she doesn't agree with. But she's extremely emotional, wish-washy, and jumps to conclusions & judges people based on her current emotions, not giving them the benefit of the doubt.

...

Sorry for the rant. I do like True Blood & Sookie (sort of). I just don't see how we should be grateful for Sookie when we have Buffy, and Willow, and Tara, and Dawn. Sookie needs these women as role models as well. End of my point.
But aren't we going to the same place that the people who advocate banning novels

Oh man, now I feel guilty for the ideas that I've had concerning getting rid of the copy of Twilight I bought to research my project.

As to It should be staked through its black, black heart.

When I first came up with my project idea Buffy, Bites & Twilight (shameless self promotion), I wanted Buffy to kill Edward, but after I read the Twilight, I realized she wouldn't. I was kind of sad, then I decided to live up to the ideal.
Twilight makes me twitch. The idea that thousands of girls (and even more creepily, their *mothers*) are idolizing Edward, Violent Manic-Depressive and Stalker Extraordinaire, as their perfect man is enough to almost send me to tears. He sneaks into her bedroom every night to watch her sleep, y'all. He oiled the hinges of her window so he could get in without waking her up. He follows her everywhere she goes (unbeknownst to her) in case she falls and twists her precious ankle, 'cos God knows a girl can't take care of herself without a man. So far so familiar, for some perceptive pop culture observers, but later he goes so far as to take the engine out of her car when he doesn't want her to go someplace. He scares the life out of her, then says he does it because he just loves her SO MUCH. Textbook abusive relationship.

And yet the books pass this off as totes okay, as long as he's, like, HOT, you know, and can turn Bella into a vampire so she doesn't have to get OLD and WRINKLY (Ewwww!) and give her a Super Special Vampire Baby that drains her life and breaks her pelvis, spine, and ribs from inside her, but is somehow so much a miracle of life that even the mention of trying to terminate to save Bella is soundly rejected by pretty much everyone. One gets the sense from the text that the birthing of Death Baby is the primary reason for Bella's existence.

And it's all portrayed as OMG MOST ROMANTIC THING EVAR.

I'll be the first to admit that I enjoyed the occasional bout of romantic/angsty soppiness in my teenage years, and if vampires were involved then all the better, but this stuff is so thoroughly backwards, so antithetical to any portrayal of healthy emotional attachment, and presented in such a sickeningly positive way that I thank any and all cosmic forces that these books weren't around ten years ago when I might not have been able to see through it.

I'd never advocate banning anything, no matter how repugnant, but I do think that any responsible parent who knows their daughter is reading Twilight and the sequels should make a special effort to make sure that's not her only source for cues on romance. Just to be sure.
I just don't see how we should be grateful for Sookie when we have Buffy, and Willow, and Tara, and Dawn. Sookie needs these women as role models as well.

But wouldn't it be lame if all the characters in the stories we read / watched were fabulous role models? I never thought Buffy was really a "role model" (I was already older than her anyway when I started watching). She had buckets of flaws, but that was part of what made her an appealing and interesting character. I would never aspire to be as confused and insecure and shitty-at-relationships as Buffy, for all that I love her dearly.

snowinhell, expressing opinions about your culture is vital to keeping it alive and should never be looked down upon. Banning is the opposite of that.

So very true, hence (love your username!). I think perhaps what both snowinhell and I are sort of instinctively responding to is way a lot of the criticism of Twilight seems to suggest it is poisoning the minds of the young... which does sound an awful lot like the words of crazy types who think certain books should be banned, even though I realize that nobody is suggesting such a thing. I think when any book gets blasted as somehow "bad" for young people my anxious, defensive hackles go up, but it's an overreaction, and you are quite right.

ETA that at her age, I was way more confused, insecure and shitty-at-relationships than Buffy, and I didn't have to save the world on top of it all, so maybe I should cut the girl some slack! still.

[ edited by catherine on 2008-12-05 03:40 ]
I agree with catherine & snowinhell. Calling something "dangerous" is something that reminds me of the Red Scare or book-burning in WW2. However, I am now wondering why books aren't slapped with Parental Ratings Levels. Video games have it, movies have it, why not books?

I don't condone the ratings system in any way, but I do wonder how books squeaked out of that limitation overhaul. Just curious.

And, unfortunately, I see where hence is coming from. Buffy is a bit vulnerable(?) when it comes to her love life, but she seems to maturing on her depence of a love-life. She's grown up. What I think differs between the two, based on what I know (which isn't a lot), is that even though Buffy was day-dreamy & wanting to be with Angel in a big love-festy way (marriage, kids, etc...), she doesn't. She made the decision to in Season 2 to end things for the greater good of humanity. And even though Angel decided to leave, she understood his decision and didn't follow him to LA like a love-sick puppy.

I'm not saying her decisions in future men was good (but sure was fun ;)), but she learned from each and didn't let the relationship define her life. And when the "man of her high school dreams" comes in on a white steed and swoops her up off of her feet (Angel kissing Buffy in S7), she knows that's not what Buffy's "cookie dough" self needs. So doesn't. And, she managed to turn what used to be a very depressing & torture f*ck with Spike into a very meaningful friendship bridging on *something more*.

The way Bella has been described doesn't cover this. So, they may have started out the same with love-stricken doting eyes, one made decisions that developed her life & gave herself other definitions & meaning, while the other... ?
To me, Sookie may just be as clingy as Bella. One man after another to lean on for support. The difference is that Sookie seems to have a life outside her men, as limited as that may be. And she gets mad & puts up fights with people she doesn't agree with. But she's extremely emotional, wish-washy, and jumps to conclusions & judges people based on her current emotions, not giving them the benefit of the doubt.


Agree with this statement whole-hartedly: unless we're talking about the Sookie of the novels rather than the TV show (which Dana5140 may have been referring to). The Sookie of the novels is much more self-reliant and nowhere near as judgmental. That's probably one of the few problems I have with the series. They really have screwed with her characterization, and not all of it was really necessary.
catherine, I get that Buffy was not in any way perfect, and sometimes I couldn't relate to her mistakes. Her relationships were at times shitty. That's why I like her. Even through all of her mistakes, she pulls through. Of course, my idea of a role model is someone you can relate to, imperfections and all, but one who presents the strenghth of character that you want to aspire to.

Sookie... she has flaws. Just like Buffy. And I like her flaws. She has a mad temper and shows no fear of expressing her opinion, even when it may/may not be perfect timing. She cuts off her brother after he slaps her, and continues to not value him even when he was on the mend. She's quick to believe in people and quick to fall in love. But if you get on her bad side, she'll dump you like a ton of bricks. I LIKE that about her. What some see as flaws, others see as strengths.

What I don't like about Sookie is she doesn't seem to have any loyalty, I guess. And since I value loyalty, maybe that's what grates me so. I'm okay with her dumping one of her friends if she has reason, but what she did to Bill was ludicrous. To pronounce your true love to someone and then to make out with someone else a short time later, and then not understand why your "true love" is upset... bothers me. Bill was gone for a day. Not a week, not a year. A day. If he's her true love then surly she can go a whole day without him. But that's where the story & I differ on opinion.

If someone's got your back, you should have theirs. MO.

ETA: Just to clarify, I'm talking about the HBO series of Sookie. I wasn't aware that there were books. Hope that clears up any confusion. Thanks for pointing that out, deepgirl.

[ edited by korkster on 2008-12-05 04:06 ]
catherine, yeah I respect that notion. The “bad for the kids” argument is a cherished first step to getting things banned. I`m just happy we are talking about it (and will defend the option to do so). If or when they light the bonfires I hope we`ll all join in the ridicule and outrage.
That's a very interesting and strongly-worded review. *g*

I haven't expressed any opinion on these books, which I have not read, nor do I intend to read. But I'd like to leave a comment in reply to Rebekah's question to Dana5140 about the Bella=Stephanie thing.

(And it's still not my opinion I'm offering but someone else's reviews of all four novels--as a way to explain the compairison of Bella and the author of the book re:belief system imposed on the story.)

Book 1.

Book 2.

Book 3.

Book 4.
I'll admit to owning all four Twilight books, and being 20 enough to understand their appeal, although I did have several questions from the outset and several rants upon reading book four.

On the concept of Edward being "perfect", aside from the exhaustive descriptions (scorching...scorching...scorching...LEARN A NEW ADJECTIVE, WOMAN!) I think he is actually among some abstinence-inclined friends. There is a thing in YA literature about (often dead) men from a different time who would NEVER sleep with their girlfriends because they're too old-fashioned.

A different best-selling example of this genre is Meg Cabot's Mediator series (which started as an obvious Buffy rip-off and then developed into its own fun, albeit shallow, thing), about A teen girl "mediator" and the hot ghost she loves.

I think the appeal in these guys, aside from the obvious looks and danger stuff, is an ability for girls to explore wanting sex, without having it. Since "normal" guys always want sex, no matter what, and "good" girls are supposed to say no, then girls dating such charming specimens don't really get the chance to explore the concept of yes, since they're always saying no. But if you're with Edward or Jesse (the Cabot character), then you get to be the leader. I think that a man who wants you desperately but is never going to pressure you is a really potent and sadly under-manifested fantasy for young girls.

All that being said, it would have been quite possible for Meyers to come up with a scenario in which that was true and in which the underlying morals weren't nearly so creepy...

Or we could, *shock*, write a decently balanced story in which the characters were something other then the most obvious lowest denominator. I miss Joss. Is it February yet?

[ edited by heinouslizard on 2008-12-05 18:36 ]
I found the change in Sookie's character from book Sookie to True Blood Sookie pretty distressing. Book Sookie is much more interesting, loyal and self reliant.

I really like the novels and got pretty tired of the show.
Those are some good points, heinouslizard. And it's *almost* February :).
Menomegirl: Gracious! Someone had a bitter experience with Mormon Culture at one point in their life. Those "reviews" were a deeply disturbing take on Mormon Doctrine.

In all fairness, I could sort of appreciate where their sardonic humor is coming from. Unfortunately, that was only possible when I completely ignored how anti-Mormon the material was.

I think that a man who wants you desperately but is never going to pressure you is a really potent and sadly under-manifested fantasy for young girls.


Jeeze, so true heinouslizard. I'm speaking as someone who does believe in abstinence before marriage, and I gotta say having Bella being the instigator for sex rather than Edward does fall, for me at least, under the heading of "fantasy oriented."

So often I was told as a young woman to be conscientious of what I wore and how I wore it because it might get some teenage boy all hot and bothered. To some degree, there is evidence that men are more visually stimulated than women, but I think all that "you gotta be the one to help a boy control his thoughts" BS really had its effect. Side note: Why did I have to help them "control themselves," and why didn't they (meaning parents and leaders) present it in honest terms like "Girls have those feelings too." Absurd.

But back to my point. It was almost impossible for me to put the first book down the first time I read it, because, in this case, the sex roles were reversed. That is an intoxicating and very real fantasy for plenty of women, because right or wrong the above mentioned practices and values are still taught.

PS. I can't wait until Feb. My gosh!
I've said my piece about jealousy before, but let me weigh in here again...

Dangerous? If all that these various reviewers are saying is true (Edward = abusive, Bella = Meyer, etc.) then I'd say, darn straight it's dangerous, and bad for the children.

But so is almost all of Western Culture.

Think about it. For most of human history, women in literature were portrayed exactly like Bella (as she's been described here): incomplete without a man, weak, ineffectual, etc. Even Shakespeare had to marry Beatrice and Kate off (although at least he made them good matches). Even as recently as a hundred years ago a character like Buffy would have been pretty inconceivable. Bella and "Twilight," to my eyes, just seem to be adding to the stack of Western Civ.'s collective underestimation and denigration of women.

The reason Wonder Woman and Kitty Pryde and Buffy are so darn important is that they are starting to fight back against a four-thousand-year trend. Bella may not actually hurt, but she's certainly not helping. And it would be nice, in a series that immensely popular, if she were helping.

(Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter weren't great feminist literature, but at least they were more than wish fulfillment, and could set useful examples for their readers to follow, even in the day-to-day.)

As to whether or not teenagers are mature enough to separate the reality from the fantasy... I believe they are capable of such maturity, but they are never given much chance to practice it. Again, they are drowning in the culture, and Twilight isn't throwing them any lifelines.
My younger sister (and to a partial extent my mother) were incredibly in love with the books, which is where I first learned about it. And I agree with the sentiment that we shouldn't simply ban things we don't like.

My major peeve with the Twilight series is how the fans laud it as being this phenomenally deep story, with complex characters, and great themes and morals, and ohmygod marysuemarysuemarysue.

When you describe a character as literally, "the most beautiful woman in the world," and when she's not the only character with a similar moniker, it becomes easy to see the author has a hard time making her characters flawed or 3-dimensional or.... interesting. I take the novel for what it is: essentially, IMO, a low-grade romance series aimed at itty-bitty girls. And in that context, I'm okay with what it is. I get irritated when I consistently hear it being toted as (and I kid you not) the next Lord of the Rings-level story, or an example of a complex, amazing main character.
Can we stop analyzing the hell out of this and take it for what it is? Fiction. It's romantic fluff (with a touch of vampire). I read all four books and enjoyed all four books. I didn't tear into them and look for all of the underlying meaning. I read them, enjoyed them and then put them on my bookshelf. Cripes, people! Let this thing go. Please?

p.s. If anyone cares, I'm 38 and female. I also saw the movie and thought it was awful. Enough said.
I hate it when people say, "It's just fiction. It doesn't mean anything." Words have power. The images provided young women have power. Our art expresses who we are as a culture and what we want to be. Joss Whedon understands this, thankfully.
Cookiepartier and mongorules, I'm with you. The Twilight saga is a romance series. A pretty poorly written one at that with little character development, endlessly boring (and oft repeated) adjectives, and a vampire mythology that was only used as an instrument to the romance. It has nothing substantial in common with Buffy.

That said, I became completely enthralled with the story. I am a 30 something married woman in a super-romantic marriage to an actually fantastic man, but I still found this romance story to be a sweet and utterly lovable read. Yes, I was aware of the hideous writing and countless flaws, and I can see a sliver of truth in this harsh review but dangerous? Naaahh. Bella really isn't so much a heroine or role model in the book as much as a surrogate for the reader. What she has in Edward is unconditional love and devotion and acceptance for who she is and someone who wants what's best for her. Even though I can certainly see the concern that Edward's devotion is misguided and demeaning, I really don't think that is the message that gets through to these girls. I think they just want to be loved and cared for, and the lack of sex demonstrates even more that the love is not based on some of the usual conditions of this culture but purely about the person of Bella.

I'm certainly more afraid of the idea of banning books or grossly overestimating the possibility of damage books like this can cause. I mean, think about the other things teenagers read, or even books that are considered classics that are read in their classrooms. Are there any without great character flaws? Are there many at all that have healthy messages and positive role models? Most of what I read did not.

I'm not defending these books as good literature nor am I recommending them to anyone. Chances are, most people here in this place of smart, conscious analysis would hate them. I'm just saying that I think the notion of their being dangerous is ridiculously overblown, and that I was more surprised than anyone at how much I enjoyed fluffing about in a silly love story. Just shows that there is a time and place and space for all kinds of stories.
The success of Twilight might be indicative of something broader happening in society: the affirmation of those classical values you mention, ManEnoughToAdmitIt. Seems that is natural when facing harder times, or perhaps it`s simply a rejection of the progress made these last decades.

I don`t believe it is possible to draw any real conclusions, but to label fiction as dangerous won`t help in that regard or much at all. If people like Twilight then great and please don`t feel a need to defend it. I like plenty of weird stuff that others might rip to pieces.

The cultural/history angle is interesting though. I`m not nearly as well read as I wish to be, so I`m finding it hard to come up with something that parallels Twilight from contemporary or classical fiction. The vicariousness of the narrative is designed to feed you the romance almost intravenously, and that is also why the abusive aspects of it hit me so hard. That would have been awesome if only Meyer wished to talk about it, or at least acknowledge it`s there, but she doesn`t. Instead you get this replay of the gradual subjugation and immolation of Bella all played out in a somewhat positive light and finished off with a happy ending.

If someone has suggestions for similar things in the classical literature I`d be glad to hear them.
Honestly, this is all I need to know about Twilight. ;)
Whatever bad things (probably rightly so) are said about the Twilight, at least pajiba.com:s review about the movie restored at least part of my faith in humanity. The review itself was more traditional pajiba stuff, but the final paragraph about the actual audience in a movie theatre was encouraging (http://www.pajiba.com/twilight-review.htm).
menomegirl has provided links to some posts about the movie and its ties to Mormonism. Yes, those were mean spirited, but if you take that out of the post, you have the genesis of my comment. And please understand that I am not taking issue with the religion, just the way that Meyers uses it to infuse her book. Authors can write as they please, of course, and it is not uncommon for a writer to use their personal experiences and beliefs in their text. Just to be clear.

As to Sookie, I was referring to book Sookie, even though I love TV show Sookie. But regardless, both Sookies have agency- the ability to make decisions- whether good or bad- and live with the consequences. With Bella, things just happen to her; she never acts, just waits for her ship to come in. And thank goodness someone posted the core component of the 4th book- Bella's baby vamp that is killing her from the inside (by literally breaking her bones) and which she would die for it- making her, effectively nothing more than a breeder for her husband's child. She was unimportant without her man and now she has no meaning except for her unborn child. And people wonder why I find this offensive? What message is this sending?

Catherine: Paula Boock's "Dare Truth or Promise" (Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Dare-Truth-Promise-Paula-Boock/dp/0395971179/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1228481965&sr=8-1) is simply a story of two Australian girls who fall in love- a great story, well written, and truly moving. Here is the review I wrote for Amazon : Dare, Truth or Promise is not just a great teen book, it is a great book period. Telling the tale of Louis and Willa and their relationship, it presents its young protagonists as people with depth and feeling, who love one another despite significant odds against them, and who take their gayness as a matter of course. The writing in this novel is superb; sparse, yet extremely poetic. There are passages of surpassing beauty; the first kiss, which occurs near the end of an airline runway just after a plane takes off, is breathtaking, and the penultimate passages of the book, when Willa saves Louis and then breaks down in the hospital, will have you in tears. The story does not play out at all as one might expect. Solace comes where it is not expected. A young priest offers Louis words that, while not directly answering her questions, offers her the means to move forward with her love for both Willa and her parents. The despair that Willa feels when Louis is forced away from her is despair that we feel as well, as we watch Louis fall into the depths of pain. Her appearance at a dance is unexpected and sets the stage for the final denouement of the story; her face is described at the time as a "death mask." I cannot speak highly enough of this incredibly moving story. Buy it now, read it and then read it again.
The success of Twilight might be indicative of something broader happening in society: the affirmation of those classical values you mention, ManEnoughToAdmitIt. Seems that is natural when facing harder times, or perhaps it`s simply a rejection of the progress made these last decades.


That does make a lot of sense. During the Depression, there were many that began to long for the days of the Victorian Era, despite the fact they'd just come out of the slightly more liberating Twenties. I remember from film class watching the 1932 version of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, which was essentially a criticism of this type of attitude.
What message is this sending?


I'm going with SPOILER.

Or something about reader response - tweak!

The success of Twilight might be indicative of something broader happening in society: the affirmation of those classical values you mention, ManEnoughToAdmitIt. Seems that is natural when facing harder times, or perhaps it`s simply a rejection of the progress made these last decades.


I don't think that's it. I think its people being drawn to frivolous escapism during tough times.
Aaaand we're back. This is the Lesbian Hour, with your host Dana5140,. Where all things lead to fictional Saphhic characters -- even the cooking segment!

Just teasing, but sometimes it's a real relevance-stretch, bud. :)
I am an honorary lesbian! :-)

ZG- LOL. Though this book is all authorial intent!

I agree that this is really escpaist fiction for the teenybop set (not necessarily for our savviers readers that have posted here, though it can be). Not every one is into critical theory, though I don't know why...

Anyway, here is Meyer herself commenting on those who find her books anti-feminist: "One of the weird things about modern feminism is that some feminists seem to be putting their own limits on women's choices. That feels backward to me. It's as if you can't choose a family on your own terms and still be considered a strong woman. How is that empowering? Are there rules about if, when, and how we love or marry and if, when, and how we have kids? Are there jobs we can and can't have in order to be a "real" feminist? To me, those limitations seem anti-feminist in basic principle."

To which I say, Steffie, you are taking about an 18yo girl who got married just out of high school, immediately got pregnant her first time she had sex, is being killed by the fetus, dies and becomes undead but gorgeous. Bella sure ain't got many choices now, huh? Being undead and all?

To which the blogster who posted this said this about Meyers: "See, staying at home and having babies right away is the NEW feminist ideal! THAT is new and THAT is a choice! Talk about backwards! I like how the mindset is that these bra-burning, hairy-legged, lesbonic working women having abortions all over the place and not wearing lipstick are so backwards, the new anti-feminist."
ZG- LOL. Though this book is all authorial intent!


:) :) :) Of course the author would say that, she's defending her own work. Which isn't to say she doesn't have a point about the loudest voices in a movement trying to define perfectly valid choices as being anto-cause, when in fact they are just contrary to what is popularly perceived as the "right path". Aside from that, no Bella doesn't seem to have a lot of choice in her life, does she?
Eerikki, that review restored my hope as well. Twilight is Snakes on a Plane for teenage girls? I can get behind that. If I ever meet a teen who does take the books seriously, though, I'm going to lock them in a room with all of Buffy. Or at least strongly hint that maybe they should do that themselves.

I've heard Meyers say "Oh, it's feminist because choosing to have kids is a choice." Yes, that's quite true, but a good role model for that kind of story would actually think about marriage, wouldn't get married right out of high school, and wouldn't get married to someone who can't have children. Until they have a kid anyway, by means of Author Intervention. In other words, not only is Meyer not exactly setting a good example for young women in general, she's also making a hash out of her own stated purpose.

But if it's Snakes on a Plane... then I can dig it.
Hi ManEnoughToAdmitIt! I have to vehemently disagree with this:
For most of human history, women in literature were portrayed exactly like Bella (as she's been described here): incomplete without a man, weak, ineffectual, etc. Even Shakespeare had to marry Beatrice and Kate off (although at least he made them good matches). Even as recently as a hundred years ago a character like Buffy would have been pretty inconceivable. Bella and "Twilight," to my eyes, just seem to be adding to the stack of Western Civ.'s collective underestimation and denigration of women.

Obviously women in fiction a hundred years ago and more were products of their time. So is Buffy. And times are better for women. But I can think of plenty of fictional female characters from ages past who were heroic on the battlefields available to them, and who rival and surpass Buffy for resourcefulness, courage, independence, and complexity. Jane Eyre and Elizabeth Bennett and Dorothea Brooke and definitely the vast majority of Shakespeare's wonderful heroines may have been constrained by the female role of the time (as is Buffy) and true love and marriage may indeed have been the happiest possible ending (though it's not as if none of the authors ever questioned that) but that certainly doesn't make these fantastic and complicated characters "incomplete without a man" and none of them could ever ever be described as weak or ineffectual. Surely Scarlett O'Hara, whatever you want to say about her or about the racial ickiness of the book, can only be described as an incredibly strong character for whom marriage and love do not provide conventional happy endings. And that's a schlocky romance!! Fiction has been a great place for women for a long, long time, it seems to me.

I think it's sad that Meyers even has to defend her feminist cred. It's not supposed to be a feminist series and nor does it have to be. The whole point of Twilight is surely the extremity of the Dangerous Romance. There's nothing wrong with enjoying that. Bella may not be the "model" we'd wish for young girls, but we've all survived Cinderella and Barbies and Bratz dolls and the like. There are happily other kinds of stories and other kinds of toys too, balance and choice. If a girl can choose Buffy or Bella, then lucky her, and she may well choose both.
And thanks for the Paula Boock recommendation, Dana5140. Sounds like good stuff.
I loved them all. I love Joss's stuff. I loved it not because of the vampire-genre, but because there was a love story I could relate to. I fell madly in love at 15 and never turned away. I am now 28, married without children, with friends, and a professional job.

Young, true, eternal, unconditional love, that's the appeal. I know there are others that must see it this way too. I thought I'd offer another side, a side that wasn't about it being anti-feminist. Are you gonna bash Romeo and Juliet too?

Yay! http://www.tvweek.com/news/2009/02/qa_joss_whedon.php

[ edited by debrjean123 on 2009-02-09 20:58 ]
I hate it when people say, "It's just fiction. It doesn't mean anything." Words have power. The images provided young women have power. Our art expresses who we are as a culture and what we want to be. Joss Whedon understands this, thankfully.
whedongeek | December 05, 07:35 CET


I did say "Twilight" was just fiction. I did not say it doesn't mean anything. But why does it ALWAYS have to mean something (and if it does mean something, then why does it always have to be POWERFUL?). Meyer had a story in her head that she put to paper. Maybe there IS a whole lot of underlying meaning to it all - maybe it's just a romantic love story. I figure you take from it what you want. I took away the love story, some are getting on their feminism high-horse and shouting "This is not a good book for empowering girls!", others are just calling it crap writing and a waste of time, etc. Everyone is taking their stance. Fine. But don't tell me that every piece of "art" expresses who we are as a culture and what we want to be. I cry bullshit to that one. My daughter's clay bowl from art class is just a clay bowl - not a reflection of our culture. Bad horror movies (that I love) are just a fun scream-fest, not a reflection of how their creator wants true life to be (at least I hope). Can't we just take some things at face-value and just enjoy them????

[ edited by mongorules on 2008-12-05 18:37 ]
I whole-heartedly agree, debrjean123.
But this is fun! For some of us, anyway :).
More thoughts: Bella's not really as weak as portrayed in these snippets…these examples are bits and pieces from a long story. She is actually quite strong-minded and independent in many ways. She doesn't blindly follow the crowd, she is okay with being alone, she is quite self-sufficient, yet she falls totally in love and that becomes consuming for her--if that is the definition of weakness than countless women AND men I know would fall in that category. I think it is interesting how people who haven't read the books are just accepting this characterization of her as being totally weak. Its like pulling out three or four scripture verses from the bible and basing a whole religion around those verses when there are hundreds of other verses that would clearly present opposition to those few. (Hmmm…sounds familiar.)

I think the appeal of Bella is that she is an ordinary girl who is awkward, clumsy, a bit melancholy and yet can be loved completely and passionately for being just who she is. Not because the guy wants her for sex just BECAUSE. I think girls can relate to Bella in feeling ordinary and awkward and like the idea that they can be lovable just for who they are. What ordinary girl wouldn't enjoy a fantasy about a gorgeous, loving, kind, RICH guy with a happy family loving her for just who she is?

And Edward's characterization in this article is so extreme it is a bit funny to me. Sure, all of the examples listed are true and demonstrate his overprotectiveness and bad decisions (i.e. sabotaging her car to keep her from going out.) But those are just a few examples and there are many others that demostrate his kindness and care for her. Also, its not like Bella is okay with all of that and submits to him or accepts that he is right in those actions. Bella constantly does things that Edward wouldn't like despite his pleas for her to keep herself safer. And it isn't like he doesn't also acknowledge that he is wrong and try to change and become more trusting and open with her.

The other thing that is off in this debate is that the Vampire mythology is completely different in this story, and the differences make her ultimate choice to become a vampire not quite as damning as it would be in other mythologies imho. The Cullen family of vampires are living a quite happy family-style existence and don't kill people. In many ways, they help people--Carlisle the father figure is an extraordinary doctor who helps people. And they are all kind and demonstrate a lot of positive family values: loyalty, compassion, love, humor, fun, etc. There is even quite a bit of discussion about whether or not the twilight vampires could have souls, and the inference is that they could. The fact that she chooses to become a vampire in the end to save her baby and be together with her love and a family she loves forever doesn't seem like such a bad choice with this mythology. Especially since it doesn't make her inherently evil.

Again, I'm not defending this literature as good, moral, or even worth anyones time. I just think the position in this article and similar arguments is extreme.
catherine wrote:

Obviously women in fiction a hundred years ago and more were products of their time. So is Buffy. And times are better for women.


I have to wonder, though... do the times make the character or do the characters make the times? I think I've heard a lot of feminists say they got their start when they were disgusted by Jo from "Little Women" getting married.

But I can think of plenty of fictional female characters from ages past who were heroic on the battlefields available to them, and who rival and surpass Buffy for resourcefulness, courage, independence, and complexity.


So can I. I might mention Euripides with "Medea" and "The Trojan Women." I could also point to Deborah in the Book of Judges (a woman who ran Israel for a while, a few millenia before women were considered capable of voting). I could point to Penelope in the Odyssey, too, making strong female characters almost as old as written fiction itself. And the oral folklore has many more.

But again I must wonder: are we, perhaps, being selective in our memory? Do these true classics stand out because they were representative of their times, or because they transcended their times?

Or... perhaps a better answer is this. We have always had strong women in the world, and we have always had strong women as characters. This notion that women are not strong is the more recent arrival, the intrusion. Buffy and Beatrice and Elizabeth Bennett are the true characters, and always have been. Bella and company are the distractions and the deceptions that have been hurting us for a while.

Unless, like I said, this whole phenomenon really is "Snakes on a Plane" for teen romance. And either way, all this bashing is probably just making the teens like the books all the more...
It sounds like a metaphor for marrying someone you love from a different cultural tradition, and then accepting his traditions as your own.

Or am I reading too much into it?
" I figure you take from it what you want"
Well now, that's a reader response response! :-)

I would like to offer up a far better book series mining the same terrain in many ways. Take a look at The "Marked" series of books by PC Cast and her daughter Kristen. Zoey Redbird is a tough cookie, and she owns her actions and does what she feels is right even when it carries very real repercussions for those around her. Now, admittedly, Zoey is a stand-in for Kristen Cast, who is all of 19 years old. But the books (there are 4 so far out of 9 planned) are good and exciting reads, with the conceit that in their world, some children are "marked" and are then taken to what amounts, in PC's own words, to a vampire finishing school. Which is not as silly as it sounds, believe me. Kids who have been marked, which is a genetic thing, not a matter of choice (get it?), will becoime vampires biologically after undergoing the Change. Not everyone makes it through the change. Some die. And therein lies part of the tale. The Casts build in a great cast of characters, some of whom are people of color and/or gay, and there are alliances made that can change. It is much fun. It puts Bella to shame.

In response to some of the above. some people will read for fun and escapism, some for fun and analysis. There is no correct way to read a book. To tell people to just read it for what it is may not be what some hope to get out of it. I would never tell my kids- though they are too old to want to read this- not to read anything. Ever (save for maybe the Protocols of the Elders of Zion, just saying), but I hope that when they do, they can recognize some of the same issues I see. Well, heck, given they are graduates of Grinnell and Carleton and Carroll, I know they will.
What? Reading anti-semitic hoax forgeries isn't instructive? ;) People should read what they enjoy for whatever reason they enjoy it.
I work in a public library. I deal with teens, their mom's and everyone else trying to read these books every day. The marketing behind the series has been brilliant. When Breaking Dawn came out, we had a waiting list over 1000 people, and growing daily.

More and more I think teens love these books because they think it's the only book ever written for teen girls! So, I have to be happy that it brings teens to our libraries, period.

There are much better paranormal, YA romance books out there with a strong female character. I always suggest Vampire Academy series by Richelle Mead and have had lots of 'Twilighters' come back to tell me they prefer that series because of the strong heroine... and where can they find the next book.
Buffy and Beatrice and Elizabeth Bennett are the true characters, and always have been. Bella and company are the distractions and the deceptions that have been hurting us for a while.

I don't know about this. Can't they all be true characters? Is a character like Bella really hurting anyone? Best I can tell, she's provided loads of fun for millions. And Rebekah and saltygoodness and others have suggested that Bella isn't as simply helpless and one-dimensional as some people are making her out to be, anyway. I thought the point saltygoodness made about selection was a good one. You could pick five instances in Buffy that make our beloved heroine look like a big bitca, but she's more than that, of course.

If this is a story about obsession, out-of-control obsession, is that a bad thing? Seems kind of puritanical to say so. Romantic obsession is hardly a theme unique to Twilight, and it's always been an appealing one. I mean, one might very well think it's a bad book, and many people do think that, but I think people here are suggesting it's something worse and more nefarious than just a poorly written trashy romance. I really am just repeating things I said in the last thread now, but when I was a kid I devoured V.C. Andrews' utterly sick rape fantasies with total fascination. Icky icky books, but ... I think that's OK. Or... what saltygoodness said about there being space for all of these different kinds of stories. Why isn't there room for this one? I'm not seeing a clear distinction between saying people shouldn't read Twilight because it's misogynistic (and not everybody agrees on that), and saying people shouldn't read Harry Potter because it's sinful and evil (which also... not everyone agrees on that ;)).

Again, I don't at all think that saying the book sucks is a bad thing to say. But I do take issue with the idea that it's poisoning minds, or that people shouldn't be enjoying it. They are. They just are.
Let them enjoy. Let us talk it up. No one here is saying, hey, never read anything or don't read this. But I hope that the people who do read it are savvy enough to contextualize it, just a little bit. Words and ideas do have power; books do not exist in a vacuum of their own making. We can never know what people will take from what they read, of course.
Though the FugGirls are oft unwelcome here, this fun Twilight post is more a fun take on the film, rather than the clothes.

You need to log in to be able to post comments.
About membership.



joss speaks back home back home back home back home back home