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Thursday, November 24, 2011

Feminist defense of Twilight

I was pleased to come across this writer's commentary on the strangely rabid criticism.  Great stuff.  Below is the first few paragraphs.  In addition to her calm assessment, many of the comments at the Time website (as far as I read, certainly not the many hundreds there), are reasonable and reasonably intelligent.

The Harsh Bigotry of Twilight-Haters

Time. com

Hating Twilight is so 2009, and with the newest installment, Breaking Dawn, ruling the box office, the juggernaut hardly needs defenders. But the virulent seriousness of the haters is surprising. Many of the reviews have heaped disproportionate and moralizing scorn on an Oscar-winning director’s fantasy enactment of a young girl’s dreams and fears. Kristen Stewart and her co-stars have been excoriated for their “sullen” and “wooden” performances despite receiving respectable and sometimes highly favorable reviews in other movies in which they have starred.

The negative reactions fall in two camps: The dismissive camp simply mocks Twilight’s incorporation of silly, “moony” elements like undying love and the surprisingly authentic portrayal of wedding ritual, honeymoon jitters and the shock of unintended pregnancy; the topics are apparently too boring and unrelatable for most reviewers. The deluded camp, conversely, takes Twilight far too seriously, faulting it for leading young girls to mistake fantasy for reality in dangerous, disempowering ways.
It makes you wonder if some people missed the memo that hundreds of millions of females, like their male counterparts, enjoy their fantasy life straight-up weird, sexy, and implausible.
Why is it that female fantasies are such a source of derision and fear? The male species is allowed all manner of violent, creepy, ludicrous, and degrading movie tropes, and while we may not embrace them as high art, no one questions them seriously as entertainment, even when sometimes we probably should. (Violent imagery is, after all, associated with violent behavior.) You want to saw someone in half or put their head in a vise? Showcase naked strippers as a fake plot device? Pair a beautiful and successful career woman with a slovenly, unemployed man? Pretend you are Wolverine? Go right ahead. We know you can’t really be serious. But watch a tender wedding night between a virginal, undead superhero and his teenage, human bride, and the scolds come out in force. Are parents worried that their teenage daughter actually wants to be impregnated by a 100-year-old vampire who can crush a headboard with his hands (and perform an emergency C-section with his teeth)?

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