Four(ish) years ago, after a semester of reading Thomas Hardy and Naturalism I started reading the Twilight series over the summer. Though I enjoyed the books I was old enough to appreciate them for the inherent trashiness, and not pretend that they are something they are not.
Reading Twilight made me worried for the attempts at gender equality.
Bella is in love lust with a man who finds her smell irresistible The man to whom she is attracted was first attracted to her because she smelt good enough to eat, literally. You go girl, land the man who thinks of you as the best meal ever. This is exactly why wild animals as pets rarely work out.
Bella has no hobbies. She’s not on the squad, or the crew, she doesn’t knit, or write, she barely even does her homework. The dates which she and Edward go on together are few and far between, and usually end up with Bella spilling some blood & his relatives trying to eat her.
Perfect Men? I’m sorry, but no one is perfect. Male, female, we all have baggage, are a little odd, or just plain crazy. The men in Twilighthowever are so idealized. I get it, I’ve written male character’s before and am guilty of writing them exactly as I’d want them to act, but not necessarily anywhere near the truth. Of course I scrapped those chapters and grilled all my guy friends about what they would do making it a much better read. Fiction doesn’t need to mean “completely fabricated and impossible,” particularly in YA and Teen fiction where the supernatural is often used as a stand-in for a greater issue. I’m not saying that guys are completely inconsiderate, but it is important to have realistic expectations.
Bella, the 17-year-old whirlwind When I was a teenager I did a lot of cooking at home to help my mum, I did laundry too (oh goodness, didn’t know I had so much in common with Bella). While I also did it because I thought I should, I also enjoyed it (as much as teenagers enjoy anything). Bella feels it is her job to take care of her estranged-though-live-in father, much the same way that she takes care of her scattered-and-irrisposible mother (the same mother who sends Bella to Washington so she can move across the country to support her boyfriend’s minor league baseball dreams). Bella plays parent (successfully) to both her parents, but yet Edward is convinced that she’ll trip and fall into a parallel universe unless he’s there to hold her delicate little hand. Riiight boy-o, maybe your 80-year-old pedophile self shouldn’t date high schoolers if you’re so worried they’re going to break all the time.
Edward’s knight in shining armour complex is… tired. Bella is admittedly a bit of a klutz, but I ask, would you not also be a klutz compared to the two supernatural men in your life?
Now, is it really our fault that we set ourselves up to fail?
Not only do we have unfair and unrealistic expectations of men, we have them of ourselves.
Or perhaps just the selves that we wish we could be.
I may be grossly generalizing here, but after all, this is my blog, and as domestic as you all know I am, I think that I might just need an amphetamine (or three) to manage all the things which that girl does in a day, skills that seem to come naturally to Bella.
That or maybe she’s just as preternaturally gifted as her lover boy.
Either way, I’m pretty emphatically Team Jacob… not that Bella really deserves him.
I would also like to share this:
SIGNS THAT YOU’RE IN AN ABUSIVE RELATIONSHIP
feel afraid of your partner much of the time?
avoid certain topics out of fear of angering your partner?
feel that you can’t do anything right for your partner?
believe that you deserve to be hurt or mistreated?
treat you so badly that you’re embarrassed for your friends or family to see?
wonder if you’re the one who is crazy?
feel emotionally numb or helpless?
Does your partner:
humiliate or yell at you?
criticize you and put you down?
ignore or put down your opinions or accomplishments?
blame you for their own abusive behavior?
see you as property or a sex object, rather than as a person?
have a bad and unpredictable temper?
act excessively jealous and possessive?
hurt you, or threaten to hurt or kill you?
control where you go or what you do?
threaten to take your children away or harm them?
keep you from seeing your friends or family?
threaten to commit suicide if you leave?
limit your access to money, the phone, or the car?
force you to have sex?
destroy your belongings?
constantly check up on you?