Weekend Rhymes

 

Alright, people: I am officially freaked out about this Twilight mess. For many, many reasons. Too many to go into here, on a Friday afternoon, when instead of logically laying them out in a thoughtful blog entry I can slobber on about them incoherently to the stranger on my left at happy hour. So, Internets, you get the short versions. And, as always--we welcome your own haikus, limericks, and other versions of Weekend Rhymes in the comments section below. Behold ours, the Twilight edition:

First, a little five-seven-five:

 

Hey Twilight vampires

What's with all the sex/ non-sex?

Aren't you a touch young?

 

And, of course, a bit o' the limerick:

 

There once was a 'tween book about vamps

Whose young lust was way hard to tamp

Yet they didn't quite do it

(They preferred to eschew it)

And thus their approval the Christians did stamp

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Comments

17 comments have been made. Post a comment.

Awesome

Haha, this is great! I never thought of making fun of this weird teenage vampire movie in poetic form.

Twilight

This is totally not a rhyme... maybe more of a rant.

I think it's a mistake to be dismissive of the Twilight phenomenon. While I think it's important to engage the (many) sexual issues that are involved with Twilight, we should take note of something very important: this is a film that is directed by a women, written by a woman, based on a novel by a woman, and playing primarily for an audience of young women. And the Hollywood Reporter is reporting that the film took in over $70 million this weekend.

This is pretty remarkable in yet another year of film that has been dominated creatively by men, full of genre films that are pitched towards young men.

And, like it or not, Twilight has tapped into something very popular and persuasive among teen girls. And a great many adult women. Far from being a weird little vampire film (which is what producers initially thought it would be - hence, the reason that Summit produced it and not, say, Warner Bros.) Twilight has made the film industry stand up and take serious notice of the ticket-buying power of girls. This is a big opening. Studios will take notice.

So, I think we have to make sure that we don't take the same patronizing approach that studios and film critics made when they first heard about Twilight. They didn't get it, so they wrote it off. But there's a great many reasons for Twilight's popularity, and I think it's up to us to engage with its complexity, and that includes the appeal to teen girls right alongside the abstinence rhetoric, Edward's creepy good guy/bad guy dynamic, and Bella's overwhelming response to being such a special object of vampire desire.

While the fact that

While the fact that primarily women have worked on it is a good thing, the content of Twilight is abhorrent in regards to women. It is essentially a romance paperback about a submissive girl wrapped in a bloodsucking book jacket with a YA tag, making it all the more dangerous. The very age group of girls (12-17) that are most impressionable, most confused are being subjected to this trash, in which an abusive relationship is held up as "perfect."

I don't mean to say that Twilight's content should be censored, I just wish it wasn't aimed at young girls who are trying to fit in. It sends horrible, negative messages in regard to self-image, sex, relationships, babies... just the things 12-17 year olds are trying to figure out.

I'm a fifteen year old girl, and I miss Harry Potter, where strong women abounded. Hermione, a genius; Ginny, a powerful witch good at sports and magic; Luna, with the courage to be different and not care; Molly Weasely, a matriarch you don't wanna mess with. That's a book written by a woman, too, and I'd hand HP to a twelve year old over Twilight any day.

While the fact that

While the fact that primarily women have worked on it is a good thing, the content of Twilight is abhorrent in regards to women. It is essentially a romance paperback about a submissive girl wrapped in a bloodsucking book jacket with a YA tag, making it all the more dangerous. The very age group of girls (12-17) that are most impressionable, most confused are being subjected to this trash, in which an abusive relationship is held up as "perfect."

I don't mean to say that Twilight's content should be censored, I just wish it wasn't aimed at young girls who are trying to fit in. It sends horrible, negative messages in regard to self-image, sex, relationships, babies... just the things 12-17 year olds are trying to figure out.

I'm a fifteen year old girl, and I miss Harry Potter, where strong women abounded. Hermione, a genius; Ginny, a powerful witch good at sports and magic; Luna, with the courage to be different and not care; Molly Weasely, a matriarch you don't wanna mess with. That's a book written by a woman, too, and I'd hand HP to a twelve year old over Twilight any day.

Yep

This was definitely a rebound of harry potter, which as you say are amazing books that conveniently and amazingly have strong women characters (you forgot Mrs. Weasley!). I haven't had the misfortune of reading any of the twilight series but from everything I've read about the books the plot depends on the main character (the girl) being weak. For me what makes it worst is that there are no good books (I'm over dramatic here) out there that send good messages to the 12-17 year old girls that are by modern authors. If they're not reading twilight they're reading Gossip Girls or The Cliche and those, I feel, are equally degrading to women and terrible for young girls (and boys) to read.

Gabby, I agree with you. As

Gabby, I agree with you. As a Feminist, and Twilight fan, I agree with you. Perhaps some may think it's impossible to be both. But I make it work. (It's my one fix of pop culture). I certainly agree that the content of the Twilight Saga is sexist and racist, and obviously heteronormative. Young girls are constantly bombarded with the messages found in Twilight: Our individual lives are insignificant to the lives of men, and our relationships with men; Men are superior to women in all aspects of life; Women should change for men, and drop everything that is important to us as soon as a man gives us his attention. Clearly, all extremely damaging messages for women and girls. Furthermore, there is too much emphasis on beauty and physical image. Stephenie Meyers, although I've never met her personally, appears to me to be a very mainstream person. I think it's obvious from the content of her books. Unfortunately, we can't assume or expect that a woman writer will produce a piece of literature that empowers women and girls, and challenges the societal expectations of us. Some women (as we've seen with the Sarah Palin fiasco) are as unenlightened as most men (not all, but most).

Nevertheless, I will defend Twilight:

I think it's important for anyone willing to criticize the book/movie, to actually read the books. All four of them. The books are more complex. In the movie, more so than in the books, Bella comes across as the stereotypical damsel in distress. Although the books are sexist, I found Bella to be very complex. She's depicted as very intelligent and mature, more so than her average classmates. Edward and her are on the same level in that respect, which is a large reason why they connect and fall in love. Bella, challenges Edward, she voices her feelings, wants and desires, she is incredibly stubborn (in a good way). And in the third book I think? going into the fourth, Bella openly expresses to Edward her desire for sex. I mean, sexual expression, even heterosexual expression, is feminist, even if the books aren't feminist. Right? There are other strong female characters in the books, like Victoria and Alice (although Alice is the stereotypical shopper). And I guess, one could argue that any female character who is a vampire is a strong character because they literally have superhuman strength. Also, although I realize the context of this story, really doesn't affect how these messages are perceived and absorbed, let's remember that this is a book about vampires. Bella and Edwards relationship is very much defined by this supernatural element. Maybe a story about a girl vampire and a mortal boy would have been a nice change.

So, those are my thoughts on Twilight. I don't think it's the best thing out there. But I don't think it's the worst either . I don't think it's just sexist. Like I said, there is racism in there too. I don't think Meyers was intentionally trying to convey white supremacy and patriarchy. I just think she's a mainstream person. And, very, very unfortunately, subtle and blatant racism, sexism, and heterosexism, are mainstream. Unfortunately, I think these messages to girls are everywhere.

yeah, about that

See, the thing is, Bella didn't strike me at all as intelligent or capable. It's like this book on characterization I read once: if you want to show a character is deep, make her deep; have her say thoughtful, insightful things instead of just telling us she goes to Yale and is majoring in philosophy.

We're told Bella already read this book or that book and she knows cell mitosis. Great. However, I don't recall her ever making any particularly brilliant (even "smart" or "sane") decisions at any point. (Though I admit my overwhelming desire to strangle her and castrated Edward made me put down Twilight before I could finish it.)

Worse, I think, is that not all Twilight fangirls (not even most, from what I've gathered) are as intelligent or articulate as you. We have a bunch of 14-year-olds being told that this is a "perfect," "ideal" or "romantic" relationship (outside of the context of the book, moreover - the media backs this BS!) when it's very clearly ... not.

(The stalking and the climbing in through the window creep me out in a major way. As I was telling my mother, if a guy did that to me and I found out about it, I would not date him, marry him, or have his baby. I'd have the cops come down on his ass and get a restraining order.)

Sorry to rant at you, all stuff I've been meaning to say to a bunch of people for a long time.

You make a good point.

You make a good point. Bella's intelligence is not really demonstrated by her character. The truth of the matter is Stephenie Meyer is not a very good writer. I think they were her first books. I completely understand why feminists hate these books. They are certainly dangerous to the young, unenlightened reader, who is constantly bombarded with, like you said, messages that what is written in the Twilight Saga is an ideal and normative relationship (minus the vampire stuff). I have many issues with Twilight. I've picked the books apart and can name multiple things harmful about the book, even beyond the realm of feminism. Yet, I love them. And, I am not trying to toot my own horn, but I believe that I listen/read/watch, overall participate in, very little popular culture. And this is my one splurge. I don't believe we can shut out the world, become purists, and reject every bit of popular culture that comes our way. At least I can't. But I do think it's important for us to understand what we're reading in the context of the oppressive society in which we live.

Also, I have a 14-year-old sister, who was the one who introduced me to the Twilight series. She knows what's wrong with Twilight. She is a very enlightened 14-year-old. She loves Twilight, but appreciates good literature. She doesn't also read Gossip Girl, or the Clique Series. She reads Harry Potter, and some really sophisticated, non-romance, teen fiction that deals with some really heavy issues.

I guess I am just trying to defend my right, and my 14-year-old sister's right, to read and love Twilight as enlightened young women.

I appreciate your rant. The more I read Twilight discussion on feminist blogs, the more I dislike it, or feel guilty for liking it. Can't I be a feminist, and like twilight?

yeah, about that

See, the thing is, Bella didn't strike me at all as intelligent or capable. It's like this book on characterization I read once: if you want to show a character is deep, make her deep; have her say thoughtful, insightful things instead of just telling us she goes to Yale and is majoring in philosophy.

We're told Bella already read this book or that book and she knows cell mitosis. Great. However, I don't recall her ever making any particularly brilliant (even "smart" or "sane") decisions at any point. (Though I admit my overwhelming desire to strangle her and castrated Edward made me put down Twilight before I could finish it.)

Worse, I think, is that not all Twilight fangirls (not even most, from what I've gathered) are as intelligent or articulate as you. We have a bunch of 14-year-olds being told that this is a "perfect," "ideal" or "romantic" relationship (outside of the context of the book, moreover - the media backs this BS!) when it's very clearly ... not.

(The stalking and the climbing in through the window creep me out in a major way. As I was telling my mother, if a guy did that to me and I found out about it, I would not date him, marry him, or have his baby. I'd have the cops come down on his ass and get a restraining order.)

Sorry to rant at you, all stuff I've been meaning to say to a bunch of people for a long time.

I read the first 3 books,

I read the first 3 books, and I didn't want to waste time on the fourth. I do see what you're saying about Bella being better (at least more vocal) in the books-- but I disagree overall. I don't believe Edward and Bella are on the same level at all. Edward is 107 years old (which was one of the biggest ick factors in the books for me) so really, how can they possibly be equals? Even when Bella is physically older than him, he's still mentally older and wiser.

One of the things I really hate about the books is that Bella is supposed to be a blank slate to basically self-insert (presuming you're a "clumsy" thin white girl) on, and she constantly writes herself off as worthless and weak! People I see reading the books are getting younger and younger and I really hope the precocious nine year olds have good self-esteem.

I really don't like the books at all, from the prose to the plot. I guess it's good that girls are reading books by women for women but I just wish it wasn't such crap.

Harry Potter has strong

Harry Potter has strong female character? Ha! Maybe you should try reading them again. women are seriously marginalized in those books, that and all the characters like in Twilight, are shaped to fit in the heteronormative mold. I find it unsettling that both series are presented as being powerful role models for young girls, yet the characters within these stories only give that illusion, and always take the back seat to the male characters.

The women are certainly much

The women are certainly much stronger than in Twilight. Also, Dumbledore is gay

Totally!

All of these issues are kind of why I felt reduced to dealing with it with silly little, tongue-in-cheek poems, because there's so much going on, it's a bit overwhelming.

I appreciate everyone's comments. And we have an excellent Twilight article coming out in the upcoming issue (hits the streets in early December).

to do it or not...

the biggest question that this movie left unanswered: is Edward's...uh...what's the Christian approved word for cock? Ok....is Edward's "pee pee" also as cold as ice? Perhaps that's the rationale for not going all the way. brrr!

Speaking of sex...

A bit late to the discussion, sorry--

What about Bella's menstruation? I admit I've read books 1 and 2, and while I've noticed asides about Bella needing to "be human" or "have a human moment" (like brushing teeth and various other bathroom taboos? that Meyer wants to keep behind closed doors...), I haven't noted one instance that mentions menstruation. Seriously, Edward's a vampire, and we're supposed to assume that Bella's a healthy (looooose use of the word, yes)--thus menstruating--17-year-old young woman. Granted, I'm new to vampire fiction in general, so there may be an underlying sub-text that Meyer's addressing subtly in her novels, (I doubt it, but hey...) but I haven't seen anything regarding Bella's free-flowing blood and Edward's appetite yet.

Bella's period

Interesting point Evepeace. This is one of the more obvious questions that springs to mind when reading the book (along with wondering if Edward's cock - like the rest of his body - is as cold as an ice lolly and sparkles in the sun!)
In one of Anne Rice's vampire novels, the vampire Lestat has a love affair with a human woman and drinks her menstrual blood during cunnilingus. A pretty hardcore expression of vampirical erotica and probably not on the minds of Meyer's more innocent and younger readers...