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A Twilight Turkey Day Treat

November 22, 2011

My kids (starring as Bella and Jacob) and their friend (starring as Edward) made this a few years back.

There is no death by human-vampire baby or dental caesarean, nor are there any green bean casserole or pecan pie recipes, but hope you enjoy nonetheless!

Breaking Dawn: Part 1 – Best and Worst Bits

November 21, 2011

Best bits:

  • Rosalie hefting the log benches in preparation for the royal vampire wedding
  • ALL of Jessica’s lines – especially her toast
  • Charlie’s wedding toast
  • Bella’s line to Edward “What, you’re not a virgin?”
  • Edward’s lips were less red and smiled more often. Yay!
  • The waterfall jump. Though I would have preferred a non-white bikini.
  • The added scene with Esme, Carlisle, and Emmett going off hunting. Though why the f*** did Esme need saving??? Notice a pattern here, despite the claims that Twi-females are sooo strong….?
  • The flashback, montage scenes.
  • The music.

Worst bits:

  • Bella does not give a wedding toast. I know, I know, to do so wouldn’t really be in keeping with her character, but I wanted to hear her speech nonetheless.
  • The line “It’s like this miracle or something, I can feel HIM.” ….AND the entire framing of the pregnancy as a “godsend” accompanied by NO questioning of why Bella sees the baby as male. Hello? Patriarchy much?!?
  • Leah’s acting – sorry, but, NOT GOOD.
  • Esme’s sandwiches – silly, silly, silly. And framed Leah as even more bitchy. Take the damn sandwich, Leah!
  • Edward touching the MIRACLE stomach and hearing “the baby.” Ugh. Gag me with a werewolf.
  • The imprinting scenes. Gross. Gross. Total gross.
  • The Volturi closing scene. Was it supposed to seem like a parody? Or serious? Whatever they were aiming for, it didn’t hit the mark. Well, unless they were trying to up the violence against women quotient…

Breaking Dawn: Part 1 – The Morning After – Will there be bruises and feathers???

November 16, 2011

With the wide release of Breaking Dawn: Part 1 looming, what scene are you most anxious to see?

If the stars and attendees at Comic-Con are any indication, most people name the wedding or the birth scene. Not me. I am most anxious to see the morning after scene. And, I do mean ANXIOUS, not EXCITED, as I have trepidation regarding how this scene will be handled. Though Bella admittedly WANTS sex with Edward, does she also want the bruises that result?

There has been much debate regarding if the morning after scene represents sexual violence, violent consensual sex, hidden messages about women being “punished” for sexual desire and so on. As a recap, here are some details from the book:

Before Edward and Bella do the deed, when they are standing in the moonlit ocean, he says “if I hurt you, you must tell me at once.” This quote lends credence to those who argue we cannot place blame on Edward, as do other quotes where Bella notes she does not remember ever feeling pain.

As in the above parody, Edward is let of the hook for causing so many “decorations” on her body.  While Bella seems to relish her newly “decorated” body, he feels remorse, saying to the waking Bella the next morning: “How badly are you hurt, Bella? The truth—don’t downplay it.”

Bella assesses her body, noting “stiffness, and a lot of soreness” and “the odd sensation my bones all had become unhinged at the joints,” but also notes her happiness on “this most perfect of mornings.” Here, we could read this as understandable post-sex session soreness and equally understandable post-multiple-orgasm euphoria.

The problem is though, Bella is not just sore, she is covered in black and purple bruises – bruises which cause Edward to say “Stop acting like I’m not a monster for having agreed to this” and “Look at yourself, Bella. Then tell me I’m not a monster.”

To this, Bella “followed his instructions unthinkingly” (as she does all too damn often in the books!) and at first only focuses on “the fluffy white snow” that clings to her skin and hair. It is only at Edward’s insistence she looks at her arm that she has “large purplish bruises” that “blossom across the pale skin.”

Here, Edward is again presented as the kind, caring guy, and she as the oblivious, feather-covered sap. Sure, she is blissed out in post-coital mode, but must she speak of her bruises in flowery terms (“blossom”)?!? This description problematically suggests, as does the later use of the term “decorated,” that Bella’s body is beautifully and lovingly MARKED by Edward, harkening to the age-old notion of woman as man’s property to mark on as he pleases – the one that the institution of marriage they just entered into is historically based on.

As Bella looks at the bruises that “trail” up to her shoulder and across her ribs, Edward places “his hand against the bruises on my arm…matching his long fingers to the patterns.” So, indeed, he has quite literally marked her with his handprints, turning her body into a decorated object of “violet blotches.” However, Edward is not held up as the baddie here and Bella is presented as the happiest she has ever been.

Edward does not share her euphoria though, insisting “I’m… so sorry, Bella…I knew better than this. I should not have–…I am more sorry than I can tell you.” So, flipping the traditionally gendered script, he has morning after regrets, she does not.

But might we read her euphoria as more indication that she does not take sex seriously enough – that she is a “bad girl” who wants it too much and is punished for her desires? Or, are we supposed to read her as a sexually liberated, kinky vixen who likes her sex rough? While both readings are tenable, given the strong pro-abstinence messages of the saga, the religious underpinnings of the text, and the “sex is dangerous” message that permeates the books, the first reading is more apt.

Further, Bella is not really presented as sexually confident or in the know – she has to ASK if Edward enjoyed it, and says incredulously to his insistence that he most certainly did,  “Really? The best ever?” That she asks this “in a small voice” only furthers the notion that she is sexually naïve, small, and silent – or, in other words, a “good girl” gone bad – a bruised apple, so to speak.

Perhaps no other scene in the saga so crosses the lines between sex as bad, sex as enjoyable, Bella as good girl or Bella as slut. Yet, the representation of Edward and his acts are not complicated – while Bella’s sexual desires are left open to reader interpretation (we can read her as punished for her desires or read her night of headboard busting as a sexual triumph), Edward is framed as full of remorse and dutifully goes off to cook her enough eggs for two (hint hint).

After his departure, she stares in the mirror (as depicted in the above parody), thinking about how she will hide the bruises: “There was a faint shadow across one of my cheekbones, and my lips were a little swollen, but other than that, my face was fine. The rest of me was decorated with patches of blue and purple. I concentrated on the bruises that would be the hardest to hide—my arms and my shoulders. They weren’t so bad. My skin marked up easily….Of course, these were just developing. I’d look even worse tomorrow. That would not make things any easier.”

Recall that Bella is concerned with hiding the bruises not for others (they are on a deserted island!) but for Edward’s sake. So, she puts on a white cotton dress “that concealed the worst of the violet blotches” and trots off to the kitchen for her scalding hot eggs.

The chapter closes with her asking “You aren’t going to touch me again while we’re here, are you?” to which Edward answers “I will not make love to you until you’ve been changed. I will never hurt you again.”

Once again, Bella’s wants are refuted and Edward calls the shots. But, Bella’s insistence there is nothing to worry about regarding her bruised body, the bitten pillows, or the busted headboard can be read as a failure to recognize the dangers of sex with an uber-strong vampire – or, to put  it another way, for her, the danger sex poses for females like Bella but NOT males like Edward.

A sex positive message? A pro-consensual violent sex is sexy message? I don’t buy it. More like punishing silly, oblivious Bella for wanting it too much… And her punishment is only just beginning given that her pregnancy is hardly a “blessed event” but one filled with pain, broken bones, and the promise that “the creatures” like the one in her womb “use their own teeth to escape the womb.”

And how will the film present the birth? Will Bella scream in “a blood-curdling shriek of agony: and then vomit “a fountain of blood”? Will we hear the “crunching and snapping as the newborn monster” tear through her “from the inside out “ and the “shattering crack” as her spine is broken?

No doubt, we will see the gooey scenes of her loving her “little nudger” and her going ga-ga over the newborn Renesmee. But, I do wonder if the more horrific details of Bella’s pregnancy and delivery will be included, and, if so, if there will be any indication that this is her “punishment” for her sexual transgressions. I doubt it – instead, in keeping with the traditional happy ending message the saga ultimately upholds, pregnancy and motherhood will be framed as her reward…

Sunday Sneak Peak: Exclusive Breaking Dawn: Part 1 Footage – The Morning After

November 13, 2011

Occupy Twilight: Thoughts on Breaking Dawn’s Tent City

November 12, 2011

It’s well known that Twilight fans are a dedicated bunch, that they have spurred the creation of many vibrant fan communities and blogs, that they are creative (as evidenced most recently in art pics from Breaking Dawn Part 1 Tent City) – but are they also a privileged bunch? Do they hail from the 1%? Should there be an “Occupy Twilight” for those fans that can’t afford to travel to LA and camp out, let alone afford midnight premiere tickets in their home towns? What about, for example, the people of Forks and La Push, the areas that the saga depicts – which don’t have any local movie theatres?

While researching for my book Seduced by Twilight, I spoke with fans who claimed to have spent over $10,000 on Twilight merchandise, who had travelled from Australia, Germany, Sweden and so on for Twi-cons, who spent thousands of dollars on plane tickets, convention registration, and hotel accommodation. What percentage of fans can afford this? Certainly not the majority.

Of course, there are many “lottery” type events where those not privileged enough to join in pricey fan pursuits can win things such as a shiny Volvo – as with Yahoo’s “Say I Do” sweepstakes giveaway.

The irony of all this is that the heroine of the saga – Bella Swan – couldn’t have afforded to be a Twilight fan pre-Edward – she hails from a working class family, drives an old red truck, and had to make do with an ancient modem – no fancy cars or baubles for her – not until, that is, uber-rich Edward sauntered into the picture.

This is undoubtedly part of the saga’s appeal –  it’s rags to riches romance echoing so many tales that have come before, offering the message that not only can “true love conquer all,” it can also bring the likes of a limited edition Mercedes. This appealing aspect of the saga is heightened during these rough economic times – heck, who in the 99% wouldn’t welcome some sharing of Cullen-type wealth? Unfortunately though, an equitable sharing of wealth is not a message of the saga – instead, the message is that females should endeavor to find their very own Edward as their “ticket” out of working class existence.

As for fans, those that don’t have Cullen-type wealth and privilege might just be lucky enough to win a Sweepstakes giveaway – of course, in order to do so, they also have to say “I do” to the fairy tale ideology wherein there can only be 1 “princess” and the other 99% of fans will have to make do without assistance from the bigwigs at Summit, Yahoo, and the like. Thankfully for these mega rich institutions, plenty of fans seem more than willing to spend a hefty chunk of change (and time) in their Breaking Dawn pursuits – what percentage of them can actually afford to do so is up for debate.

Perhaps fans could do double-duty while they wait for the likes of Robert Pattinson and Kristen Stewart and start an “Occupy Twilight” movement. Some Twi-characters might be quite supportive – Jasper Hale is a war vet after all, and would fit in well with the many vets taking part in the Occupy movement. Emmett comes from a working class-background. Alice might be interested in raising awareness about inequity for those deemed mentally ill. Heck, Rosalie might even be willing to share how she was forced to try and sell her beauty to the evil Royce the 3rd to better her financial situation. As for the wolves, they could speak to tragic levels of poverty “on the res.” Golden-eyed Edward, ever the caring type, might donate a diamond or two towards the cause. The Volturi, as part of the 1%, would no doubt try to squash the movement, but I can’t see Charlie enacting any of the police violence real life cops have been partaking in.

Alas, the Breaking Dawn tent-city is a far-cry from any Occupy-type sentiment. Too bad, as an Occupy Twilight could make for some really interesting slogans and signs.





Happy (Twilight) Day of the Dead!

November 2, 2011

While we are all still in the Halloween mood, here is the first parody made by Twi Kids Trio. Happy Day of the Dead!

Happy Halloween! Check out this Halloween-themed podcast that discusses Twilight!

October 31, 2011

Please check out my guest appearance on In the Den with Dr. Jenn where I discuss Twilight!