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What would Bella think of the iPad?

January 31, 2010

The clip below (from MadTV)  muses on the need for an I-pad to have “vaginal firewall protection.”  Sounds like something Bella really needs – especially after ending up preggers by Edward on that first night at Isle Esme.

Of course, Bella would NEVER openly ask Angela or Jessica to borrow a pad. In the Twilight world, menstruation doesn’t seem to exist. In fact, the saga is decidedly blood-free given its vampire focus. There is not much flowage of the red stuff, especially in the first three books.

Granted, menstruation doesn’t tend to play a big role in literature (Judy Blume and Erica Jong are two exceptions).  But, given this is a novel revolving around Edward’s attraction to Bella’s BLOOD, the missing period looms large, as evidenced by many a discussion threads and posts spanning the Twi-net world. For example, Crissy at The Calhoun Tribune asks, “if Edward is overcome by the scent of Bella, if she is his own personal brand of heroin, and they spend every possible second together and he sleeps over at Bella’s, like, all the time — what happens when Bella gets her period?” As an answer, she posts “Twilight: The Lost Chapter,” part of which reads:

“Seeing as Edward and his entire family were vampires, it was impossible for them to be near her while she menstruated. Her blood was intoxicating to them, particularly to Edward, and when she menstruated it was extremely imprudent for her to be in their company. In addition to the danger raised by the temptation of the blood in the menses she shed, her body’s scent was apparently heightened during this time of her cycle, making her all the more appetizing to them.”

Or, take this question, from Letters to Twilight:

“What we don’t get is what happens when Bella gets her period? Does Edward just go away for 3-7 days? If so, where does he go? Or isn’t that blood appealing to him because it comes out of Bella’s “hoo-hoo” and that’s so sicknast? (holla Lauren’s Bite for that word) Or is it that much MORE appealing to him because it comes out of Bella’s “hoo hoo” and he wants to “tap that?”

Stephenie Meyer has responded to the “period question” with the explanation that “dead blood” doesn’t appeal to Edward. As noted at Smart People Who Like Twilight, this answer “is problematic, and kind of a cop-out.” Detailing why she thinks so, she ends her post with “OK enough grossness.”

This type of attitude is exactly what shapes reactions to the name of the latest apple gizmo, the Ipad. It is also, I suspect, what underlies Meyer’s decision to keep menstruation out of her saga. However, I think by reacting to periods as if they are so much grossness keeps dangerous notions of monstrous and abject femininity firmly in place. The MadTV clip from above trades in this very “ewww, periods are so gross” meme. And, as Twilight accords with, certainly not the stuff for fiction or romance!

I think we would all be better off if we were more willing to talk about the bodily realities of being human, including menstruation. As noted in The I-Pad Oh My Periods from Womanist Musings, we have gone from not talking about periods at all to turning them into a joke. As she notes, “Moving from we can’t talk about periods because they are dirty to tee hee is not really any form of progress.”

As for Bella, I don’t think she would find the naming of the latest apple product cause for humor. She is not much of a giggler. Perhaps, though, if an Ipad commercial had came on while she and Edward were waiting for Romeo and Juliet to play, and Edward (more of the jokester) had cracked a panty-liner joke, Bella would have been prompted to talk about some more nitty gritty aspects of their sex life – her period, birth control – you know, those topics that might have prevented pregnancy or maybe even opened deeper conversation about Edward’s arcane better-put-a-ring-on-it-first stance…

9 Comments leave one →
  1. Roxie permalink
    February 1, 2010 1:37 am

    You know, I never considered the laughter as a result of “eww, periods”. I thought it was more like “SERIOUSLY? What were you thinking? Are there no women there? Peggy Olsen would’ve NEVER let this happen!” But I can see people might felt squick about it (kinda boggles me).

    I would’ve found it similarly hilarious if they had named it iStrap. Sure, we have other pad words (mousepad, notepad), but these words actually describe something & make sense linguistically. iPad denotes nothing. And then, say Mac’s iPad 3x times fast. Sounds like “Maxipad”.

    Yes, I’m 12.

    • natalie wilson permalink*
      February 4, 2010 7:05 pm

      iStrap — ha! Maybe they could come out with an entire line – iVibrate, iBunny, iWand. Ha!

  2. February 6, 2010 5:23 pm

    One of the things I liked a lot about The Golden Notebook from Doris Lessing is that periods were a very real part of the lead female.
    Even if I disagree with the way she felt about it, but again it seems I’m the only female (that I know off) that adores having her period. I got the opposite of PMS almost all the times. I feel full of energy, happy, and I crave sugar and chocolate so of course any excuse to eat chocolate its good to me.
    I think Smeyer probably didn’t mentioned periods till Bella had to find out she was pregnant for the same reasons she omitted months of conversations between Bedward, made a fade to black on the honeymoon, or didn’t had the fight with the Volturi. Cheating on her own universe ;).


    Check your mail I sent you the Psyche and Eros comparison with Bella and Edward.

  3. Lauri permalink
    March 3, 2010 5:12 am

    I’m so glad I read this. Now I’m adding more discussion of periods in the novel I’m currently writing. If it gets published I hope you will read it and learn how women deal with having a period during the apocalypse. ¡Muchas gracias!

    • natalie wilson permalink*
      March 4, 2010 5:00 am

      So glad you found the post! Please tell me more about your novel!

  4. March 22, 2010 6:02 am

    Periods are what they are, we all have them and iPad may be a silly name but the period jokes do get a little stale (especially when they’re so derogatory.) But if you have queued up for an iPad, here on some good menstrual apps to kick the pad off with:

    • natalie wilson permalink*
      March 23, 2010 8:06 pm

      Menstrual apps? Wow, I will have to check those out…

  5. Sophie permalink
    September 21, 2010 8:22 pm

    HHHHHEEEEEEEYYYYYYYYY!!!!!!!! The only reason they didn’t use protection was that Edward was disease-free (he was a virgin) and he wasn’t supposed to have active sperm as Alice or Rosalie don’t have active uteruses!!

    Let’s clear this out, ppl!!!!!


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