Twilight: The Texts and The Fandom, re-cap of weeks 6 and 7 (femininity and sexuality)
Last week, students were given a list of questions to consider in relation to particular female characters in the saga. In groups, they answered these questions and formulated unique ways to present their findings to the entire class, including a Renesmee/Breaking Dawn skit (where Alice manically photographed Bella holding Renesmee), Alice as a guest on a talk show, a Quileute female discussion panel, diary entries from Rosalie, and Twitter feeds from various female vampires including Jane, Victoria, and the Volturi wives. I continue to be impressed by their creative, engaging analysis of the saga.
This Monday, we were surprised when ABC news showed up to film the class and ask questions of the students and myself. As the reporter was taking the angle that the class seems ill-advised in these times of educational budget cuts, I was pleased that the resulting story was rather positive.
Class discussion this week was rather heated as we considered the saga’s representation of sexuality, abstinence, and chastity. I admitted my own view that the saga suggests female sexuality needs policing and depicts Edward as a knightly virginity warrior. While I and others shared that we felt Bella is punished for her desires (her black and blue body in Breaking Dawn being an example), others noted that Edward suffers too – that he goes into a state of depression echoing that of Bella’s in New Moon after harming/impregnating Bella.
This week we also watched the film Blood and Chocolate, comparing and contrasting it to the Twilight saga. Many felt the film offers a stronger female role model in Vivianne and is more condemning of controlling/domineering male behavior. Others noted it likely did not gain as much popularity as it doesn’t play into the sexualization of the male body that seems to drive many a Twi-fans wild.
Student papers have been particularly strong these last two weeks. As such, I will be sharing a number of them as guest posts. Hope you enjoy!