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Twilight, or Girls Need Moms, or, Human/Vampire Hybrid Babies Need Heteronormative, Monogomous Married Parents

March 28, 2011

I recently reviewed Mars Needs Moms. This got me thinking, could Twilight be re-titled Girls Need Moms, or, conversely, Human/Vampire Hybrid Babies Need Heteronormative, Monogomous Married Parents?

In regards to the first title, Girls Need Moms, we could think about Bella’s insecurities and DESPERATE love for Edward resulting from having the “scatter-brained” Renee as maternal unit. What she NEEDS is a mom-replacement. Enter Edward to rock, soothe, carry and cradle her through 4 books.

In regards to the second, Human/Vampire Hybrid Babies Need Heteronormative, Monogomous Married Parents, we might consider how Bella and Edward are framed as perfect parents for their perfect baby – or, as an eternal family in the making.

Unlike Mars Needs Moms, which shows gender to be socially constructed and parenting to be dangerously gendered, the Twilight saga acts as if females should naturally desire marriage and motherhood and, if they don’t, a good white male vampire (coupled with young marriage and instant pregnancy) will just have to set them straight…

Needles to say, I prefer the message in Mars Needs Moms

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4 Comments leave one →
  1. March 28, 2011 11:16 pm

    Did you point out in your book how ironic is is to see misogynist writing from a female author? (btw, got a copy on order; can’t wait).

  2. natalie wilson permalink*
    March 28, 2011 11:51 pm

    I do address the misogyny of the saga at length. And while I do see this as ironic due to the fact the author is a woman, this is an irony that happens far too often. Being a woman does not a feminist one make — and if we need more than SMeyer as proof, consider also Ann Coultier, Sarah Palin, Michele Bachman…
    And thanks for ordering the book! Looking forward to hearing your review!

    • Iuliana Diaconescu permalink
      April 26, 2011 2:29 pm

      Add Ayn Rand (Atlas Shrugged) to the list. I was so happy to see a character like Dagny Taggard only to pull my hair out as I read further. But I’m not finished yet so maybe a miracle will occur.

      I actually liked Twilight and I am a feminist and agnostic (ironic I know) You are right, Twilight is so vague and full of contradictory messages that anyone can put their spin on it. I don’t see Bella’s clumsiness as a regressive gendered archetype; I see it as idiosyncratic. She is pretty much a damnsel in distress but not because she is a female. That’s just the way she is. Should we make all female characters powerful in order to be a good feminists? What if some of them are not? Can we have variety? I don’t mind she is weak at first (that changes when she becomes a vampire) because there are other strong females (Alice and Rosie) who show no trace of clumsiness or submissiveness. To me that shows equality.

      Bella herself is not submissive. Think of the time she sneaks out to see Jacob despite Edward’s best efforts to stop her. He just ends up agreeing to let her do whatever she wants.(yes I know that should be a given, he messed up because he was trying to protect her, cheesy and subversive, you are right) Anyway, she makes out with Jacob and Edward does not even get mad! She loves Jacob too, and Edward kinda accepts it (weird) But she did not love him as much as her vampire and her vampire was very understanding (progressive? or maybe wtf) So I don’t think Meyers paints an anti-feminist world. She paints her world to her liking.

      I also don’t see how Bella is sexualized (maybe I was too focused on the pure romance and all and I totally missed it!) But Jacob and Edward are sexualized from a straight female’s point of view! (chiseled rock hard abs, running around with no shirt, lol, so sily) Hurray for female writers (jk) So I would think this is reversed sexualization: male hunks to appeal to females (the audience of this book) Usually it’s the other way around.

      I know Bella is helplessly in love but Edward is equally sprung (I guess that makes him a female lol). Yes, he does police her around about staying a virgin, but he is a virgin himself, no double standards in this regard. My take on it is that they argue on this issues, just like any couple on any issue. You can actually look at it as gender role reversal with Bella trying to seduce and ‘corrupt’ Edward. When Edward proposes Bella does not even want to get married because she feels it’s too soon. Regressive gender roles would dictate the opposite: she would be ecstatic.

      But that is definetly just my take on it and I can see how it can be interpreted the other way (and it is a very valid interpretion) I love this kind of debate and I love twihaters because well, they are right too! I still love twilight and the obscessive yet equal love. I guess I want to be saved. I have a very unrealistic expectation of romance (Damn you Disneeeeyyy!) I don’t take Twilight that seriously and I laugh at myself for liking it. I don’t think it’s harmful to females because there are strong females throughout the book. Bella becomes one of them. She is not submissive but she may be more traditional in some regards. That is her choice and she is entitled to it.

      • Natalie Wilson permalink*
        May 24, 2011 2:29 am

        Luliana,
        Thanks for your comments and please accept my apology for the delayed reply.
        I agree with your point that not all female characters need to be powerful to make a text “feminist friendly,” but I am not sure that Rosalie/Alice balance out Bella, so to speak. Rosalie is vein and vindictive, Alice is obsessed with Jasper and fashion. If there is a character that has the potential to be a feminist role model of sorts, I would say its Leah. She’s brave, tough, smart and understands how “male wolf rule” screws her over. Too bad Meyer had to present her as infertile doomed bitch!
        I don’t see Bella as a sexualized so much as object of the male gaze (of Edward, Jacob, et al) – which ultimately makes her view herself via this gaze – much like Laura Mulvey argues women adopt the male gaze to judge themselves and other women.
        And, yes, the males are sexualized to please a hetero female readership, but they still have all the power nevertheless.
        I do think there is some gender role reversal around the sexuality — and I go into much further detail about this in my book.
        I don’t think Twilight is harmful either — though some of its representations echo harmful ideologies – ie women should be abstinent until married and motherhood is the goal, be skinny as all get out and keep looking young, and wealth/consumerism buys happiness, etc.

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