And also yes, another English post. But not to worry, this is not necessarily a trend. It’s just because the original post I’m defending Twilight from is in English, because I feel like it and because I’m trying to lure the English-speaking fanbase of the books and movies onto my blog, and in the darkness bind them. Besides, it wouldn’t be fair to criticise someone in a language she (probably) doesn’t understand.
So, on with the defense. Why defend Twilight? Well. I stumbled upon this feminist critique by Sarah (who apparently gets critical on a regular basis, which I approve of) and enjoyed it very much, but I found some things I consider unfounded, and I’d like to point those out, because … Well I guess I’m just that kind of pedantic ass, and besides I love to defend stuff and people I disagree with, because it feels so damn righteous.
Sarah’s first point of criticism is this:
And that’s completely correct. (Spoiler: All her four points are.) But her examples are not terribly well-chosen, I think. Take this one:
Edward constantly employs “pressure tactics,” the number one example being manipulating Bella into marrying him. Bella doesn’t want to get married, she is mortified by the idea, and only goes through with the marriage because she wants to have sex with Edward. This is blackmail. Withholding sex in order to achieve what he wants at the expense of Bella is highly abusive.
Now, I’ve only read the first book (So if you still want to continue reading this rather than Sarah’s post, what’s wrong with you? I obviously have no idea what I’m doing.), so my judgement is severely limited on this, but at least this portrayal of his behavior doesn’t seem very abusie to me. I mean, the guys doesn’t want to have sex before marriage. She wants sex with him. She has to marry him to get that, so she does. Where is that his fault? What else should he do? Betray his principles? Sure, they’re idiotic principles, but to some people, that’s better than having none. I don’t know, maybe he does blackmail and manipulate her. Probably even, from what I read so far. But the mere fact that he refuses to have sex before marriage is neither one nor the other.
No. I’m frankly dumbfounded as to why she would choose those examples. Even in the one book I read, there are lots of better ones, and these ones aren’t bad. At all. First and foremost because Edward is right. Bella is indeed exceptionally unobservant. She is a terribly judge of what is or isn’t dangerous. Telling her that might be impolite, but it’s not abuse. And even if he was wrong, I habitually trade way worse completely unfounded insults with people I like and respect, so… Alright, maybe that last part says more about my unpleasant character than about Sarah’s bad choice of examples, but my point stands.
Her second point of criticism is about women’s life choices. Sarah maintains that the book leaves ony one choice to women: Marry and have children. Which is, again, probably correct, but is, again, supported by not quite convincing examples:
I just don’t see it. Those quotes do not say anything about women’s life choices, or the lack thereof. They reflect Bella’s feeling of being irresistably drawn to Edward, of falling in love with him in spite of her fear of his Vampirism, of the maelstrom of dangers and commitments involved in that love, etc. Actually, thinking about that, this could have been a very interesting premise for a story, had it been handled in a reasonable way, and I think the quotes could just as well have been Edward’s because I always got the impression that he feels exactly the same, or to be precise: His feelings seemed a lot stronger than Bella’s, at least in the first novel, which is, again, the only one I’ve read.
So, yes Twilight is a bad story, and a silly one, and I agree that it transports a potentially harmful message, and it deserves lots and lots of critcism. But even when criticising something as flawed and as stupid as Twilight, we need to stay fair, and I think that Sarah’s criticism,while generelly justified and entertaining (You can just assume my agreement with everything she wrote that I didn’t specifically object to.), does not always live up to that standard.
What do you think?