Wednesday, 27 January 2010

A 100 Reasons why I HATE Twilight.

Actually, there is only 10, but I figured a 100 would get your attention. I am sure if I could be arsed to read more than the first two books I would probably make it to a 100 no worries. Do feel free to add your own in the comments.

I also realise I have ranted about this subject before, and that what I might be doing is engendering you with an overwhelming desire to read it (if you haven't already) just out of curiosity, but I am just sick and tired of it just taking over everything.

My inbox keeps filling up with supposed Michael Sheen google alerts. I open them excitedly, only to find old news relating to him being regurgitated by the endless stream of Twilight fan sites.  Not surprisingly, most of the fans had no idea who Michael Sheen was prior to his (lamented) appearance as Aro in New Moon, and so I am subjected to constant remarks of surprise when they find him in something else – did they seriously think this was his first real job? All the others cast members were obviously hired because of their looks, (apart from Robert Pattinson who is actually an okay actor but not very braw – casting director must have been drunk that day). I think Michael was hired simply to give this one some much needed gravitas. On set, I imagine all the others watching Michael do his scenes thinking ‘wow – is that what real acting looks like – it looks hard’.

More evidence of Twilights pervasive nature is for example Entertainment sites, where I would once would get information about the latest project of celebrity A or B, have basically become Twilight obsessees, and report on the dullness that is ‘OMG Kirsten Stewart has been spotted getting a coffee somewhere’... who gives a flying fuck?

Granted, the books are quite addictive (some additive in the paper has been suggested) but I think that is because the tantalizing preface gives us the impression something really exciting is going to happen, but it kinda doesn't. During most of the climax of the first book, Bella is unconscious and so we miss out on all the action. Lazy writing?

They are in a rough ascending order, the one I feel most strongly about being no. 1. Let me count the ways...

10. It seems to me that ultimately, this book is a great big fat 'Mary Sue' - a book primarily functioning as wish-fulfilment fantasy for the author. Not always a bad thing, but so blatant in this book - particularly due to her obvious recreation of her mormonistic views towards sex before marriage, and de-fanged vampires.
9. The fans - I have to say, one of the things I find most repulsive (scary) about the books is the high level of hysterical obsession, it elicits from the fans. The books have such a hold over them. Why they fall for this poor quality pseudo-romance is beyond me. They are fiercely loyal, a trait I would normally admire, but to the point where they will form a witch hunt against any nay-sayers. Dear reader, I am taking my life in my hands by publishing this blog! It is not a romance - it is an obsessive crush based purely on (in Bella's case) ethereal good looks and that he sparkles, and (in Edward's case) because she smells nice. Not her wit or intelligence, or her humour or humanity, oh no… her scent. This kind of love does not exist, not to be called love anyway. One of many false ideals this book portrays.

8.  Is it just me that finds it a bit paedo-creepy Edward is like a 100 years older than Bella? Or, to look at it another way, why would someone with the life experience he must have at 100+ years, entertain the idea of a romance with a teenager.

7. Badly written. There are holes in the plot the size of the O2 stadium. The book is also meant to be told from the perspective of a 17 year old girl, yet the internal dialogue is of someone MUCH older. Maybe this is a ploy by the author to signify that Bella is more mature than her age... but for me it is just too forced. It is not very well written, and it seems like the author went through the first draft with a thesaurus in hand, and put in as many 'big words' as possible, rather than ones actually used in common parlance.

6. No touching. No kissing. And definitely No Sex. Just lots of frustrating angst. Bella's scent is apparently just so intoxicating that Edwards fears he will lose control. This ties in with the first book's cover showing a women holding an apple in her hands - the symbology is quite clear. Women are evil and hold temptation in their hands.

5. Everyone is so nauseatingly beautiful, with perfect hair, and luscious lips, and alabaster skin. Another false ideal, and impossible goal for teens uncomfortable with their changing bodies to aspire to
4. The Vampires are effete vegetarians with a tortured soul... and they sparkle. VAMPIRES DO NOT FUCKING SPARKLE (see a previous post - Vampires...Have they wussed out?. Also, I have to say something about the fact they refer to other fantasy characters in this series - ie werewolves. I know my friends at Werewolf News would not forgive me if I didn't point out that THEY ARE NOT REAL WEREWOLFS. I do believe that this is actually straightened out in a later book where is clearly states they are shape-shifters…but still.

3. Edward - This character is probably the most popular with the largely young, female audience, but I find him the most loathsome of all. He is so manipulative of Bella. He controls their relationship from the start, to the point where Bella - even when confessing her love for him to herself - is almost resigned to the fact, as if it wasn't her decision. He is attracted to Bella based purely on her scent, and behaves quite appallingly towards any other males that are (surprisingly) interested in Bella for reasons far more normal. He is jealous, and controlling. He decides when they take the relationship to the next level, he decides that he should perhaps leave as she is just too darn irresistible.... when does Bella get to have her say?

2. Bella - It terrifies me that girls as young as 8 or 9 are reading these books, and have Bella as a role model. She starts off a regular teenager, slightly introverted, reasonably intelligent, averagely good looking, not athletic in anyway, in fact extremely clumsy (to the point where she is a hazard to herself). Then she meets Edward, and becomes a spineless, weak willed, obsessive, who follows Edward around like a love sick puppy. She practically gives up on life when he leaves her, and becomes a ghost (see point 1). It is also made quite acceptable for her to lie to her family and ignore her friends in order to keep this love of hers.

1. Its ultimate sin is the portrayal of women, particularly the lead female, as some kind of weak-without-a-man creature who needs to be told what to do and is incapable of existing, or giving any value to themselves, without one in their life. Now, I realise that Twi-Tards (should they deign to stop by this blog) will defend it to the death. Don't bother - I have heard all your arguments. Supposedly, the story takes us back to a time where it was very important to be liked by a boy, and the feelings of first love, and how you just want a boy to obsess about you. It is just a fantasy so why should it live up to a feminist ideal? I don't think it is a 'feminist ideal' to not want our sisters, daughters and nieces to be exposed to something that is so dangerous. Don't forget Twi-Tards - that it is thanks to the feminists of previous generations that YOU are able to buy a book, by a FEMALE author, with your OWN MONEY, to read in your SPARE TIME, and that your biggest complaint in life is that someone on the internet doesn't like your favourite book.

I realise this work is considered a 'genre' piece, but because of this it does not mean that it must purely entertain, and does not exclude it from having a meaning beyond entertainment. This book is being read by (mostly) girls of an age that have yet to form opinions about love, life and themselves, and so is influencing them in a way that women of previous generations were not influenced. Yes, we had our fantasies growing up, but they were just in our heads - they were never realised into print, or the big screen to the same degree as the Twilight Saga, which serves to reinforce them to levels previously unknown.

I genuinely believe that most teens will grow out of this, and hopefully will come out the other side reasonably unscathed. There will be a few unhappy souls however, that will 'become' Bella. That will be made to feel that it is okay to have your self-worth hinge on whether someone 'loves' you or not, and lose any self respect in order to keep 'their man'. There will also be those who spend many lonely days wistfully dreaming and waiting for their very own 'Edward' when unfortunately, impossibly good looking 100 year old immature vegetarian vampires don't exist. Sadly, controlling, manipulative and obsessive men do and they are out there looking for Bellas.

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