Tuesday, December 15, 2009

More Twilight hating

If you don't already know how I feel about Twilight, I think it's bad for women, and just bad.

Clearly, I take issue with this kind of thing. This is a T shirt transfer available from faboo on ETSY.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

stop motion paper animation sets my heart aflutter

Thanks to Owen and the always excelent The Experts Agree
this is indeed, beautiful.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Twilight is Bad for Women, and Also, Bad.

Look at this poster.

I read the first and part of the second books in the Twilight series. Not because I'm a masochist, but because I love good young adult literature. Well, as a person who finished Finnegans Wake, Infinite Jest and most of William T. Vollman's books, I can tell you, this shit is unreadable.

The writing is bad. Just.Really. Fucking. Awful.

But it has beautiful vampires and is set in the Pacific Northwest and had crazy marketing so teenage girls flocked to this pile of manure in droves not seen since the height of the NKOTB madness of the late eighties*.

But worse than being bad, this series seems dangerous to me.

The thing that bothers me is that those who are rallying behind these books/ movies (due mostly to Meyer's Mormon faith, methinks) continually point out the strength and independence of the prtoagonist, Bella. Because the book tells you she's independent. But her behavior holds up traditional gender norms of women being beautiful, virginal, and submissive. Bella's obsessive thoughts about Edward are normalized in the world of Twilight and the violence between them and around them is normalized because it is surrounded by or associated with traditional romance imagery and props. This reminds me of an amazing article I read this semester written by Jennifer Dunn called “What Love Has to Do with It: The Cultural Construction of Emotion and Sorority Women's Responses to Forcible Interaction". Using the Interactionist perspective, Dunn examines the emotional response to and interpretation of “forcible interaction”, a qualified group of behaviors that run the gamut from “pestering” to “stalking” that transpires between two people when one is attempting to take by force what is normally freely given. What she found was how the “influence of courtship imagery” shape these women's “interpretations of unwanted attention”. This pattern was most pronounced in consideration of men they had been in long-term relationships with, but it was also present in the context of men they had simply dated. There was a “range of attempts” considered: leaving a gift, waiting at the respondent’s residence with flowers, leaving messages, showing up (sans flowers), following and suicide threats. All of these behaviors were understood to be forcible interactions but when they were framed with the “trappings of love” the women were much more likely to ameliorate the behavior into something they viewed as acceptable. Thispresents evidence of how women participate in their increased vulnerability to forcible interaction and how such behaviors are codified as acceptable when in the context of romantic relationships. Sound familiar?

Look at that poster.

A friend posted an article on FB that points out that by all measures, Bella and Edward are in an abusive relationship. Ha ha, Oh wait, no really.
This shit really bothers me. What are we teaching a whole generation of young women? I'm not saying that girls read Twilight and are suddenly spineless, boy-obsessed and sexually chastened morons, but I'm saying it doesn't help to have such a salient cultural touchstone be championed for having a strong woman protagonist when in fact it has the opposite. Bella is not strong, not independent and is kind of an idiot. Also, sex and violence are all mixed up and worst of all, she's made to feel guilty whenever she feels desire. . It really really really really really really bothers me that when Bella expresses physical desire she in punished in some way. Sex is always dangerous or imbued with violence. This is not OK. This is fucking bananas, and bad for women, and also, bad.

Let's not, mmkay?

* Madness which came to a screeching halt in my elementary school due to my brother circulating the rumor that Joe was rushed to the hospital with a stomach full of sperm. Jordan's sperm. I remember one friend, crying into her pencil box in the girls bathroom at T.A. Hendricks, wailing, "Joe! How could you do this to me!" Not to be judgemental, my first concert was NKOTB with my sister from another mister the night before Martin Luther King Day which her school failed to recognize so she had to get up and go to school while I got to sleep in. Oh, Indiana.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Hooray! Graphs!

I'm not going to say new favorite website, but I might be tempted: