Saturday, August 28, 2010

When the divorce rate for our generation goes up, we know who to blame...

Twilight. Overall, a pretty unimpressive film, but as we all know, it has started the biggest teen-pop culture sensation since Harry Potter, and, according to my bff IMDB, was the second most popular film in 2008, next to The Dark Knight. Seriously, guys? Seriously, females of my generation? Dark Knight is probably going to be considered in ten years to be one of the best movies ever made, and you already can't mention Twilight without every male or cultured female in the room either groaning or laughing at you.
But no need to get into that. Along with a lot of angry ranting that went through my head (and came out of my mouth, I'm sure, much to the chagrin of my best friend,) during this movie, and the added hilarity of the rifftrax we played along with it, (, I came up with three questions that I needed to find some answers to-1,Why did we like this? 2, Why do people still like this so much? And 3, I wonder how many relationships this movie has corrupted?
So when Twilight came out, my very best friend read it, and fell in love with it. It wasn't popular yet, and she, being very dark, fell in love with the atmosphere, and could relate to Bella living in an excruciatingly small town. I read it to, of course, and didn't mind it so much myself.
Now you must understand, my friend and I are not your typical everyday vampire fangirls, nor were we then. We were the outcasts at our school, we intentionally avoided every trend we could. And that is the girl that Bella is really meant to relate to. She cares more about school than she does her appearance or the opposite gender (well..), she isn't athletic, her family is a little off. Her character, and the whole book, really play to a trend that was very popular at the time that I like to call pop-emo. I think (or like to think) that this has been sort of displaced by the indie thing that's happening right now, but when Twilight started, when I was in about seventh grade, this "emo" thing was very popular. And if any of you four or five people reading this are very sensitive about this sort of thing, I don't mean really emo. There's emo, then there's "emo." There's The Cure, and then there's All American Rejects. There're nose piercings, then there are little rubber bracelets with skulls on them. There's Sylvia Plath, and then there's twilight. It was definitely the book of this softcore cultural movement, and I'd be lying if I said I wasn't at least a little bit invested in that movement myself, at the time. It's angsty, it covers most of the life questions that thirteen year old girls have thought about, the atmosphere is dark.
And quite frankly, it's just a fun book to read. I wouldn't be the first one to say that the reason Bella is so painfully boring is because the less personality she has, the easier it is for middle school girls to cut and paste themselves into her character and be swept up in the unlikely romance. And the romance really is what makes the book, or more specifically, the fact that the romance is happening in Forks. I live in a place not unlike Forks, in a state not unlike Washington, and though I don't really want a vampire to be stalking me, shoot, at least it'd be something interesting to spend my time paying attention to.
I think it's fair to say nowadays that the oh-so-cute pop-emo movement has pretty much left the mainstream and a good chunk of the girls who are so obsessed with Edward Cullen are not the social outcasts of their school and cannot relate to Bella's trouble fitting in quite so much. Quite frankly, to be a proper Twilight fangirl, you have to have a lot of pep, and you would not be able to fit all the gloom that is necessary to really relate to Bella, the gloomiest gloomster in the gloomiest town in the continental US. So what's the appeal now?
Sexual harrasment, guys. That is the appeal. I'm only sort of kidding. Edward and Jacob are the reasons girls watch these movies now--they are so, very very invested in themselves--i mean Bella making her choice.
First of all, Team Jacob, you need to stop. Bella ends up with Edward. Jacob ends up with Bella's newborn daughter. You're fighting a loosing battle. That being said, I'm not going to really get into the Jacob thing, because he has less than ten minutes of screen time in Twilight, and i've opted not to watch the rest of the saga.
So after some serious discussion last night, my friend and i determined why Eddie is so attractive. And they aren't bad reasons to be attracted to someone--he's smart, he's unique compared to the other guys in Forks, he's musical, he has an old fashioned sense of chivalry and romance, his family loves and welcomes Bella and treats her like she belongs. And I'm not gonna lie, those are some of the things that make my very stereotypical high school relationship nice. My boyfriend threatens to beat up someone who threatened me somehow? Swoon! His family is incredibly sweet? How perfect! He doesn't act like the other guys at school? How refreshing! He's a homicidal maniac who likes to spend time with me because I smell like his favorite meal? Ama-wait. Here's where the problem is, people. Edward uses his good qualities to hide the fact that he's a horrible womanizing freak. Never have i felt less good about being female than after watching this film. Bella is supposedly a tough chick--and she totally is, until she moves to forks. It's like small towns secrete some sort of sexist ooze. Bella grew up with no men in the house, taking care of her mother, being an individual at school, and studying literature. As soon as she gets to forks, she's cooking and cleaning for her father, and as soon as she meets Edward, she's constantly being taken care of like some helpless cripple. Edward is so superior to her in his male-ness that he actually carries her around most of the time instead of letting her walk. He watches her sleep--and that's ok, because he's just being protective. The movie doesn't even try to hide this, like, at all--at one point, they are trying to run away from something, and instead of being rational and letting her get in the car to save time, he opens her door for her, pretty much picks her up and places her in the car, and then actually starts to buckle her seat belt for her. Seriously?
And unfortunately, i cannot answer question number three, but i can only guess it's a lot. Twilight teaches us that our high school sweethearts will be our significant others for the rest of our lives, and we should act as if our happiness forever depends on the success of that relationship. It teaches us that we only can ever have one real relationship--bella and edward get married at eighteen and they are immortal, werewolves imprint on someone and are with them forever, Bella's dad can't have another relationship because he loved her mom, etc. It teaches us girls that overprotective, chauvinistic men who are also aggressive, controlling, and violent make the best boyfriends--can you say abusive relationship? And it shows us that when we are really in love with someone, when they leave, for whatever reason, the most logical reaction is to give up on life and go into a deep, nearly irreversible depression and do life-threatening things all the time. I've seen it happen, guys. Don't let your relationship be...bellafied. Nothing good will come of it.

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