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Posted: Sat Dec 13, 2008 10:00 pm
by lulzgrl
Hi, I'm lulzgrl! I haven't really been at any other boards, and I joined the Lex for fun. I don't really like Twilight. Maybe you like it, but I don't. I'm not a failed author ragging on poor Stephenie because I feel bad. I'm not some society hating emo who thinks anything popular is crap. I'm just an anti. Don't delete this just yet, please keep reading. I want you to know why. WARNING: SOME SPOILERS! DON'T READ IF YOU HAVEN'T READ PAST TWILIGHT

I don't like Twilight because Edward is abusive, Bella is a whiney mary-sue, Jacob is a pedo, and everyone else is just the backup dancers in Belward's sexist music video of twu wuv. The books give girls unrealistic expectations of normalcy, and besides that, the fan girls are violent.

You might be saying, "No, Edward never hurts Bella! He loves her!" And you are right on one account. Edward does love Bella.(even if it's based on the fact that Belly smells good and Eddie is scrumdidlyumptous.) But he does hurt her. He is Emotionally Abusive. Let's look at why, shall we?

Wikipedia says:

An abusive relationship is an interpersonal relationship characterized by the use or threat of physical or psychological abuse. Abusive relationships are often characterized by jealousy, emotional withholding, lack of intimacy, infidelity, sexual coercion, verbal abuse, broken promises, physical violence, control games and power plays.

Let’s break this definition down in terms of Edward and Bella.

Jealousy – If anything, Edward’s defining characteristic is in fact his jealousy. It is his jealousy (more than anything else) that instigates his abusive acts. He admits after the engine episode that the main reason for not wanting Bella to see Jacob was in fact his prejudice and jealousy, and that’s hardly the only instance of his jealousy.
Emotional withholding – The fact that Edward and Bella are supposed to share this incredible, transcendent relationship is undermined by the fact that rather than discuss his fears and uncertainties, Edward chooses to leave Bella at the beginning of New Moon. While it’s not a crime to end a relationship, the fact that Edward chose to do so in such a cruel and unusual manner instead of explaining his feelings and emotions on the subject is pretty abusive.
Lack of intimacy – The intimacy issue is a trickier when it comes to Edward and Bella. First, in terms of physical intimacy: the fact that Edward controls every single chaste little kiss AND withholds sex is incredibly controlling. That he does so supposedly to protect her is negated by the fact that he’s more than willing to sex her up once they’re married, even though she’s still a puny, fragile human (and she does get hurt). Their lack of emotional intimacy (again, with the above point about emotional withholding) is just as damaging (as referenced by Bella’s zombiefied state in New Moon.
Sexual coercion – Again, Edward controls every aspect of their sexual lives, against Bella’s will and in fact he demeans and treats her like a child when she attempts to sex him.
Broken promises – at the end of Twilight, Edward promises to stay with Bella no matter what. Yet at the beginning of New Moon, he massively overreacts to the supposed threat of danger and decides to break that promise, rendering Bella suicidal. Maybe this isn’t traditionally abusive, but it’s unnecessarily damaging.
Control games and power plays – All the above points serve the idea that Edward’s prevailing character (served by his jealousy) is controlling. And I don’t care how ‘powerful’ and ‘omniscient’ and ‘old and wise’ Edward is, when you’re in a romantic relationship with someone one partner cannot be completely dominating and the other submissive (unless it’s a BDSM relationship, but that’s another subject entirely). It simply isn’t healthy, particularly when it’s supposed to be this ‘great love of all the ages’ and representative of an equal partnership.

2. Intentions

Let me just say this once to make it clear: intentions (good or bad) do not matter. It’s an instance of the classic phrase acta non verba, or “actions, not words.” It doesn’t matter if I tell you “I love you so much!” if I immediately follow that statement by trying to kill you. It doesn’t matter if I honestly DO love you and I STILL try to kill you; the action of attempted homicide still stands (and I’ll be charged with that) regardless of how I feel about it. If I kill someone and then say “I made a mistake” or “I loved him/her”, the fact that I feel bad about it in retrospect does not change the irreversible fact that I did, in fact, kill someone.

So if Edward removes the engine from Bella’s truck and then replaces it later, the fact that he replaces it later is irrelevant to the issue at hand; the fact that he performed the abusive act in the first place. I don’t care if he felt bad about it or changed his mind; he still performed the act to begin with.

If Edward only does anything “in order to protect Bella”, it’s again an instance of the irrelevance of intentions. Simply put, he doesn’t have the right to upend another person’s life or to attempt to control what that person does, even if he cares about them. It is not my roommate’s place to lock me in our room to prevent me from going out and getting trashed, even if she thinks she’s doing it to “protect me” or “because she cares about me.” Likewise, it isn’t Edward’s right to decide who Bella sees, when she sees him, where she sees him, and for how long. Just because he decided NOT to kidnap Bella for the weekend a second time doesn’t make the fact that he kidnapped her for a weekend for the first time moot.

Basically, intentions don’t matter. Actions matter. Even if Edward changes his mind or feels bad about it, that doesn’t erase the fact that he performed the act in the first place. If he feels bad about it, it doesn’t mean that his character isn’t an abusive one; you don’t judge a character based on the person he is by the end of the novel (or series); rather, you judge them (and form an understanding of them) by incorporating EVERYTHING you learn about them throughout the series. So while Edward DOES change and DOES make different decisions, his good decisions don’t negate the bad ones. He performs an abusive act = he is abusive, even if he feels bad about it. Capisce?

Now for Bella:

Definition Of Mary Sue a la Wikipedia:

Mary Sue, sometimes shortened simply to Sue, is a pejorative term used to describe a fictional character who plays a major role in the plot and is particularly characterized by overly idealized and hackneyed mannerisms, lacking noteworthy flaws, and primarily functioning as wish-fulfillment fantasies for their authors and/or readers. Perhaps the single underlying feature of all characters described as "Mary Sues" is that they are too ostentatious for the audience's taste, or that the author seems to favor the character too highly. The author may seem to push how exceptional and wonderful the "Mary Sue" character is on his or her audience, sometimes leading the audience to dislike or even resent the character fairly quickly; such a character could be described as an "author's pet".

What does Bella do to deserve such harsh treatment?

She's perfect. When she comes to Forks for the first time, people generally think she's great.Charlie adores her, Mike likes her, Eric hits on her her, Jessica and Angela want to be her best friends. Yet, Bella 'doesn't fit in' and is 'lonely' at school. The only thing wrong with Belly's perfect first day is that she sucks at P.E., being adorably clumsy.When she looks at Ed, the only person in school who isn't paying attention to her, she instantly falls in love. This is shown even more when they are in Science. He acts jumpy and guilty, and she is curious. Why doesn't he love her? Bell is confused. Then, of course, once we go through the entire charade of Shopping and Beachgoing, They are Meant to be Together. Again, this is shown more when James and Company plow through town, hunting down Bella and forcing Ed to save her. Why doesn't Bella tell Jasper and Alice, experienced Meyerpires, when James threatens her? Because it must be Edward who saves her, of course. Always Edward.

Which brings up my next argument: Anti Feminism in Twilight.

"But feminism is about choice, and Bella gets to make her own choices!"

This is an argument that I've heard not just from fangirls but from the Great Smeyer herself, and while it seems compelling at first glance, the fact is that it's just a bad an argument.

But why?

First, let's talk about feminism. What is it exactly? Well, in a word it's equality. If I were to expand that definition, I would say that feminism is about the right be treated and judged the same as those of the XY persuasion, to have the same opportunities, and to have the right of freedom of will the same as any man.

So, it's not so much about choice as it is the equal right to "choose," if choice is the end object. For example, if men can choose to remain a bachelor or to be promiscuous without judgment, so too should women be allowed that choice with the same repercussions (or lack thereof) as in men's case.

So, let's bring this back 'round to Twilight. What choices does Bella make? Let's sample three of her decisions throughout the series.

1. She chooses to follow James' instructions at the end of Twilight
If you're arguing for Bella as a strong female character who is feminist because she is "allowed" to make her own choices, this is one bad example. Why? Because this choice was a bad one. It revealed Bella as stupid and incapable and led to Edward needing to swoop in to save her. Why? Because she, the weak and silly woman, was too dumb to see through James' unoriginal scheme and to her detriment made a bad choice because of that. This doesn't prove that Bella is strong, or that she's a feminist just because she made a choice. In fiction, the existence of the decision is not so important as the results of that decision themselves and how those results affect the perception of the decision-maker. Here, Bella's decision forces her into the weak damsel in distress figure yet again, thus propelling the charges of sexism and anti-feminism even further.

2. She ignores Edward's mandates against visiting Jacob and La Push.
This one is a bit tricky. On the surface, it seems like an empowered decision. If you push deeper, however, more unsettling truths emerge. For example, why does she stay with Edward despite his abusive actions? Why does she submit to his attempts to control her behavior the rest of the time? Then, if you turn to the action itself (and forgive me but I don't have a copy of the book on hand), Bella says something to the effect of 'I know I won't get away with this' or 'I know Edward's not going to be happy' (or something like that), acknowledging his role as an authoritative and dominant partner. She doesn't like his behavior. She doesn't appreciate his attempts to control her, yet she exhibits no sense of strength or empowerment and Meyer treats the event like Bella's "breaking a rule" (Edward's rule) rather than having the right to do as she pleases. Not only that, but when his actions finally do irritate her--after she realizes that he removed her engine--she doesn't dump him or ding dong the witch is dead which old witch the wicked witch at him or say, "What on earth does fornification under consent of king have to do with this? off, I'll do what I want" - instead, she leaves her window open. Even though Edward imposed his will on her and upset her with his abusive and controlling act, she doesn't respond. She doesn't get angry. All in all, she thinks of herself as powerless and acts powerless. The choices of an empowered female? I think not.

3. Her "choice" to become a vampire.
Throughout the series, this was the one thing that simultaneously irked me and made me glad for her character. On the one hand, I was annoyed that she wanted to give up her humanity, her future, and her friends and family. The fact that she had zero ambition other than gluing herself to Edward's side for the rest of eternity bugged me. On the other hand, I was glad that she'd made a choice and stuck by it even in the face of Edward's obvious disapproval and anger over her decision. In books 1-3, Bella did intend to become a vampire. But there are three problems with that. 1) Her becoming a vampire was contingent upon Edward's agreement (Edward's choice), 2) it took the Vulturi's decision and the Vulturi's timeline to make Edward agree, not hers, and 3) becoming a vampire was never within her power to begin with. It was an illusion of choice, not actual choice. However, Breaking Dawn completely destroyed whatever tenuous thread of empowerment existed. She didn't get to choose to become a vampire--she was unconscious. She was dying, a broken and bleeding husk. Edward decided when the time was right. Edward chose to make her a vampire. Bella didn't have any choice in the matter at all, from beginning to end. Becoming a vampire was completely out of her control and even if it weren't, even if Edward was going to abide by her wishes and make her a vampire in some special candlelit room... that was taken away from her. That illusion of her "choice" was irrelevant in the end because it was Edward who made the decision.

So, what "choices" does Bella make?
1. The "choice" to nearly get herself killed due to her monumental stupidity.
2. The "choice" to submit to abuse, even though it's emotionally damaging.
3. The "choice" that didn't actually give her a choice.

Those don't sound much like choices to me.

Moreover, Jacob is a Pedophile. He imprinted on a BABY. Which, any way you look at it, is pretty sick. But, let's look at imprinting as a whole.

Anti: “Imprinting is sick, sexist, and promotes pedophilia”

Fan: “Imprinting isn’t sexual”, “Imprinting’s not sexist because it’s equally degrading”

At best, imprinting is a second-rate deus ex machina to make coupling easier for Meyer by taking away the necessity for character and relationship development. Basically, love-at-first-sight by any other name still smells not-quite-sweet. Now, had Meyer simply gone ahead with love at first sight rather than the imprinting concept, I doubt we’d be discussing it right now. Rather, I’d be arguing how lame love at first sight is.

But since Meyer chose imprinting and all its dangly bits, let’s take a look at it.

Who imprints?

The male werewolves. It isn’t known whether or not Leah can imprint, though she complains in Breaking Dawn that she’s “twenty years old and menopausal”, indicating that she can’t procreate anyway, thus rendering the function of imprinting useless (more on that later).

Quil imprinted on Claire, a two year-old.
Jacob imprinted on Nessie, an infant.

What is the purpose of imprinting?

We learn over the course of the series that the purpose of imprinting and why normal folk don’t do it is to insure that the werewolf gene (or shape-shifting gene) is passed on. Think of it like an evolutionary adaptation to insure the procreation of one’s species—much the same as certain types of frogs modulating the pitch and frequency of their mating calls in order to attract a female of their exact species. Imprinting is not to make sure that the werewolves get true love. It’s not to make sure that the werewolves have a barefoot woman in the kitchen to make them sandwiches. The sole reason is for reproduction. That’s it. No other reason.

“Imprinting is sick, sexist, and promotes pedophilia”

So if imprinting’s sole purpose is for reproduction, then it is inherently sexual. Saying it’s not sexual is like saying a dude putting his let's keep this PG shall we? in a girl’s vag isn’t sexual. Reproduction = sexual.

To get out of the squick factor with Quil imprinting on Claire and Jacob imprinting on Nessie, Meyer quickly defends it by saying that the imprinter will be “whatever is needed, whether that’s a brother or uncle or father.”

And there go my squick alarms, blaring away like the siren of a police cruiser full of pedophiles.

One of the problems is that there is an understood future sexual relationship (by virtue of the imprinting) at stake. So the idea of the werewolf taking a fraternal or paternal role in the life of the child leads directly to the concept of child grooming, defined below:

“Child grooming”

The deliberate actions taken by an adult to form a trusting relationship with a child, with the intent of later having sexual contact is known as child grooming. The act of grooming a child sexually may include activities that are legal in and of themselves, but later lead to sexual contact. Typically, this is done to gain the child's trust as well as the trust of those responsible for the child's well-being.

Sound familiar? That’s because that describes the exact actions being taken by Quil and, to a lesser extent Jacob (given that Nessie is supposedly super-mature and super in general) in their relationships with Claire and Nessie respectively.

Certainly Quil doesn’t want to hurt Claire, but he’s taking an authoritative role in her life and for her to grow up with Uncle Quil or Brother Quil with the expectation of a sexual relationship completely sabotages her rights and her personal ability to refuse him. That is, both Quil and the rest of the tribe expect her to engage in a relationship with him and she has been brought up with the understanding that Quil will eventually become Lover Quil. How is she supposed to refuse him when he’s not only been an authority figure all her life but it’s expected by him and the rest of her family and friends that they live happily ever after (and make lots of puppies)? That’s inexcusable and sick, and as I already established, there can be no imprinting without reproduction. This means that Quil and Claire’s relationship can never be simply platonic and that’s why it’s pedophilic.

Not to mention that it’s also sexist. It puts all the power of the relationship into Quil’s hands rather than Claire’s. Sure, Quil didn’t choose to imprint—it was forced upon him—but he does have the ability to mold and shape his and Claire’s relationship over a period of at least 16 years while Claire is given no options of her own. This goes for every other female who has been imprinted upon… Where is their right to choose? If they’re a member of the tribe, then they’re expected to just fall in line with whatever boy has designs on them, because, as Meyer says, it’s supposedly “hard to resist that level of devotion.”

Now, a popular argument that the Twilight fans use is this: “Imprinting is degrading to both males and females equally, therefore it’s not sexist.” While they do make a good point about imprinting and the males, their logic is flawed. No, the males don’t have a right to choose either—they become groveling, sniveling love slaves with no options outside of the person they choose, but the difference is that they have feelings for the person. If we take imprinting at face value, then they’ve found their soul-mate and they have no doubts, no concerns, and no regrets about it. The problem is that it’s not reciprocal. The females are not guaranteed feelings equal to the male, yet they’re still expected to hop between the sheets with them. Had Meyer left it as a one-way, unrequited love process, then it wouldn’t have been as sexist (it would have put power in the hands the female and degraded the male… not a good thing, either). But because she insinuates that the females are supposed to love the male back, then it becomes a problem.

Imprinting (and werewolf reproduction) is sexist in another way as well, specifically for Leah. Now, this is either a giant misunderstanding or a blatant contradiction (I’m inclined to think the latter, considering Meyer’s dubious track record), but in Breaking Dawn, Meyer insinuates that Leah is infertile. WTF? Evolutionarily speaking, why on earth would a female werewolf become infertile while the males get to keep their little swimmers? (Same question to the vampires, actually) So if imprinting happens to insure reproduction, why the hell would werewolf-ism ever make the person infertile? There’s zero reason for it evolutionarily (it goes counter to evolution theory, period) and biologically speaking, if the males can keep creating sperm with no problem, then it makes zero—ZERO!—sense for Leah’s eggs (which she was born with) to suddenly lose their viability. After all, if imprinting is there to make sure that werewolf puppies are running around, then it implies that not only are the werewolves capable of reproduction but that it’s preferred.

But no… Meyer decides to take away Leah’s fertility, thus setting her apart from a) the other women on the reservation and b) the other werewolves and c) taking away her opportunity to imprint (if she’s infertile, she won’t imprint because the potential for procreation has been lost). Now, does the male werewolves’ sperm count reduce more quickly than humans’ (thus reducing their viability) because of their werewolfiness? Is that another reason for imprinting, to make sure that they get down-n-dirty quick enough so that they’re not shooting blanks?

The answer to that is no. If Quil can imprint on a two year-old and have to wait a minimum to 16 years before reproduction, then it’s safe to say that he’s not losing any viability any time soon. Likewise, it’s stated that werewolves, as long as they phase regularly, will never age.

So why is Leah aging (going through menopause/losing her fertility)? Why does the woman get the shaft and the males get to prance around happily with no ill effects (rather, they get killer bods and a never-ending supply of viable sperm). Why do the males get their happy ending (by way of imprinting; no pun intended) and Leah is denied hers?

The only possible reason is that she’s a woman and Meyer wanted to give her some extra angst (besides having her heart broken, coincidentally also due to imprinting). By taking away her fertility, Meyer implies that procreation and baby-making are the most important things to her simply by virtue of her having two X chromosomes. Sexist? I should say so.

Imprinting in five words: sick, gross, eww, *shudder*, SEXIST!, and awkward.

Good job, Meyer. Really nice work.

In conclusion, The books are horrible literature. But people still like them, and you have to wonder why. Maybe it's because Bella is an extension of what girls want to be. She has a wonderful husband, she has immense wealth, and she will never grow old or die. Edward is handsome and "caring" and they will be happy until the world ends. Because girls like that idea, they look over the purple prose (whole paragraphs on Edward's chest), the squick factor (Four medical words: EMERGENCY DENTAL CESAREAN SECTION), and the sexism (YAYZ FOR DA MALES), to embody themselves into the perfection of Belward.

I know I've offended people over at USSR Lexicon HQ, and you are probably offended too. But I have to make a statement. Go ahead and ridicule me. I'll be sure to post your responses at TS.


Some passages adapted from Arzim's Rebuttals, Found here: ... 638&page=1