Erika Chistakis wraps up her three part series in the Huffinton Post about women’s desires being reflected in movies and how Twilight reflects those desires. The whole series is wonderful! You can find part one and part two here. Here are a few highlights from part three.
About the stories of fans having sezures from Breaking Dawn:
A week or two after the movie’s opening, national papers predictably jumped on reports of a handful of viewers having seizures caused by the birth scene. “IsBreaking Dawn bad for your health?” screamed the headlines.
Let’s not discount the seriousness of epilepsy, but I do need to ask if anyone has tracked seizures resulting from watching male-oriented action movies. Surely people with epilepsy have seizures in all kinds of contexts, and Twilight is hardly the first movie to feature bright lights and other brain-rattling effects. Is it possible that we pay more attention to the health consequences of extreme movie scenes when they feature a father delivering a baby with blood smeared quasi-pornographically across his face than scenes with machine gun fire and sawn-off limbs? The histrionic media reaction seemed a tad skewed.
About how Twilight “talks” more than resorts to violence:
More than a few Twilight fans got in a lather about New Moon and Eclipse (movies two and three) because some of the overwrought conversations from the books were clipped in favor of jacked-up action scenes no one wanted to watch. A pivotal scene in which Edward apologizes ad nauseum for leaving Bella was reduced to the blink of an eye, denying the viewer the delicious spectacle of a backpedaling superhero. And Stephanie Meyer doesn’t even bother to stage the epic battle scene that the whole series has been building up to in Book Four; everybody just packs it up and works it out in with… you guessed it… talking.
And why, exactly, is this a problem? Shouldn’t we be embracing — or at least not wholesale eviscerating — a blockbuster series that espouses non-violence? I have yet to read a review of Twilight that recognizes the foundational truth of the story: that aggression is almost always the worst option, and that human life merits respect and forbearance. It’s easy to find this tacky or politically threatening; Stephenie Meyer has something to offend both ends of the ideological spectrum. But we needn’t be aligned with conservative religious teachings or lofty liberal pacifism to acknowledge the refreshing rarity of a successful movie franchise that rejects our great national love affair with violence.
About holding films aimed at women to a different standard than those films aimed at men:
So why do we still insist on vetting female fantasy life through the critical and shaming lens of reality? If it doesn’t pass our test of what is good for us in real life, we’re not allowed to dream about it. There’s nothing new about this: Women have always been viewed as the gatekeepers of morality. Whatever conclusions one draws about The Hangover Part II, no one seriously views it as a threat to American manhood. Yet the messages in “women’s movies” are seen as carrying a special potency. Apparently, we just aren’t entitled to have outré fantasies lest somebody’s delicate sensibilities be injured. What’s unclear is whose feelings we are supposedly protecting.
Name a movie — any movie – that 1) features two or more women who are given names and 2) who talk to each other about something other than a man. If you think this is a ridiculous litmus test that most movies could easily pass, you’d be very wrong. Most fail. The Bechdel test is a simple way to measure the presence of women in American film. The movies that don’t meet this low bar are numerous: The Bourne Identity, Ocean’s 11, Lord of the Rings, The Shawshank Redemption, Mission Impossible, X-Men, the list goes on and on. Even movies aimed primarily at women or children, such as Up and When Harry Met Sally, often fail the test.
About how Hollywood needs to pay more attention to women:
In response to Twilight’s critics, Director Bill Condon recently remarked, “This series is about things women care about and has a woman at the center. So there are people who just stay outside it and mock it.” For all women’s astounding progress in other areas of contemporary life, it’s hard to escape the conclusion that we’re still stuck in the Mad Men era when it comes to movies, alternately objectified and belittled.
Can you really blame a girl, then, for throwing in her lot with a bunch of preening vampires and mangy wolves? “What choice have I?” as Edward once memorably exclaimed. All you movie moguls out there: Are you listening yet? Give us our dreams, please, shaken and stirred.
Again, I totally agree with eveyrthing being stated here, especially with Christakis’ final thoughts and quote from Bill Condon. In fact, I asked Mr. Condon a similar question while at the premiere for Breaking Dawn. You can hear Mr. Condon address this right at the start of this video:
Read the full article here. Let us know what you think! Do you agree or disagree? Leave us a comment!