What Do Women Want: Part 3

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!

What Do Women Want: Part 2

A few days ago we posted about the Huffington Post’s article about the desires of women as reflected in pop culture and how Twilight plays into it. If you missed it, I beg you to go and read it!  Part two is now posted and it is equally as engaging.  Erika Christakis is saying what many of us have been saying for years, only she does it with near perfect wording.

About Edward being controlling:

The most humorless and tone-deaf criticism of Twilight is the claim that Bella and Edward’s relationship echoes patterns of real-life human domestic abuse. Edward is too controlling, Bella too submissive, so it goes. He carries her around a lot — it just works faster that way. And sometimes he also scales the walls of her house to watch her sleep. I can attest with utter certainty that I’m not ‘down’ for a man rappelling into a bedroom window to gaze wondrously at my daughter while she sleeps. But the thing is, vampires don’t sleep. So Edward is fascinated not only with Bella but with the notion of human sleep. Get it?

Personally, I think even a 12-year-old can grasp that it’s okay to enjoy an elaborate kidnapping-cum-sleepover as fantasy even if you would be appalled to find the UPS driver or neighborhood perv sitting in your room in the middle of the night. Edward is just trying to protect Bella from bad vampires who want to kill her! And, anyway, he later apologizes for being a control freak — unnecessarily, in my view. He was only being gallant, and there are a lot of dragons to slay out there.

On the idea that Bella gives up more of herself than Edward:

Critics also complain that Bella gives up too much to be with Edward. Her story arc — protracted virginity, rough sex followed by demon pregnancy, and so on — suggests the tired cliché that women, not men, suffer for their sexuality. But on the level of pure fantasy, this doesn’t quite ring true for a number of reasons. For starters, Edward has to give up a lot to be with Bella, too.

He subsists on an unappetizing “vegetarian” diet of animal blood in order to maintain his tenuous perch on the human ladder. Over time, he manages to tamp down the voracious thirst for Bella’s blood that he likens to heroin addiction — but only after he has lost his love and believed her dead for a time. It’s the unbearable pain of being without her that makes him able to manage his animal instincts.

Well, who wouldn’t want to believe that love could be so ennobling? That a person would make a sacrifice — giving up the possibility of, oh, multiple sexual partners, let’s say — in service of a greater love? It’s an appealing fantasy, and I’d like to say it’s a fantasy shared equally by men and women. But nothing in our culture suggests that is true. All things being equal, women still appear to value sexual fidelity more than men.

On the honeymoon sex scene:

This all sounds rather grim, but the love story is entirely believable, and nowhere is this more apparent than during the infamous vampire-human wedding night. Hackles were raised over the broken headboard and bruised flesh, but an even more subversive element may be the expression of joy we see in the young couple as they make love for the first time. Can you recall when you saw genuinely romantic laughter during a movie sex scene?

Bella awakens bruised (but unhurt), not because she’s been beaten, but because the kinks in what she calls the “tricky” business of interspecies sex haven’t quite been worked out. “I think we did amazing,” an obviously sated Bella reassures her sheepish husband after he’s laid waste to the bedroom in lieu of injuring his wife. In the more effective and tenderhearted film version, we see the headboard splinter as he braces himself mid-PG-13-thrust. We catch a glimpse not only of his impressive, CGI-enhanced, musculature but also of his embarrassed and hesitant face. It’s an expression familiar to millions of over-eager young men who are enjoying sex for the first time.

In lesser hands, this scene would have been played for comedy or horror. But the skilled director, Bill Condon, plays it real instead, showing Bella’s calm reaction shot as she reassures her new husband that everything is going to be just fine. The largely female audience smiles knowingly. By playing it straight, with wit but not irony, we can fully embrace the fantasy, rather than viewing it from a snarky distance.

Honestly, I just want to cut and paste the whole thing into this post, it’s just that good!  You can read the whole thing here.  I, for one, totally agree with her and can not wait for what else she has in store for part three.  Leave us your thoughts in the comments.  Do you think she’s got it right?  Does this change any of your opinions?

The Huffinton Post: A Twilight Seduction: What Men Can Learn From Edward

Robert_Kristen_kissThis is a great article on just what it is that is attractive about BOTH movie and book Edward and Jacob.

“The lesson for men of Edward is not how to seduce a woman, but how to get her to want to seduce you (homework to follow). While Jacob tempts Bella with a love that’s “as easy as breathing,”  Edward takes her breath away because she loves him more than air, and every kiss and touch leaves her gasping for more. He’s constantly adoring her with contact; taking her face in his hands, brushing his fingers across her cheek, securing a protective arm around her waist, sliding his lips along her jaw.

Instead of exploring their anatomy, they explore the anatomy of a kiss. It’s first base to the umpteenth power, with true love multiplying their every liplock exponentially. The effect on Bella is beyond arousal. Her heart hammers, her skin flushes, her blood, which Edward craves, races in her veins. It’s no wonder romance novels are often referred to as “pornography for women.” Neither one is realistic.

The most sensuous scene in the book, omitted from the film, comes when Edward, returning in the night, awakens Bella, and demonstrates to her the benefits of his newly acquired big bed. Their reunion is comfortably sexy; a couple completely at home in each other, their conversation and every caress infused with a deep affection. You can almost hear the soft words and rhythmic breathing in the dark. But in a gender role reversal it is Edward who will stop Bella before they get “carried away.” “Must I always be the responsible one?” he’ll sigh. (Do vampires take cold showers?) It’s every junior high school girl’s dream: the beautiful, adoring boy who’ll take them anywhere except too far.”

See more on the Huffinton Post

Twilight Poster Spoofs

These actually cracked up Eclipse director David Slade and he tweeted about them. It’s well worth looking at all of them but numbers 20 and 21 are the Twilight themed ones.

Also on the spoof scene today is Cinematical. Eric Snider has come out with his version of Eclipse. Think of it as Eclipse in 5 minutes.