What if Edward is ruining it for mere (male) mortals?

(A guest post from Constant Revision.)

Dear Edward: A Twilight Series Retort

Goddamn you Edward Cullen! Damn the soul you may or may not have to hell! You have no right, as you are the most fictional fiction character there ever was, to set the standards of romance that you have.

Your character’s quite literal intoxicating presence have ruined any chance I may have ever had of being someone’s one and only.

Stories have swept water cooler conversations, marital counseling offices, and blogs like Fmylife.com, promoting the female species to ask themselves why males aren’t more like, the vampire, Edward Cullen. It’s not fair.

We males are cheated by this — there is no way men can fully convince their girlfriends they are vampires without being arrested for giving hickeys frightfully similar to assault.

What is it that makes you so much better than the rest of us, Edward?

Is it your pale white skin? Couldn’t be, albinos would be Hugh Heffner status.

Is it your animal-like blood lust? Nope, that would put cannibals at the top of the most eligible bachelor’s list.

I have a theory, please stop me if I am on the wrong track:

Women are enamored by your dangerously sexual dependence on one female whom you are supernaturally enthralled by.

This theory covers all the strong basis for attraction evident in your stories encapsulated via the claim “You are like my own personal brand of heroine.”

Your words fluttered teenage girls’ hearts across the nation and made their way to internet e-cards and social networking cites.

This sexual dependence is even more effective because it takes you so long to satisfy that urge.

The remission you have before indulging is equivalent to a starved dog obeying a sitting command when a juicy steak lay in front of it. What female doesn’t fantasize about being wanted like that? Not only does it make them feel visually appealing, but also needed.

I hope you know why us mere mortal men are unable to accomplish this feat. The reason we can’t live up to you is because the kind of obsessive behavior you enact would lead to stalking and restraining orders. (You didn’t get served that little slip by a process server only because Bella Swan feels the same way.)

Bella is, in fact, the entire reason that we could never live up to your image. She is just as enamored with you as you are with her. The connection between the two of you is quite literally love at first sight.

To meet the sick standards that you have set, that supernaturally obsessive feeling has to be mutual between two people. The women who tell their boyfriends that they wish they would act more like Edward Cullen should be careful about what they ask for. Because, if men follow suit, women might not be prepared to handle (or even like) that kind of adoration.

Mr. Cullen, because of the commotion you have started in the romantic world, and the trouble you have caused for the dating man, I sincerely ask you to stake yourself, or tear yours limbs asunder and throw them into a fire.

Whatever it takes to get you out of the picture and out of the minds of confused fans, just do it for the sake of those of us who are not fictional and actually have to deal with real life limitations and repercussions.

We can’t be you, we don’t want to be, and, quite frankly, there a number legal boundaries keeping us from that.


Don’t Bite My Girlfriend’s Neck

(Otherwise known as “Defender of the Dater” and “Constant Revision”)

What if we are a fanpire nation, allowing the passage of Prop 8 via our Twilight obsessions?

I have been absent from blog-land for some time now, immersed in teaching, grading, research, parenting, etc. I was spurred to post today due to the appalling decision yesterday regarding Prop 8 that has blighted the sunshine state in which I reside.

Part of what has kept me from blogging is my current research/writing project – a feminist analysis of the Twilight phenomenon in relation to girl culture, abstinence-only education, the hyper-sexualization of females, and our corporate capitalist patriarchal world of Christian, white, male, hetero privilege.

This project was born via the intervention of one of my very favorite feminists – my ten-year-old daughter. She wanted to read the series and find out what all the fuss was about, so we read it together. I expected to be disturbed by it, I expected to hate it, yet I was surprised on both counts.

I was DEEPLY disturbed by it – but not only or mainly for the reasons I expected (more on this later).

And I did hate the series in many ways– but I also became fascinated by it – I could not put the damn books down!  (more on this later, too)

For today, I want to focus on Prop 8 and what it represents – the continuing homophobia and heteronormativity of our culture– and how the mega-profitable Twilight franchise helped to enshrine such hatred into law.

As Dancin With Your Mouth Open posted back in November of 08,

With the huge boxoffice success of “Twilight,” it grossed over $70M domestically, this past weekend, not only is Stephenie Meyer making tons of money so is the Mormon church. Stephenie Meyer, described as the “the Mormon Anne Rice,” does what any good Mormon does which is called tithing. Tithing is a requirement in the Mormon religion and it’s usually 10% of their earnings. So, with all the talk about the Mormon church being a huge supporter of Prop 8, it seems like “Twilight” and Stephanie Meyer are contributors as well.

Meyer has on multiple occasions stated that, in accordance with her Mormon belief, 10% of all  her profits for all things Twilight go to the Mormon church. (See, for example, The Advocate).

While she has not made any public statement regarding Prop 8, her tithing to the church supports institutionalizing discrimination against those who are not heterosexual. By extension, a percentage of the multi-billion dollar Twilight industry went towards the Mormon Church, an institution that played a huge funding role in initially getting Prop 8 on the ballot, and then kept the funding in plentiful supply in order to grow support for the Yes on 8 camp. The success of this campaign, which relied on dollars and dogma, would not have been possible without the big money that came from the Mormon Church and other religious donors.

Can we finally admit that rather than a separation of church and state we have a MARRIAGE between church and state – they are like the perfect couple, supporting each other via campaign contributions on the one hand and tax exempt status on the other.

In terms of the fanpire’s role, their obsession with all things Twilight has further lined the pocketbooks of a Church that is unashamed of its homophobia. Even those of us who are not members of the growing legions of fanpires, those of us who merely read the series and watched the movie and yet can still somehow sleep at night without dreaming of Edward, have contributed to Meyer’s tithing, and, by extention, to the success of Prop 8. To be honest, I didn’t consider this component of purchasing the books until a friend mentioned it to me, and I feel the fool for NOT realizing it. (Then again, it seems even going to see Milk helped those in support of prop 8).

How in a world where homophobia is the norm can one NOT contribute to it? I think not contributing at this time is an impossibility  —  our culture has it set up so we all must contribute, even if only subconsciously.

Yet, I find tithing, from whatever religion (as not only Mormons tithe), particularly abhorrent when used in such ways. Not only is it tax-exempt but it  is used (as in this instance)  to turn prejudice and discrimination into law in the name of religion. How ironic given the frequent complaint from the Mormon Church that they are discriminated against for their religion, that they are the Christain ‘Others’!

Meyer’s silence about the issue of homophobia in her church in general, and Prop 8 in particular, comes across as deafeningly loud –it speaks volumes, showing support for discrimination via economic buttressing of an institution that helped California, the state I live in, to etch inequality into law. So much for the sunshine state – so much for dazzling, sensitive vampires – instead, we have Prop Hate funded in part by Ms. Meyer and her adoring fanpire. Guess it’s ok for a lion to love a lamb, but not for a man to love another man.