Thursday, November 22, 2012

The Twilight Sexism Issue

Oh, cursed be my hesitation. I  waited too long to request my vacation time for some reason, thinking foolishly that it was too early to do so. Now rather than a glorious stretch of 17 days off, I have to work December 27th and 28th, which cuts into our trip to our hometown a bit and breaks up my holiday joy. Nuts. 

I've been thinking lately about something that kinda bugs me. Hating on people's guilty pleasures is a favourite pastime for people. I try not to do it. I mean, sometimes it's hard not to be a little judgemental if all a person seems to like are guilty pleasures, and then you wonder if there's anything that person enjoys that isn't McDonald's for the soul.

But everyone's got some. Really bad movies, for example. Or dramatic reality TV. Or Ke$ha. Trashy novels, or really expensive coffees or tabloid magazines.

I never feel too guilty about my guilty pleasures. I figure since everyone's got some and I'm allowed to have fun, screw it. So I see the Twilight movies in the theatre. 

Are they based on well-written books? Great dialogue? Fascinating characters? No. Not really. Frankly, it's beautiful people, sexual tension, a love triangle and surrounds the idea of a girl being nothing special and yet being wildly desirable and important to sexy and/or rich and/or devoted young men. And then the girl becomes special, gorgeous, rich and is hand-delivered a perfect child and home and eternity with one of the devoted beautiful men and his totally loving family.

I mean, let's be serious. The appeal is pretty obvious. So easy to tap into the old teenage me and swoon.

But the part the gets me is the constant hate on the series. I'm pretty sure it's entirely based on sexism. I mean, Transformers is equally as poor in the character and dialogue category. You go to these movies to see robotic monsters smash things. They got a lame guy to be the lead and he gets to be with a woman so far out of his league it's laughable. Where's the hate for that franchise, one based off a cartoon pretty much designed to sell toys to kids?

Oh, right. There was minimal vitriol despite the hype because it's target demographic is male.

The 2 Fast 2 Furious series, with no character development and no meaningful plot, all surrounding cars and women and being cool. That's it. Literally, that's all there is. People roll their eyes, but no one goes on a boner-inducing hate-on for the movies. Why?

Oh, yes, of course. It's for guys. It's stupid, but men like it, so... 

But here is this guilty pleasure franchise for young women, a largely untapped market in this arena. A feminine fantasy-driven product that delivers a boost to the happy centre of the brain for a couple hours. Well! It's stupid. It's unrealistic. It's harmful to young women!!!111! Vampires don't sparkle, I'm outraged! RAWR! No one should see this EVER! DOWN WITH TWILIGHT SFGJDFGbdfmgndfmgndfGDFG!

Okay, honestly, I'm over it. 

Also worthy of note is no one would give me much flack for watching the dude-geared movies I listed above, but try watching a guy do so with Twilight. My femininity is not impaired because I like the Terminator movies (obviously another ridiculous plot hole-ridden mess of a series) but that is because culturally male stuff equals good and female stuff is less than. So a man who is supposed to be superior and above femaleness is raked over the coals if he enjoys something like Twilight. His guilty pleasures are supposed to be masculine.

I saw one guy get lambasted yesterday for saying he was seeing the Breaking Dawn movie with his wife. Let him enjoy himself. A part of me was chuckling, though. I think he likes riling people up. If they're going to get that upset about his movie-going experience, that's their problem. He was going to have fun. All these people trying to talk him out of what he likes and it was in one ear and out the other.

Well, I say fuck it. Fuck the wall of complaints. No one has to watch or read this story. It doesn't have to affect anyone in any real way. My advice for the devoted haters? Just don't bother with it if it's not for you. Leave your misogyny at the door when you hear people talking about it. Or at least be an insufferable critic about every other bad movie out there, and make sure there's nothing you enjoy that's worthy of criticism, ever. 

Good luck with that one.


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