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Twilight vs. Buffy

December 4, 2008

Whedonesque linked to an article from the Guardian which is very much in line with my own thoughts on the Twilight series of books.  I recommend reading the entire article, but here are a few choice quotes from Lucy Mangan:

"If only Meyer had taken Buffy as her template. If only she had used that groundbreaking series as her foundation and built on it. If only there was a Whedonesque intelligence and modern, feminist sensibility informing Twilight and its successors. If only. What you have instead in Meyer’s work is a depressingly retrograde, deeply anti-feminist, borderline misogynistic novel that drains its heroine of life and vitality as surely as if a vampire had sunk his teeth into her and leaves her a bloodless cipher while the story happens around her. Edward tells her she is ‘so interesting … fascinating’, but the reader looks in vain for his evidence.

Mangan ends with a particularly biting conclusion:

"Edward is no hero. Bella is no Buffy. And Twilight’s underlying message – that self-sacrifice makes you a worthy girlfriend, that men mustn’t be excited beyond a certain point, that men with problems must be forgiven everything, that female passivity is a state to be encouraged – are no good to anyone. It should be staked through its black, black heart."

Mangan makes some valid points that I whole-heartedly agree with.  That said, I think people should be free to enjoy whatever books they like, and a book doesn’t have to have a good message in order to be enjoyable.  At the same time, it is always best to be aware of the messages in the text.  For me, Twilight had a very negative message, AND was not enjoyable. I did really enjoy the movie though, but probably not in the way intended by the creators–was it supposed to be a comedy?  Snarkiness aside, the character of Bella was also much improved in the film, with a bit more of a backbone.  Food for thought …

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