Nov 18

The Twilight Buzz

Category: Pop Culture

Love it or hate it, there’s a good deal of noise surrounding the Twilight series, especially with the upcoming release of New Moon on November 20th. The latest claim is that the Twilight series is the equivalent of female pornography. Although outright ridiculous at first, I can, after some thought, understand why such a claim would be made. Considering the fact that women don’t generally respond to the same stimuli as men, it would make sense that our definition of pornography should morph when crossing the line between sexes. The truth is that pornography for women tends to fall into the category of romance and fantasy fiction. But don’t get your pitchforks yet, folks. First of all, being a fan of the vampire genre, I know firsthand that the fascination with Twilight is just another link in the historic chain of fascination with vampires in general. Women are always going to be drawn to the male vampire love interest because he’s so powerful, but of all vampire novels, the Twilight series is probably the least pornographic. Consider, for a moment, The Sookie Stackhouse Novels by Charlaine Harris. Not only is there casual sex in almost every other chapter, it’s meticulously descriptive as well. The only sexual experience alluded to in Twilight is, most importantly within marriage vows, and secondly, hardly even actually described! Stephenie Meyer is careful to leave the intimate out. The only danger that I see in Twilight is that it’s targeting a very influential and emotionally-charged audience: teenage girls. When you introduce a character like Edward Cullen, you unleash a flood of unrealistic expectations and far-fetched fantasies. Anyone with a Facebook has seen the “I <3 Edward,” or “Where's my Edward,” bumper stickers. But, if you ask me, this problem isn't Twilight exclusive. Women have been swooning over fictional characters for a long time, and will for a long time to come, I'm sure. So is Twilight pornographic? I don't think so. What do you think?

By: Justine Frizén

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3 Comments so far

  1. jrioux November 20th, 2009 11:41 AM

    I am intrigued by this discussion of the Twilight series as “girl porn.” Justine admits that Twilight offers “unrealistic expectations,” and as one of the columnists linked to in the blog points out, that is exactly how it functions like pornography. Just as men looking at traditional pornography creates unrealistic expectations about women, so too does women reading about “impossibly perfect male characters” and “excessive romanticizing” create a false sense of how relationships function.

    The second link points out that, “porn is defined as “something with no literary or artistic value other than to stimulate sexual desire,” according to the Webster’s dictionary definition.” I haven’t read the books, so I can’t say whether they fit this definition or not. I know there are a lot of Twilight defenders out there, so tell us why these books don’t fit that definition. Does it have strong artistic value? Is it intended something other than stimulating sexual desires? Or does it fit this definition, and serves as your guilty pleasure?

  2. Katie Manzullo November 20th, 2009 12:08 PM

    You know what female pornography is? Pornography. A Nielsen/Net rating from 2007 showed that 1 out of 3 viewers of online pornography (in the common understanding of the term) were female. More and more women are directing and producing porn targeted at a female audience. These videos are usually no less graphic but may feature more structured plots, better actors, etc. The videos are flying off the shelves.

    What’s my point? Only that there are implications to the propagation of the belief that women are not visually stimulated, or that they are wired differently than men in their need for emotional vs. sexual fulfillment.

    I’ve read the Twilight books, and if they promote any kind of sex it’s sex within a traditional heterosexual marriage with a dominant male and an often passive female who is often a victim and rarely a hero. Bella’s strengths are all based on traditional gender roles- she is at her strongest only when protecting her child. Otherwise, without male attention she doesn’t consider life to be worth living. Those are some dangerous ideas that I think she be explored.

  3. Taylor Driggers January 21st, 2010 1:00 AM

    I too agree that while Twilight is not female porn, it does promote some dangerous ideas to an impressionable audience. Bella’s only connection to Edward is physical attraction, she has just met him, and yet she’s willing to throw her entire life and all her ambitions away for him. When he leaves her, she spends three months wallowing in a pit of despair in her bedroom. That doesn’t sound like a healthy relationship to me.

    Also, as an English major, I have to comment on how the books are written, i.e., poorly. I’ve seen high-schoolers write better material than what Stephenie Meyer churns out. Most of her writing consists of melodramatic soap-opera dialogue and sentences sprinkled with random important-sounding words that have no place in the sentence.

    On another note, shouldn’t it say something when even the actors in the film adaptation hate it? Rob Pattinson is very vocal about his regret for signing on for the series.