May 01, 2008

Stephenie Meyer

A TIME magazine bio about Mormon fantasy writer Stephenie Meyer, author of the fabulously successful Twilight vampire series. My favorite quote in the article: "I rarely write about just humans," Meyer says. "You can get humans anywhere."

I would put it this way: "I don't want to write about reality. I already live there."

Here's some commentary by William Morris about the novels from a Mormon perspective, with a bunch of additional links. More here, wondering if the male protagonists in Twilight are just too good to be true.

Similar thoughts back at A Motley Vision, with Anneke Majors recommending D.H. Lawrence and arguing that

I would much rather my teenage sisters read novels that would elevate their worldviews and deepen their respect and appreciation for human intimacy than see them swooning over the abusive, controlling vampire character of Edward Cullen.

So what makes this guy so compelling?

He's dangerous (a vampire!) but not really (he's good!). He is hot but doesn't care. He's rich but doesn't care and doesn't have to work for it. He is powerful but is helpless before Bella's charms after only a glimpse of her. He is attentive and loyal and thinks only of her.

And all a man asks of a woman is that she be "hot." Pretty dang easy in comparison to that, it seems to me.

Okay, I joke, I joke. But I do glean from the comments a fascination with a certain kind of stoic male sexuality, conforming to all the romance stereotypes: "Edward is expected to have all the self-control. Bella is not just passive, she is actively tempting and provoking him."

This was a theme in the first half of Buffy, and it ended badly. Buffy pretty much repeated herself with Spike, and the relationship was just as dysfunctional. Give Joss Whedon extra points for keeping it real.

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# posted by Anonymous Anonymous
5/08/2008 10:36 AM   
Excellent Joss Whedon reference, Eugene. I completely agree.
# posted by Blogger Kate Woodbury
5/30/2008 11:17 AM   
Okay, I know this is an old post, but chanson's thread ran out of steam!

I've been thinking: I wonder if the whole Edward/Belle thing is the fantasy of relinquished responsibility.

The truth is, sexual revolution or not, women are still the gatekeepers when it comes to intercourse. The guy has so much less to lose (and again, sexual revolution or not, the guy cares less about the temporary nature of the arrangement). Biology does partially determine one's fate, and going after a guy's bank account just isn't the same as carrying a kid to term.

The fantasy of relinquishment is the temporary, albeit problematic, relinquishment of that responsibility. It's not HER problem; it's HIS problem. She doesn't have to be the gatekeeper; he does.

The irony being that Belle will STILL be the one to pay the price if Edward turns evil. And I will admit that women like me wish he would, but then I was also rooting for Billy Zane on Titanic.
# posted by Anonymous Anonymous
6/07/2008 10:59 PM   
Actually, we took up this subject at the Visitors' Center.

It's my position that the Edward/Bella thing has more overtones of dom-sub than anything else, and a kind of anti-coming-of-age story for a girl who may not really want to come of age.
# posted by Anonymous Anonymous
6/07/2008 11:08 PM   
My bad. I meant to say that it picked up a little steam again. :D
# posted by Blogger Eugene
6/08/2008 8:29 AM   
Dom/sub fetish erotica is at the heart of yaoi, a Japanese romance genre aimed at the same demographic as romance (not gay men, as I explain here). I think Kate's commentary here cuts close to the bone in regards to teen girl readers.