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Posts Tagged ‘books

How the Twilight books hurt my soul, today in feminism, and some other news.

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Okay, so part of this roundup involves a strange little trip I recently took regarding Stephenie Myer’s Twilight series.

It started, as these things sometimes do, over at Feministing, in a kind-of roundup they like to call the Weekly Feminist Reader. In this post, there was a link to a post by Amanda Marcotte, in which she is understandably dissing Leonard Sax, a full-grown man inexplicably trying to use teen romance/pop fiction as a means to defend conservative male-female gender stereotypes.

From there, I read the comments (always a potential growth-experience, really), where I found a link to recaps of the Twilight series by [info]cleolinda (with whom I am a little bit in love).

And after reading the recaps through the last book, I have this to say about the Twilight series: What the hell?

So this book reaches heights of Mary Sue-ness that…well, I don’t really have anything to compare it to, it’s that bad. Bella, who is beautiful and scarred and whom everyone loves (and who is, well, not even that likable) meets Edward, broody, scarred, rich, stalkerish (and also not even that likable).

They fall in love (after customary teen drama and Edward treating Bella badly, you know, a lot). More teen drama,  blah blah, teen drama, abstinence before marriage nonsense, blah blah, love triangle, blah blah, cliche wedding, blah blah, the most disgusting woe-filled pregnancy ever, blah blah, excrutiatingly disgusting labor, blah blah, rapidly-aging cliched child, blah blah, battle, blah blah, Happily Ever After.

Several of the more troubling aspects of the books: first and foremost, the vague but still extremely disturbing acceptance of pedophilia (there are at least two examples of grown “werewolves” who fall in love with toddlers because they are destined to be soul mates). The fact that the heroin spends of her time not being the heroine (i.e., must be saved by Edward). And that despite an incredible painful and debilitating pregnancy (and an even more gruesome birth), the author manages to gloss over the difficulties and challenges of real teen motherhood (Bella is not yet 20, and uneducated). I could go on and on. And on.

In short: the series is terrible. It reinforces gender stereotypes (women don’t need to go to college once they’ve found a man, childbearing and motherhood is the sole purpose of a woman, women can be strong, but they shouldn’t really take care of themselves, etc), makes use of some really bad cliche dialogue, and is just all around ridiculous (Edward speaks fluent Portuguese? Really?).

Bad. VERY BAD.

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In the feminist world:

A really fascinating look at muslim women in comic books by Jehanzeb Dar: Female, Muslim, and Mutant: A Critique of Muslim Women in Comic Books, Part 1.

And although I don’t always agree with Jessica Hoffman (her discussions of race and racism in feminism sometimes smack of “See how enlightened I am! I can’t possible be racist!” and the squirrelly idea that a problem isn’t a problem until a white person blogs about it), she does do well in detailing how related issues in feminism might actually be *main* issues in feminism: Toward a Liberationist Feminism (Or, I Hope: Pro-Capitalist Feminism is an Oxymoron).

I discovered (through Salon.com) a blog by an anonymous woman soon to have an abortion: What to Expect When You’re Aborting. Now, this may need a trigger warning for those who are sensitive about this topic, but I think this is a needed, open, extremely honest (and yes, sometimes heart-wrenching) perspective about a topic that isn’t well understood. I highly recommended reading it, simply for real insight that hasn’t been pre-constructed to fit one belief or another.

In other news:

In a surprising turn, I bring an article by Liza Mundy that – despite being from Slate – manages to be sexist, racist, and mildly insulting in less than two pages. It’s supposed to be a piece on how Michelle Obama’s speech tonight at Democratic Convention will humanize her husband. Instead, Mundy says how Michelle’s comments often “deflate” her husband (instead of portraying him as a normal man rather than Super!Candidate Man), reinforces the idea that we should only define the potential first lady by the man she married, and CONTINUOUSLY mentions the long-held and very racist stereotype that it’s unusual for a black man to be “eloquent” – without using any means to refute it. I give Mundy an F for effort and execution.

In case you missed it: Obama picked Joe Biden as his running mate. (Yeah, that guy. The one who said that Obama was “the first mainstream African-American who is articulate and bright and clean and a nice-looking guy.”) So here’s a discussion on whether this decision will help or hurt the campaign.

On the ongoing HPV vaccine debate: Why mothers don’t give their daughters the HPV vaccine.

Via AlterNet, an article discussing the economic situation in Iraq, and how it is affecting unemployment (experts estimate that almost half of adults in Iraq are unemployed).

For an update in the How To Be a Hypocrite Tutorial: Bill O’Reilly attacks the author of an Op-Ed piece in the Nation talking about the connection between right-wing hate speech and violence.

Lastly, via WireTap: How the presidential candidates plan to change the face of volunteering in America.(Disclosure: I found this article to be particularly interesting because I was an AmeriCorps volunteer myself.)

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Written by sfaile

August 25, 2008 at 1:47 pm