Let's Discuss Edward...

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Falls Apart
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Re: Let's Discuss Edward...

Post by Falls Apart » May 11th, 2011, 8:59 pm

Wow, I'm visiting this thread a lot. It's really interesting to see different people's opinions on this, seeing as it is, among writers, a pretty controversial topic :)

I hate it when it's girl-on-guy abuse, too, but that seems a lot less common, at least in my experience. And I don't have a problem with Edward's wanting to protect Bella. I do have a problem with his being possessive, following her, breaking into her house, sabataging her car so she couldn't see her friends, etc. I also have a problem with Jacob physically forcing/emotionally manipulating Bella into giving him (mild) sexual favors, and also falling in love with an infant.

Can people discern whether or not this is unhealthy? I certainly hope so. But I've been in a media class in which a girl's comment on Love the Way You Lie (a song about physically violent, man-on-woman domestic abuse) was that the girl had clearly done something to deserve being hit. I've read (half of, before I got too disgusted to continue) a manga about a girl whose boyfriend is physically, emotionally, and sexually abusive, and seen online gushing about how "hot" he was. I seriously worry that girls are being brainwashed into putting up with guys who are possessive of them.

Do I wish that Meyers had created a stronger female character, or at least written books that pass the Bechdel test? Well, yes. But my worry is about the impact it will have on its readers. Bella doesn't have to be reprehensively domineering, but it would be nice if she stood on her own two feet and didn't need the overprotectiveness. Even after she changed, we didn't get to see her beating up anybody.

And also, as a teenage girl, I can wholeheartedly say that I have never fantasized about a guy/girl watching me sleep, no matter how hot ;)

Sleeping Beauty
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Re: Let's Discuss Edward...

Post by Sleeping Beauty » May 12th, 2011, 6:21 am

Falls Apart wrote: Do I wish that Meyers had created a stronger female character, or at least written books that pass the Bechdel test? Well, yes. But my worry is about the impact it will have on its readers. Bella doesn't have to be reprehensively domineering, but it would be nice if she stood on her own two feet and didn't need the overprotectiveness. Even after she changed, we didn't get to see her beating up anybody.
You win this thread for mentioning the Bechdel test! ^_^ I always try and applied it to films and books these days.

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Cookie
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Re: Let's Discuss Edward...

Post by Cookie » May 12th, 2011, 10:33 am

I think one thing that needs to be considered about Edward is that he is a vampire. Vampires, historically are psychotic. They are predators, so naturally they would stalk their prey (and Bella was in danger for a short while of becoming Edward's dinner). While I dislike the way Stephanie portrayed her vampires, she at least got their mindset right.

So, it makes sense that Edward would be possessive and stalkerish. Though I'm not condoning that type of relationship in any way, nor should a girl look to a fictional creature with psychotic tendencies as an ideal boyfriend.

Also, I was also pissed at Jacob for trying to force Bella to be with him. Dude, get over it, she wants to be with someone else.

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Re: Let's Discuss Edward...

Post by siebendach » May 12th, 2011, 8:53 pm

Cookie wrote:I think one thing that needs to be considered about Edward is that he is a vampire.
Well, of course that's the most important thing about him. Suppose he was written exactly the same, only as a flesh-and-blood boy (or man). Suppose all of his fantasy elements (sparkling and glitter, need to drink blood, temptation to kill, etc.) were precisely the same as well, only that they had some origin other than "vampirism". Suppose for example, the Cullens were a clan of human mystics who simply managed to uncover specific magical secrets to make themselves into the exact same extremely powerful, immortal, charming bunch. Except for that, plot and character developments surrounding Bella and Edward stay the same: the stalking, the obsession, the domineering behavior, everything else mentioned previously by Falls Apart.

Would that have necessitated a different marketing strategy than the one that was employed for Twilight?

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Re: Let's Discuss Edward...

Post by Cookie » May 13th, 2011, 8:22 am

siebendach wrote:
Cookie wrote:I think one thing that needs to be considered about Edward is that he is a vampire.
Well, of course that's the most important thing about him. Suppose he was written exactly the same, only as a flesh-and-blood boy (or man). Suppose all of his fantasy elements (sparkling and glitter, need to drink blood, temptation to kill, etc.) were precisely the same as well, only that they had some origin other than "vampirism". Suppose for example, the Cullens were a clan of human mystics who simply managed to uncover specific magical secrets to make themselves into the exact same extremely powerful, immortal, charming bunch. Except for that, plot and character developments surrounding Bella and Edward stay the same: the stalking, the obsession, the domineering behavior, everything else mentioned previously by Falls Apart.

Would that have necessitated a different marketing strategy than the one that was employed for Twilight?
Well, then he would be a creepy stalker psycho. Well, he still is a creepy stalker psycho, but I guess the point I was trying to make was that is how vampires are. I was not defending his behavior, merely explaining it.

As far as the marketing question, unfortunately, I think it would have stayed the same. Most of the young girls who read and obsessed over Twilight had no interest in vampires until they read the book, and let's face it, most had never even picked up a book before. To them it was more about the supposed romantic danger behind the relationship, than about what Edward actually was. Vampire was just a convenient vessel for that danger. So, if it was about a supernatural, mystic boy (man really) who had to battle his urges to eat the girl that he loves in a brooding and angsty manner (mmm dear, I think you would look simply ravishing with a sprig of rosemary behind you ear and maybe some pepper flakes. They would bring out your eyes quite nicely, don't you agree?--Sorry, I had to), I say that it would probably still be as popular. The difference would be that his behavior couldn't be explained away by what he was. Unless, of course, the author made it clear in her made up world that all supernatural mystic boys with a taste for blood acted that way. Dear, the weight of time, is such a heavy burden on my conscious, forgive me for my erratic and sometimes psychotic behavior.

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Re: Let's Discuss Edward...

Post by siebendach » May 13th, 2011, 2:57 pm

Cookie wrote: I say that it would probably still be as popular. The difference would be that his behavior couldn't be explained away by what he was.
Well, that's pretty much what I was going for. His behavior's so creepy and repulsive that it needs to be explained away.

If a man regularly fantasized about a half-naked blonde with the mind of a naive child, who submitted to his every whim, let him order her around, and catered to his every desire, while he basically treated her dismissively --- he might be cautious about sharing that with everyone. But if a TV producer added a dash of magical fantasy into the real world and called it I Dream of Jeanie, suddenly more people would watch it, even though the central concept was the same.

If a man's a dedicated racist, who considers his the heritage of his foreign-born wife to be an embarrassment, and demands that she purge all visible traces of it from her life; hates her family; expresses disgust that their children share that heritage; drinks to excess; and also expresses disdain for every thought she expresses ---even though she's smarter than him! --- the man might not want to admit to that, because putting it that way makes it plain he's a jerk. But if a TV producer added a dash of magical fantasy into the real world (in this case, replaces "immigrant heritage" with "witchcraft heritage") and called it Bewitched, suddenly more people would accept it without a second thought.

The "vampire" fantasy element's an essential part of why a lot of people accept something they'd normally feel uncomfortable with. At least in America, anyway, but I have no reason to believe other cultures would treat it differently.

Like the earlier poster, I don't really have much of a problem with something like that being marketed to adults --- because they are adults. We expect them to know where fantasy ends and reality begins. Teenage girls on the other hand . . . well, I'm sure some assume that the fantasy ends with the "vampire" elements on the surface of the story, and the rest of the character interaction at the story's heart is substantially closer to "normal". Of course, it's not normal behavior, it's restraining-order behavior.

Of course, there's no way to prevent people under a certain age from reading certain material. And inevitably, many works of fiction are going to end up glorifying bad decisions. Plot requires conflict, and you could say bad decisions are the ultimate source of conflict.

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Re: Let's Discuss Edward...

Post by Cookie » May 13th, 2011, 3:37 pm

siebendach wrote: Like the earlier poster, I don't really have much of a problem with something like that being marketed to adults --- because they are adults. We expect them to know where fantasy ends and reality begins. Teenage girls on the other hand . . . well, I'm sure some assume that the fantasy ends with the "vampire" elements on the surface of the story, and the rest of the character interaction at the story's heart is substantially closer to "normal". Of course, it's not normal behavior, it's restraining-order behavior.
I agree.

Although I would hope that when those teenage girls got older they would be able to see that Edward and Bella's relationship is unhealthy (and even Bella and Jacob's) and make better decisions for themselves, and to realize that the traits and tendencies that they found romantic as a teenager are in fact repulsive.

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