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Twilight Sucks
I'm sure ever since Twilight emerged from the depths of its originator's imagination, there have been articles about the main theme? premise? of Twilight, which is this: a girl is not complete until she has her man; and she will have nothing else in her inner life except her life with her man, who may treat her as he will, because she belongs to him.

Huh. I started to feel like I was talking about a Nun's relationship with her god. But I'm not.

Beauty and the Beast. Sleeping Beauty. Little Red Riding Hood. Cinderella. Just about all of these old, vicious fairy tales are wrapped up into the type of story that Twlight is.

But it's not only Twilight that treats it main female character as a commodity, belonging to the One Man she is Destined for. The supernatural romance books that parade around as Urban Fantasy these days are rife with them. Some of these books are marketed as Paranormal Romance, and others are marketed as Urban Fantasy, but the designation the book sellers use for them have no bearing at all on this.

Take...Christine Feehan's Dark Series, which also features vampires and a woman destined to be the man's One Mate. Almost without exception, the heroines of these books are owned by their males. The woman is also the male's keeper of life (or something similar) which reinforces her isolation. But the woman in these stories never feels abused, isolated or cut off from her life. The trope of Romantic Love dictates that she be happy when her circumstances are explained and *understood* by her to be her lot in life. She's supposed to happy as a slave working the fields...but that's okay, cuz the sex makes up for it all!

Other series also play on this domination trope. More than I care for, truthfully, and it's why I'm careful and picky when I head into these aisles. I suppose when you're a member of an underclass, or considered to be in one, it makes sense to invest in fantasies where someone who resembles you fights to the top of the hierarchy. Some of these writers make an attempt to counter heirarchy in their books-Marion Zimmer Bradley's Darkover books come to mind, the ones that feature the Amazons. Susan Krinard (going way back) also plays with hierarchy within the confines of a werewolf pack. Most of her women are strong, as strong as the men they end up with-and almost always, they are *equals* by the end of the story. A romance like that is one hundred times sexier than one where the woman lies back and takes it and loves it because she doesn't know better.

It's the unconscious application of this trope-Me Man, You My Woman-and the blind acceptance of it, or the *calculated use of it* that infuriates me. Stories aren't just stories, even when, especially when, they're romance and supposedly a lower level of fiction because it's written for girls and women. They're still significant. And I think it's scary how large the market apparently is for this trope.



( 5 comments — Leave a comment )
Nov. 25th, 2008 04:06 am (UTC)
See, I don't have so much a problem with the base of the trope but more in the execution. I think there is something that speaks to a lot of people of having this one true love, of this love so strong it overcomes everything. Somethign destinied. When everything about life is so chaotic and unpredictible, knowing something is fixed and true can bring comfort. There's security there.

(Personally, I like it when the romance between two characters had friction and involved personal choice over destiny. It makes the characters stronger, imo.)

Much of the problem with this trope is in how it's executed. That is where it gets creepy. I think at least with the fairy tales most people know they are products of their times. Children outgrow them and usually crave something a little more. But the nostalgia for it remains.

In the adult books, you can argue it's a fantasy, but it still makes me uneasy. It's even worse, though, if it's creeping into YA books. JMO.

But you do bring a good argument here as to why Twilight might have so many Twimoms or whatever they are calling themselves. If this is a very very popular trope in paranormal romance and urban fantasy, I'm not all that surprised.
Nov. 25th, 2008 05:20 am (UTC)
Much of the problem with this trope is in how it's executed.

Feehan has won many awards for her books from the Romance community. And she has more than one series going, too. I'm not familiar with those; but I figure the Dark ones are typical of her catalog. I could be wrong.

The execution. That's why I pointed out Krinard's books as a contrast. One empowers women through their own strength on their own merits; the other empowers women through entrapment and ignorance. I'd rather have the template of creating my own chances rather than relying on the Guy to do it.
Nov. 25th, 2008 04:01 pm (UTC)
Yeah, execution. I mean, look at Buffy and Angel, in isolation from the rest of the show, for the first few seasons of Buffy. To my eye, they both belonged to each other. There was no ownership, or else it was mutual. That's okay by me. It's when the ownership feels one-sided - and you're not writing about Victorian England when women were literally property and the law explicitly said so in exactly those words - that it annoys me.

BTW, Gategrrl, this could totally be a Hathor post, or at least a link in the next Link Roundup.
Nov. 25th, 2008 06:41 pm (UTC)
Feel free to link-I'd love the traffic. ;-)

I think my posts are a little too emotionally based for Hathor as a rule. I react, then write. And I'm too buzy/lazy to do much research.
Dec. 21st, 2008 07:38 pm (UTC)
"a girl is not complete until she has her man; and she will have nothing else in her inner life except her life with her man"

Thanks for this post, as it's helped me realise what it is about Rose in Doctor Who (after the Doctor regenerates into Tennant) that really gets on my nerves and the nerves of most fans I know: EVERYTHING about her ends up being reduced to "I LURVE YEW DOKTAH!" and that's all her life is based around. Considering she was the first TV companion to have been introduced with a proper home-life and related cast (family, former boyfriend, past etc) that's fucking horrible.

And yet, this gets seen as romantic and "SQUEE!"-worthy by a number of fans (a lot of which seem female) and everyone making the show where I'm seeing creepy obsession.
( 5 comments — Leave a comment )


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