So I watched Twilight last night…

Introduction/disclaimer: I haven’t read the books and had no desire to, so I thought I’d check out the movie once came out on DVD, just to see what the big fuss is about. I threw it in my Netflix queue, couldn’t have had lower expectations. Here’s my first reaction: UPDATE: here’s a video “summary” of Twilight for those who haven’t seen it. Heh.

First off, I can definitely, definitely understand Natalie’s reaction in calling it porn for women. The women-porn force is strong in Twilight. Except for the -ahem- very rare moments when I got a little sucked in by it, I was just laughing and marveling at the absurd levels to which the blatancy of its women-porniness rose.

There’s really nothing else to do during the movie, apart from reacting in one way or the other to the pornitude, because that’s all there is–no plot, no character-building (not even of the leads), only scattered talking, and no action except one vampire fight scene at the very end that was, oh, maybe 2 minutes. Just a couple hours of Mr. Perfect (super-rich/super-debonair/super-hot/extra good yet bad boy/100-year-in-the-making maturity yet exactly her age/lusty yet self-controlled vampire) opening doors for her (at least 3 car doors that I counted, and a bunch of building doors), taking off her jacket for her, dropping in to rescue her, and gazing longingly at her. Mostly the gazing longingly (it gets tiresome).

Given that there is essentially no explanation of why Bella is attracted to Edward and vice-versa (it seems to simply be a mutual flattery that the other is so worshipfully obsessed), and neither one reveals any personality which could be the basis of actual attraction, the movie relies heavily on class markers to signal the desirability of Edward and the Cullen family. Each Cullen kid has their own Mercedes or other high-end car, they dress to the nines for school, they live in a modern-style mansion filled with expensive-looking art, etc. On the other hand, Bella’s family and the other people in her life, most of all her dad, are depicted as very undesirably low-class. I don’t know what exactly about it rubs me so much the wrong way–there’s certainly nothing new about the Cinderella archetype–but never has the effect seemed so disturbingly classist to me. Ok, but as soon as I start saying the word “class” I’m taking this movie more seriously than it deserves. Moving on.

The supporting cast was good and in the introductory scenes the side characters showed some promise of being interesting, only to completely (and I mean completely) disappear from the movie as soon as the Edward-Bella thing gets going. That was disappointing.

Pluses: the kiss scene. I have to hand it to them, that was HOT.

Minuses: annoying departures from traditional vampire lore; the baseball scene was unspeakably stupid; the diamond skin was a stupid idea and the CG implementation was horrible; movie overall was tiresome unless you can manage to enjoy mentally cataloging all aspects in which it was women-porn

Summary: Yikes. I feel really, really sorry for any man whose significant other is obsessed with Edward. I was confident in my status as uninterested in the Twilight phenomenon, smugly bemused when not ignoring it entirely, and I rented the movie knowing I would be impervious to its charms. It put up a much better fight than I was expecting. This is industrial-strength stuff. Use with caution. (may I suggest beeswax)

Bookmark So I watched Twilight last night…

Comments

  1. [whining] But I don’t understannnnnnd! If they have no personality, how can they be attractive? How can it be HOT? Even soap opera characters have personality.

    Don’t make me read this book!

  2. FWIW, the baseball scene was my favorite part of the movie. Vampires + baseball…who’d have thought?

  3. Cynthia, I think you would appreciate my daughter’s review of the movie – from the viewpoint of a teenage fan of the book:

    http://walkingonsunshine72.blogspot.com/2008/11/rotten-apples.html

    Her summary:

    “Well, it pretty much kinda sorta sucked on ice!”

  4. I’ve said it before and I’ll said it again. Twilight has a great mythology going for it, and could have had some great conflicts, excellent characters and so on, but then the wish-fulfillment fantasy fog fell over the story so thickly that you can’t see anything anymore.
    The class issue is actually something I hadn’t thought too closely about though. It isn’t at all different from other fairy tales, so I wonder if it just seems more blatant and tasteless because it is in modern day terms.

  5. I stand by my opinion that it’s one of the five worst movies I ever paid to see.

    http://www.kulturblog.com/2009/04/salvaging-kulturblogs-street-cred/

  6. Haven’t watched the movie, but I do love me some womaporn so I YouTubed “Twilight kissing scene.”

    Um, he actually says, “I like watching you sleep. It’s kind of fascinating to me.” Apparently he does this a lot without her knowing.

    Hot…
    … or CREEPY?!

  7. My biggest complaint was keeping the movie in-line with the books’ first person POV. There aren’t many movies, very few in fact, that can be 100% first-person. And Bella’s character isn’t strong enough to carry all but the two scenes she was in.

  8. Ronan, now YouTube “Twilight Baseball Scene.” You’ll thank me later.

  9. In the books the was some character development and some explanation of why Bella was attracted to Edward (I can’t recall really understanding why he was attracted to her). Anyway, it was still woman porn which is why I never could finish the series. After this review I’m much happier that I never even considered seeing the movie since the movie apparently left out what little character development was in the book.

  10. Ray–That is a great review, and I appreciated hearing more about how it connected with the book, which I haven’t read. What a lucky dad! Your daughter is so cute and innocent. (It was all the scenes that are most overtly sexual that she didn’t get.)

    Oh, Ronan. It’s all about the build-up to that scene! The intolerable sexual tension leading up to it. You can’t just jump in at that scene.

  11. Hot…
    … or CREEPY?!

    Seriously. It’s not breaking and trespassing and being a stalker. Nope. Not at all. See, he’s hot. Therefore it’s totally okay and, like, way flattering. ‘Cause he loves her that much.
    </sarcasm>
    Yeah, I’m gonna go with creepy on that one. Just in case anyone is wondering, stalking is not a compliment.

  12. Ah, Twilight. It is what it is. If you can laugh at it, it can be really fun. I’ve seen the movie twice, and really enjoyed it both times, first because I was with my MIL who vacationed at Forks before it was cool, and only knew about Twilight when her beloved, secluded spot became overrun with (mostly Mormon) Twilight pilgrims. She kept yelling, “THAT’S NOT FORKS!” while we watched it.

    Second, I watched it with my husband, who was horrified and fascinated all at the same time. It gets sillier the second time you watch it, so you just have to strap in and enjoy it. Trying to make it more than it is will leave you highly disappointed. Plus, REALLY low expectations helps, too.

    Seeing it with a bunch of girlfriends would be fun, too. Kinda like watching Mamma Mia with my scream-happy sister.

  13. I watched it with my daughter, and out of respect for her, restrained my laughter. There was one point I couldn’t hold it in: when Edward was starting to mutilate the bad vampire’s body and Mr. I-Have-No-Pigment-But-Nobody-Notices says, “Edward!! REMEMBER WHO YOU ARE!!”
    Now I’ll never be able to cross-stitch those words. Sigh.

  14. SteveP says:

    I came to the movie with exceptions so low, that I actually liked it. I had tried to read the book about three times but couldn’t so I watched the movie to see what the fuss was about. With exceptions that low how could it miss, and I actually liked it. However, to like it I had to set aside all my love of the Buffy series; this was an offense to the whole Vampire-Human love affair. I had to ignore all standard vampire lore, which I took as a lack of doing the proper vampire homework rather than as creative departure. I had to ignore that the close-ups at one point were done in a deciduous tree, while the distance shots where done in a pine (a biological offense); that they drove from Oregon to Arizona in about 20 minutes; and, hardest of all, that she was so mean to her Dad unnecessarily (as a father of a daughter I took this as particularly cold).

    What I did like was the tension between lust and control captured in the film. I didn’t remember they kissed.

  15. > “Edward!! REMEMBER WHO YOU ARE!!”

    So true, Margaret! That was a huge laugh-out-loud moment.

    SteveP, interesting that you didn’t even remember it. I was expecting a lot more kissing. I’d heard that they could never go all the way because he would lose it and kill her or something, but I thought that meant there would be endless NCMOs (or would that be CMOs?). But there are only I think two brief kisses in the whole movie. That’s what makes it woman porn, I tell you!

  16. Alpha Echo says:

    I haven’t seen the movie but was anyone else just bored by the book? I didn’t like the book, I didn’t hate it, my reaction was “meh.” And a desire to slap Bella.

  17. If Bella sorta likes being bitten, she’d probably really enjoy getting slapped.

  18. Naismith says:

    With two teenaged girls, I felt I had to read the book and watch the movie. I had also netflixed it, so I didn’t actually pay money for it, and I fast-forwarded through the violent scene at the end.

    I agree that Bella was a crappy role model and quite stupid, and I never got what she saw in Edward.

    But I thought parts of the film were brilliant. It was a great example of world-building, with its own rules. I loved the Cullen house, and the cooking scene. I loved that when he closed her car door he whizzed around. I loved the flying up the hillside. I loved the baseball scene.

    And while it was stooopid how they became entranced with one another at first whiff, I can’t really judge them for that. Because 30-some years ago, I walked into a classroom late and some grad student was writing on the blackboard. The late-afternoon sun was filtering through the window, shining on him, and it took my breath away, I though he was gorgeous. When he turned around, he dropped his chalk. Found out later that he dropped the chalk because he had seen a beautiful young women suddenly appear like magic in the afternoon sunlight.

  19. Kevin Barney says:

    My experience watching the movie was the same as SteveP’s. The virtue of Lowered Expectations.

  20. NoCoolName_Tom says:

    Wow, I watched it last night, too; totally enjoyed it…

    Of course, that was probably because the MST3K guys just released the Rifftrax of it. Totally endurable! :-)

  21. Ronan: Um, he actually says, “I like watching you sleep. It’s kind of fascinating to me.” Apparently he does this a lot without her knowing.

    Well based on what I can discern from the story Edward probably finds even the aroma of Bella’s nocturnal flatulence intoxicating.

  22. I’m a meh on the book. Haven’t gotten around to seeing the movie. I struggle to wrap my mind around why they like each other or why vampires sparkle or…then I just get too bored to struggle

  23. I want to read your love story now, Naismith!

  24. MaryAA says:

    Seeing Twilight on opening night with a theater full of teen girls was awesome. Their shrieks and clapping and overall good mood was infectious and even though parts of the movie were ridiculous (like Jaspar’s really bad make-up, well maybe Jaspar all together) it made for a ridiculously good time.

    And I am uncomfortable calling this porn. Seriously, what about this movie is any different than any other romantic drama with a hot actor? We don’t call those movies she-porn. Edward/Robert Pattionson is a teenage heart throb not unlike Rick Springfield, Donny Osmond, the New Kids on the Block, and currently Zac Efron and the Jonas Brothers. No big deal.

  25. Also RE: “I like watching you sleep. It’s kind of fascinating to me.” – A girl once said to me that the difference between a Romeo and a stalker is whether the girl thinks he’s hot. It seemed like a pretty insightful comment at the time.

  26. esodhiambo says:

    I also have not read the books or seen the movie. I enjoyed this take on the twilight phenomenon, though:

    http://lucylou.livejournal.com/566295.html

  27. what is woman porn? you mean just flaky yearning for the Fabio guy or is there something more to it?
    that baseball scene is horrible. seemed like a commercial for some kind of pep drink.

  28. Aaron Brown says:

    I’m with SteveP and Kevin Barney. Totally.

    AB

  29. I said enough on the previous thread about calling this porn. I don’t get it and never will. This movie was so non-porn it boggles my mind that anyone could see it and reach that conclusion – unless they went into it feeling that way about the book.

    I also had incredibly low expectations, so it was better than I expected – despite my daughter’s review.

  30. Ray, I use the term very tongue in cheek. Which maybe I shouldn’t since it is a serious issue. But I think it’s fun that you have a guy who wants to endlessly cuddle and say nice things but never actually do the deed, plays piano, super strong, opens doors, all those other things I listed (super-rich/super-debonair/super-hot/extra good yet bad boy/100-year-in-the-making maturity yet exactly her age/lusty yet self-controlled vampire). If the stereotypical dream woman in porn is one who has no need for talking and flowers etc, but will just do the deed, here we have the inverse. I think it’s a funny turnabout. That’s all.

  31. Plus that kiss was really hot.

  32. Ray, I think you’re missing what she-porn is. There’s even a book about it- with photos of men vacuuming, doing the dishes, washing the tub, hanging laundry… *ooooooh!*

    Yeah. That’s girl porn. And the broad generalization in calling Twi-books porn is that they have no teeth- they are not explicitly sexual. Women swoon over Edward et all, when all he does is open doors, oogle Bella, watch her sleep, and contain his passion. It’s safe, almost neutered love.

  33. I agree with Ray.

  34. jjohnsen says:

    Male Porn = Giving men unreasonable expectation about what women look like without clothes and how they feel about sex.

    Female Porn = Giving women unreasonable expectations about how perfect their men should be when it comes to looks, climbing trees, smelling blood, being romantic.

    Of course I’m being facetious, but when you think about the ways pornography for men can be harmful to a marriage, couldn’t you find female porn in Twilight that could do similar damage?

  35. I’ve seen that book, Tracy – and it is hilarious.

  36. #34 – not in the movie

  37. #34- I don’t know about the movie, but yeah, in the book I think you could make a case for outrageously unrealistic expectations of pent up desire, restraint and skewed “chivalry”.

    But then, I don’t find the idea of some guy watching me sleep and living to see me breathe romantic. I’m with Ronan on this- it’s Creepy.

  38. My wife thought the hottest guy in the movie was actually Bella’s dad.

  39. If it is just about unreasonable looks and attitudes about sex, ALL Hollywood and TV is “porn.”
    The description of the movie reminds me of “Somewhere in Time.” It isn’t porn.
    To me, it sounds like the Twilight characters have more of a real relationship than Snow White and her prince, Cinderella and her prince, Sleeping Beauty and her prince, and Beauty and the Beast.

  40. madhousewife,

    Don’t make me read this book!

    You don’t have to. Nobody has to. I’m doing it for you.

  41. jks, yes, exactly! Those are all fantastic examples of girl porn. (ignore the word “porn”- it’s so loaded)

    I mean, take Snow White: Naive. Lovely. Innocent. Pure, and sweet enough to take care of 7 grubby little men- men who are ugly and neuter, requiring nothing of her. She is tricked by another (older, wiser, sexual -the outfit, the sophistication, the womanly figure-) woman- with an APPLE no less (!). Then she falls blissfully into a sleep until the conflict is resolved, the little sexless men watch over her, guarding her purity, and finally Prince Charming comes to rescue her, break the spell and wake her with loves first kiss.

    Here is a tale girls are raised on. Their bodies and sexuality are not their own, under their own control, to do with as they chose. Nope. First they are non-sexual, completely naive, then, they are chosen by a “Prince” and he “Awakens” their romantic dreams (and sexuality), sweeping her literally off her feet.

    She has made no choices in her life. She has been carried on the whim and vigor of others.

    Hence, we have women who cannot say what they want, and eagerly await the Prince to come awaken them. They then never become fully adult, responsible for their own wants and desires (and sexuality). It’s all up to someone else. The Prince. And he doesn’t even need a name- he’s just fulfilling her identity.

    And thus ends my hack-job post-midnight mash-up of the problem with romance novels/fairy tales. A romance novel is just a fairy tale for a big girl.

  42. MikeInWeHo says:

    re: 29
    I’ve heard the term “emotional porn” used to described Twilight and TV shows like The Bachelor. I think that’s what the commentors here mean, Ray. It’s an interesting expression, and worthy of a separate discussion: What is emotional porn? Is it really harmful?

  43. Anonymous says:

    Step 1: Create everywoman character that’s easy to relate with

    Step 2: Sketch out archtypical hero, someone who’s
    - emotionally caring/supportive (offers love);
    - attracted/attractive (offers hotness);
    - financially supportive, while providing a benefit of good social standing (offers the power of money and social position).

    Step #3. To drown out the sniggering from the high brows’ sniggering, run a thumb over the edge of the thick stack of C-notes you got from cashing your royalty check.

  44. Anonymous says:

    I forgot to add “and offers physical protection” to general attracted/attractiveness.

  45. It’s not porn, it’s erotica.

  46. Extremely low expectations left me pleasantly surprised by the movie Twilight. As a high school teen flick, I thought it was okay. Less promiscuous, nasty, snarky, and crude than most relationship movies for tweens and teens. No, there wasn’t much character development there, but that’s standard for the genre. At least it wasn’t filled with drug references, fart jokes, and sluttishness.

  47. Naismith says:

    “Of course I’m being facetious, but when you think about the ways pornography for men can be harmful to a marriage, couldn’t you find female porn in Twilight that could do similar damage?”

    There is actually a body of social science literature on romance novels to substantiate that assertion.

    “She has made no choices in her life. She has been carried on the whim and vigor of others.”

    This is why I loved Goose Girl by Shannon Hale, another book I felt I had to read because my daughter loves it. The heroine starts that way, and definitely learns to maker her own choices and build her own life. My daughter likes it much better than Twilight, and I am glad.

  48. jks, after writing this (as noted at the top it’s intentionally a rough “first reation”) I thought about exactly that–the compare/contrast with the old Disney princess movies. I think Twilight compares favorably there. As Enchanted hilariously sends up, princesses are notorious for falling instantly in love and deciding within minutes to marry. Bella manages to act with a bit more thought and intention than that. And, as Naismith pointed out, we’ve all been there with this teen romance with no basis other than loving being in love. Twilight captures that feeling perfectly.

    Tracy, great thoughts!

  49. Cynthia, here’s my reaction, which is why this movie makes me giggle, but I like giggling!

    I think the Cullens are the mormonest mormons in mormonville. They are a “forever family” bound together by high moral standards. Bella wants to convert having been “scarred by her own broken home.” The mormon family is blessed by effortless wealth (see puritan influences on mormon theology) and yet manages to remain kind and service oriented (see king benjamin) Edward doesn’t know if she’s ready to convert yet, if she really understands the commitment, so as a good mormon boy–mature like a returned missionary–he spurns her sexual advances of him. Spoiler alert******* Just wait until the eternal marriage and sacrificing all for motherhood in book 4…..End spoiler***********

    I liked the baseball scene–I thought it was cute and clever.

    I think Edward is kind of emotionally abusive in the books, so it’s going to be interesting to see how the future movies deal with that. That was the dark, unacceptable part of it for me.

  50. Karen, I think you nailed it. In light of your analysis the things that bugged me the most–the classist attitudes and the baseball scene–finally make sense. The baseball scene is signaling their perfect Mormon/Cleaver family status, and the way that Bella’s family seemed morally judged (which I connected with class, which really rubbed me the wrong way) really is a moral judgment on their non-Mormon status. Verrrrrry interesting.

  51. Cynthia and Karen,

    What about the rogue vampires? Where do they fit into your Mormon menagerie? They have super-Mormon powers yet reject the Word of Wisdom (on human blood, that is).

  52. Steve Evans says:

    Jack-Vampires.

  53. red herrings. You can’t have a whole vampire book without some blood sucking. But in the book, they were even less important than the movie. This is all about edward/bella, and bella’s desire to join edward’s perfect family. Since it is about vampires, they had to throw some in.

  54. Dan (51),

    Am I to infer from your question that you have seen Twilight?
    Ugh. You think you know a man…

  55. #51 — They are bloggers who purport to be active, believing LDS but who are actually trying to destroy people’s testimonies with their insidious not-GOP-supporting views.

    Either that or anti-Mormon evangelicals who sink Romney’s candidacy when they’re not killing loner fishermen and oil rig workers.

  56. An 18 year old loan me the dvd. She loved the movie. I liked the movie enough to get the dvd myself. What I am pondering however is why some people love the movie so much, while others are more cynical.

    Does it have anything to do with finding true love, being in love or being hurt by love?-

    I think some people might not like the movie because they need to see more substance especially where love and character is concern-realist,dreamer/fantasy. For example the question as to why Bella is attracted to Edward?

    Attraction is complex-People are attracted to money, class, power, physical attractiveness (good looks), even a persons car or clothes, expectations of a fairytale of being in love, even sex, mystery and intrigue. I think these are superficial attraction. From my observation Bella might have been attracted to theses things-that’s just my opinion.

    For those who did not like this movie the superficial attraction, superficial meaning these are not core character pluses like, intelligence,kindness, manners, talent etc…. The absence or failure to see these quality may cause one to not see value in the movie.

    We can take away many things from this movie with our opinions being shaped by experience and how we see the world. We are all right.

  57. watching the film was a really bad idea if you havent read the book

    the book is quite good and very insightful but the film was as you said poor at exploring characters. you dont get to know the leads properly so you have no desire for them to survive

    read the book .. it may change your attitude.

  58. Scott B says:

    >Does it have anything to do with finding true love, being in love or being hurt by love?

    I think the reason is of a higher level than you’re looking–some people have good taste; others like tweeny vampire pornsmut.

  59. Speaking of HOT — I hear Meyers is planning on adding a new book to the series that shows the couple a little later in their relationship… Here is a sneak peak I found at YouTube.

  60. #59– LOLZ. That makes a nice response to #56.

  61. Y’all are going to have to brace yourselves for what will inevitably happen here as Twilight fans, average I.Q. age 13, discover this thread through the search engines. You think you saw a bumper crop of CAPS and exclamation points!!!! on the immigration threads? That ain’t nothing. Brace yourselves for cutesy typing (OMG!!! eDwArD 4eVeR!-!-!) and tweenscreem. We’ve seen it before at MMW, only I can’t find the link right now. All hecque is about to break loose right here at BCC.

    And that’s just from Ray.

  62. The books had some good ideas but were written really poorly. You thought Bella was boring in the movie? Try reading the book—man, she whines and whines and whines about how horrible she is and how can he possibly be interested in her? And you end up agreeing.

    The movie is almost as bad as A Walk to Remember, which makes it one of my favorite movies of all time.

    I’m not down with calling it porn.

    ** SPOILER***

    Also, part of the attraction for Edward is that she’s the one person whose mind he can’t read.

  63. For the last 6 months the Twilight series has been a taboo in my house. My wife never forgave me for writing this review on our blog.
    http://kmwoolf.blogspot.com/2008/10/review-of-twilight-let-me-tell-you.html

  64. Twilight is truly awful. I don’t get the appeal. I mean I can dig why a teenage girl would like it, what I don’t understand is why so many adult women are into it. I’m trying my best not to be judgmental towards those that like Twilight… but it’s taking a lot out of me :)

  65. The Mormon Mommy Wars thread is:

    http://www.mormonmommywars.com/?p=987

    Ardis channels her inner tween at one point (or two), so it’s worth reading even if only for that.

  66. I should have mentioned that the hilarity ensues about comment #40.

  67. Ray, I write for MMW and somehow that whole thread escaped my notice. I honestly just spit water out my nose laughing, reading through the comments. I don’t even know what to say.

    Ardis, I adored you already, but that was just fantastic.

  68. Matt W. says:

    Geoff #59- For the last year, in YM, my Priests having broken out into this song every time I use the word business. ow I know I am supposed to smack them for being raunchy when they do. Thanks for the heads up.

  69. duttybwoy says:

    @ What is good taste?. Who determine what is good taste?

    I think a “higher level” of taste is you refer to is shaped class and maturity.

    It would not be honest to say that age, sex, love experience would influence how each person interpret the movie. Surely an older person who has probably had a few bad relationships and harden by the realities of life might be more cynical. Even a very bad high school experience.

    What I am getting at is that how we see this movie is not as simple as saying “some people have good taste; others like tweeny vampire pornsmut”

    What is pornsmut? I am guessing this is any movie with any sexual motives, story, scene. I am trying to think of one single movie about love/romance that does not have so call “pornsmut”. In my opinion I don’t think Twilight “pornsmut” because the interaction between Bella and Edward is mainly verbal expression of love in an emotional sense not a sexual sense. There is absolutely no nudity. There is one sexual scene where Bella had a dream/fantasy with Edward for less that 20 seconds. The rating of the movie also refute that label.

  70. My wife went to see the movie with a bunch of her friends. She told me about it when she got back. I told her that it sounded exactly the opposite about it “not being about sex.” It was all about sex. The whole story is about two people tormented that they can’t “go all the way.” It’s sexual repression to its full extent. Sex does not come across as something lovely that happens between two happily married people as they unite their lives. It’s a dangerous force that can destroy you – yet you want it sooooo bad. And the author takes you right to the edge of the abyss – so close that you almost fall into its clutches – only to whisk you back away at the last bated, chest-heaving moment. That’s all about sex.

    My wife never really got why woman liked the series so much. A lot of her friends do. And it turns out, if my observations are correct, the sexually repressed women really like this series. The ones that already have a loving, and sexually non-repressive, relationship with their husbands, don’t really think it’s so great.

    So yeah I agree that this is porn for women. It distorts sex, which is exactly what pornography does. It glorifies sex, and tempts you with it, but then tries to say you should stay away from it. It makes sex the slave rather than the master in a relationship. It turns sex into an abominable, dangerous force. I’ll bet Stephanie Meyers has some major sexual repression problems. And all bet this is why Deseret Book pulled the books from the shelves. Good for them

  71. “The ones that already have a loving, and sexually non-repressive, relationship with their husbands, don’t really think it’s so great.”

    Nice stereotype. Too bad it’s wrong.

  72. I apologize, Bob. That was harsher than I want it to be. It just bothers me when complexities are ignored and people are stereotyped so harshly with such minimal information available. It’s so easy to dismiss things and people, and in this case the conclusion simply disturbs me.

    Again, I’m sorry my first comment was worded as it was.

  73. duttybwoy says:

    Bob you made some very good point. I want to address a few of them. Base on what you said I seem you have not seen the movie.

    I t can be argued that Bella and Edward relationship is bases on sexual repression. The movie can be interpreted in many different ways. I want to look at the sexual repression argument.

    First what is sexual repression? According to Wiki : Sexual repression is a state in which a person is prevented from expressing their sexuality. Sexual repression is often associated with feelings of guilt or shame being associated with sexual impulses.[1] What constitutes sexual repression is subjective and can vary greatly between cultures and moral systems.

    Let us look at this in detail. The first part of the definition states that a person is prevented from expressing their sexuality. Both Bella and Edward are heterosexual. There is no indication in the movie to suggest otherwise. What might have been repressive is the emotional conflict that existed between vampire and human. In the movie Edward was particular concern about the impact a human might have on himself and family being that thy thirst human blood.

    It is totally possible for there to be symbolic ways of creating a sexual repressive mood with the Human/Vampire conflict. This is open to interpretation based on our own biases, experience etc.

    Was there any guilt or shame associated with any sexual impulses? Bella was willing to “go all the way”. It is possible to argue that Edward was a little bit ashamed or may have felt guilt that he was a vampire, but was this sexual. My interpretation was that it was more associated with social acceptance of who he really is. Again there are numerous examples in the movie that can be used a points of reference for this argument.

    I think the best part of the definition of “sexual repression” is sexual repression is subjective and can vary greatly between cultures and moral systems” This part of the definition completely obliterate all other interpretation, literally. This means then that we can not attach any generalities to define something as sexual repression.

    As I said before our interpretation is loaded, meaning our own life experience and other information gathered through culture etc is biased.

    My question is how do you know that all/most sexually repressive women like this movie?

  74. re: 70
    You might want to actually see the movie yourself before you offer up such a robust interpretation, Bob.

  75. Twilight has given me a lot of food for thought about my relationship with the Savior. Yesterday I was driving to the mall with my daughter, listening to a local radio station, and a song came on that seemed to be a love song, but I suspect it was actually written by a Christian rock band (you get that occasionally in Iowa; I don’t know about the rest of the country). It was saying things like (loose paraphrase): “You are so incredible”; “I can’t believe you would notice me”; “You have become everything to me”; “There could never be anything like this”; “There is nobody even remotely like you.” It seemed apparent to me that the female singer was singing about her newly discovered love affair with God, but that the message crossed over enough to the way we sometimes feel when infatuated with human lovers, that it was picked up also by a mainstream radio station.

    Since I recently finished Twilight and the characters and relationships are on my mind a lot, I couldn’t help noticing the parallel with Bella and Edward. She can hardly believe that a being so beautiful and talented as he would stoop to noticing her. She is obsessed with him, can’t stop thinking about him, and can’t imagine living without him. She immediately flutters at the thought of him, at the sight of him, and at the touch of him.

    There are a lot of Meyer fans who seem to delight in the idea of ever having a relationship like that–with an Adonis-like person who is so far out there in beauty and ability that it is like dating someone from another world.

    It occurred to me while listening to the song that we each have the opportunity for something exactly like that. Jesus is so far beyond what Edward is that there is no comparison, and yet He offers an intimate, personal relationship with each of us. He actually wants to communicate with us individually, notices our every thought and word, and wants to be with us all the time. How unbelievable is that!?

    It seems to me that if any of us actually caught the full realization of this, we would be so bowled over by it, that it would make Bella’s response to Edward seem tame by comparison. Not only would we not be able to stop thinking about Him, but all of our actions, thoughts, and wants would be driven by the desire to stay as close to Him as possible, so that He would never leave us. There would be a prayer in our hearts at all times, an ever-open two-way line of communication, always sharing whatever was on our minds, rather than hiding from Him and ignoring Him the way we usually tend to.

    Needless to say, these thoughts come as a surprise to me, and the implications have brought me some joy already today–a prayer in my heart doesn’t seem like such a hard thing to do, especially when I’m thinking about how wonderful and amazing He is, rather than how lowly, uninteresting, and silly I am. It’s a love affair that never has to end, and the eventual outcome promises to be much better than getting bitten and becoming a vampire–but He certainly does want to make me just like Him, without any nasty side effects and no regrets!

    Last night as a family, in our evening Book of Mormon study, we were reading 3 Nephi 28, when Jesus gives each of his disciples 1 wish. It was neat to discuss with my children what they would wish for if they could have just one wish (so “more wishes,” the idea of my 9-year old daughter, wouldn’t work; besides, I told her, you don’t get cheeky with Jesus). Shauri, my wife, has recently been telling them the story of Twilight, so it was fun also to discuss the amazing gift that the Three Nephites got, in terms of what Edward’s characteristics are. They can never die. They can’t be hurt by anything (including fire). They cannot be held in even the deepest pits (they smote the earth with the word of God, and were delivered from the pits). All animals are friendly toward them. They can converse with angels at will. They can ask the Father to be able to show themselves to and talk with anyone. They apparently were able to cross oceans (Mormon said they would also minister among the Jews, and the Jews would know it not–that’s on the other side of the world). They can feel no pain, except sorrow for the sins of the world. All of this, and it isn’t even as good as we’re all going to get when we’re resurrected; Mormon states that the change that happened to them is inferior to the one that will occur at Judgement Day, when they will be fully celestialized.

    My kids loved the discussion, and wanted to talk about length about what resurrected people can do–fly, move at the speed of thought, stand in the middle of the sun–their imaginations were running pretty wild with it.

    So as long as we’re comparing Jesus to Edward (I know, poor comparison), isn’t it incredible what he offers us? The Three Nephites are a cool example, a concrete example, of what is in store for all who develop a close relationship with Him. “Come unto me,” is His constant open invitation. And that’s no fantasy.

  76. Scott B says:

    >Twilight has given me a lot of food for thought about my relationship with the Savior.

    You lost me (and most everyone else) there.

  77. Welcome Back, Kotter has given me a lot of food for thought about my relationship with the Savior.

  78. Scott B says:

    69: Pornsmut

  79. MikeInWeHo says:

    re: 77
    You are the best, gst.
    Personally, I find Xanadu to be the best analogue.

  80. Oops, make that “gospel analogue.”

  81. I believe Xanadu to be the word of God.

  82. MaryAA says:

    Oh, this reminds me that I have Xanadu on my Netflix Instant queue. Is it too early to introduce my four year old to the gospel of disco skating and ELO?

  83. MikeInWeHo says:

    It’s never to early to introduce children to Xanadu.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Xanadu_(movie)

    Here’s the best interpretation: Olivia Newton-John is a flawed Christ-figure. She comes to earth at the beginning of the film and transforms Sonny’s life. In the finale scene above, she ascends to her parents in Celestial glory (note the white dress).

    Sorry for the threadjack. I just couldn’t think about Twilight any more.

  84. duttybwoy says:

    Sometimes-the best way to reach this generation is through the things they can relate to and understand. That why is so important for religion which in most case is built on tradition to evolve with the time without erode its core values.

  85. Aubrey says:

    I haven’t read the porn for women theory, but it sounds about right. I’ll have to go read that entry.

    I liked the books…well was sucked in and couldn’t put them down because they were so over the top emotional.
    Tapped into the angst ridden 13 year old girl of my past.

    The movie made me laugh. Really laugh hard. It was so ridiculous. ANd dumb. And over done. Too bad, too. Because I like the actors in other things.

    Did anyone else think Jasper looked like a constipated Edward Scissorshands?

  86. > Did anyone else think Jasper looked like a constipated Edward Scissorshands?

    LOL!! Totally.

  87. Interesting theory — porn for men is watching people actually have sex with each other, in graphic detail. Porn for women is not only not watching people not have sex with each other but watching a girl fall for a perfect guy in a G-rated sexually abstinent relationship. What do you think explains the difference in what constitutes porn for the different genders?

  88. should be “not only not watching people have sex with each other “

  89. John F,

    I think the theory is that porn for men is watching/reading things that sexually arouse men, and porn for women is watching/reading things that sexually arouse women. Some contend that Twilight falls in the latter category. (I agree with people who say that calling it “porn” is hyperbole and probably only serves to dilute the meaning of the word but I think there is something to the claims that it could be called erotica)

  90. John F, two things. First, I’m not sure I’d call it a “theory.” My use of the term is more lighthearted than that. Second, to the extent that we can discuss it as a theory, it’s important to note that their relationship is not lacking in sexuality. Sexuality is the beginning, middle and end of the relationship. Beginning: Edward is sent into such a blood-sucking-desire frenzy by her smell being blown by a fan across the room on their first meeting that he has to run out of Biology class and not return for several days lest he attack her. (in case it isn’t obvious to you, blood-sucking = sex) So their relationship is sexual before they even meet or exchange a word. And so it continues. I could go on, but really, John, if you want to understand it, I think you’ll just have to rent the movie and read the books! :-)

  91. re # 89, are women getting sexually aroused by reading Twilight or are they just interested in the love story (i.e. without sexual arousal). I am sympathetic to comments above to the effect that if Twilight is porn for women, so are all love stories. I think the touchstone for porn for women must be something else than a love story such as that described here, but I haven’t read it so I can’t judge. On a superficial level, this doesn’t seem to equate to what I previously understood to be porn for women — romance novels with graphic textual depictions/descriptions of sexual intercourse.

  92. re # 90, Cynthia, what differentiates a fairy tale love story from porn for women?

  93. John F: re # 89, are women getting sexually aroused by reading Twilight or are they just interested in the love story

    Based on what I have seen written at the blogs (and the rumors I have heard locally) the Twilight books and movies do indeed rev the proverbial engines of lots of women. (Thus some husbands don’t mind their wives seeing the movie over and over because of the “wholesome family recreation” that follows the viewing.) And as Cynthia pointed out, this is no simple love story — the beginning, middle, and end of the relationship between the heroine and hero is about raw sexual attraction.

    but I haven’t read it so I can’t judge

    Neither have I. But I did see the movie. Have you seen it yet? If not then what are you basing your objections on?

  94. I haven’t seen the movie yet but I just can’t imagine that it’s pornography.

  95. I’m not Cynthia, but can I tackle john f.’s question anyway?

    If we have to use the word “porn,” then porn-for-women is a story with scenes and descriptions that arouse a physical reaction in women through words in the same way that visual images tend to do for men. Women put themselves into the story and feel in the body what the words on the page suggest to the brain.

    But I don’t think “porn” is the word we’re looking for to describe the negative evaluation so many are giving to Twilight — there seems to be no physical reaction in at least the early books, or at least no physical reaction strong enough to merit the label “porn.”

    Much as most women I know apparently enjoy sex, it isn’t the physical reaction that really means the most — it’s the powerful emotional connection represented by a woman’s giving herself. And it’s that emotional forgery in Twilight that objectors are trying to describe, not a physical forgery. As unrealistic as it may be, women want a fathomless emotional connection to a mate. “He knows me.” “He knows what I want or what’s wrong without my having to say anything.” “He understands me.” “He loves me unconditionally, above any other love he has ever known.” “I never have to tell him what I want for Valentine’s Day — he knows me so well that he always picks the perfect present.” “He will do anything to make me happy.” “He just knows.” (Guys, haven’t you ever run into trouble because your wife is unhappy that you don’t understand something without her having to explain it to you?)

    That’s Edward. And just as a woman puts herself into the story where porn-for-women is involved, we put ourselves into the story when this emotional bond is successfully described. When you put the book down and come back to the mundane world, you’re vaguely dissatisfied, because the reality can’t possibly match what you have “known” in the book. Your mind and emotions have a hard time distinguishing between having known something in reality and having known something in fiction — you believe, deeply, if not consciously, that you have known something that is now lost.

    It’s one thing when Prince Charming leaves his socks lying around. It’s another thing when Prince Charming has never really known you or loved you or cherished you in the artificial way you just know you deserve.

    I don’t know what the right word for that is. “Porn” isn’t it, but it something equally powerful and as potentially dangerous.

  96. I think the reaction Geoff J mentions in #93 isn’t because Twilight has aroused a physical reaction in wives; it’s more likely that they’re turned on emotionally by having been the object of such devotion as Edward’s, and they want to prolong that reaction by the emotional ties reinforced in women by sex.

  97. Ardis, you said this:

    “When you put the book down and come back to the mundane world, you’re vaguely dissatisfied, because the reality can’t possibly match what you have “known” in the book.”

    Boy, that sounds like the description of p0rn for men, and its attendant dangers.

  98. Yeah, but porn triggers a bodily reaction, and this-whatever-it-is-with-Twilight triggers an emotional reaction. Same dangers, but still different. (Different because women’s bodily reactions can also be triggered by fiction of a different type.)

  99. Good explanation, Ardis. Still, I’m skeptical about the evils of Twilight.

  100. Ardis: I think the reaction Geoff J mentions in #93 isn’t because Twilight has aroused a physical reaction in wives; it’s more likely that they’re turned on emotionally

    Well, whatever we want to call it (emotional reaction vs physical reaction) the reportedly not-too-rare net effect of viewing/reading Twilight is some super-horny women.

    As I said, porn isn’t quite the right word but we should have some word for the horniness-inducing aspects of the movie/book.

  101. >>“When you put the book down and come back to the mundane world, you’re vaguely dissatisfied, because the reality can’t possibly match what you have “known” in the book.”

    >Boy, that sounds like the description of p0rn for men, and its attendant dangers.

    Kind of like when I read Harry Potter the first time, too.

  102. Kind of like when I read Harry Potter the first time, too.

    Hehe. Clearly you wrote this before you read my #100…

  103. 102: We can only HOPE so, Geoff!

  104. Anonymous says:

    This may (but then, may not) be the time to bring in the Online Etymology Dictionary?

    - Gk. erotikos, from eros (gen. erotos) “sexual love”

    - Gk. pornographos “(one) writing of prostitutes,” from porne “prostitute,” originally “bought, purchased” (with an original notion, probably of “female slave sold for prostitution”[...]) + graphein “to write.” Originally used of classical art and writing; application to modern examples began 1880s. Main modern meaning “salacious writing or pictures” represents a slight shift from the etymology, though classical depictions of prostitution usually had this quality.

  105. Clearly.

  106. John F, I like a lot of what Ardis had to say though I wonder if she overstates the case (I don’t know–I haven’t met any Twimoms who are pathological about it, and I haven’t read the books maybe they are more thoroughly entrancing than the movie?). I think Geoff J summarizes very well the main points (esp vis-a-vis the point that this isn’t a “love” story it’s a physical desire story, or at least, leans towards that end of the scale as compared to other classic fairy tales).

    That being said, in response to your #99, I want to make one thing very clear: I think that calling Twilight “evil” or “dangerous” is the wrong approach inasmuch as it leads to silly actions such as not selling it at Deseret Book. IMHO, there is no reason it can’t be sold at Deseret Book, apart from more mundane objections such as (a) not Shakespeare quality literature, (b) not explicitly LDS-themed.

    It’s a story about powerful lustful desires. So what? Personally, I don’t have a problem with that. They keep it bottled up, I guess you could construe that as a positive.

  107. Starfoxy says:

    I would say that Twilight is porn for women in the same way that the Victoria’s Secret catalog is porn for men.
    It is obviously sexual, and it can serve to arouse, but it isn’t ‘hardcore’ by any means.

  108. Well said, Starfoxy. Though you undermine my point about Deseret Book–I can’t imagine them carrying the VS catalog! :-)

  109. Ardis,

    First, why do you think something must cause physical arousal to be considered porn? As long as I am not physically aroused it means I am not looking at porn? Really?

    Second, it seems a bit convenient to make this distinction given that physical arousal is, ahem, easier to spot in men than in women. I saw a study once where they hooked up both men and women to various monitors to measure arousal and showed them pornographic images. After, they asked them if the images were arousing. Men said they were aroused, women said they weren’t, but the measurements said they were both aroused fairly equally. I suspect this emotional vs. physical arousal distinction is not as meaningful as you suggest.

  110. Fair enough. By calling it porn though, you are calling it evil, at least if your concern is Deseret Book stocking it.

  111. First, why do you think something must cause physical arousal to be considered porn? As long as I am not physically aroused it means I am not looking at porn? Really?

    That isn’t what I think, and if I said that I was extraordinarily sloppy.

    I was trying to make the point that women may have two reactions to two different types of fiction, and that in this discussion both reactions have been lumped together under the term “porn.”

    The reaction to one type of fiction (graphic verbal discriptions of sexual acts) can trigger a physical reaction, which is similar to a man’s reaction to visual images. The reaction to another type of fiction (unrealistic emotional bonding) can trigger an emotional reaction, which, so far as I know, doesn’t really have a parallel in men’s minds.

    I say nothing at all about anyone’s (man’s or woman’s) NON-reaction (physical or emotional) to fiction or visual images.

  112. Steve Evans says:

    John, if your problem is nomenclature, fine – don’t call it porn. But the book does, at least with some women, tend to generate unrealistic fantasy expectations linked to sexuality. Even if it is not specifically pornographic or sexually explicit, Twilight has at least potentially a negative effect that people ought to consider. I don’t think that Cynthia’s intent here is all that mysterious, there’s just no point getting hung up on the word ‘porn’ in this context as no-one has seriously advanced that as a real-world descriptor.

  113. Martin says:

    In addition to what Ardis said, I think women get a thrill out of the idea that there is this powerful creature/person they can control because because of its devotion to them.

    My daughters have what I consider to be an irrational love of horses. Horses are big, powerful animals whom they can control with grooming, treats, and verbal commands. They don’t always obey, and there’s an element of danger in riding them, but for the most part, the girls are in control and tame the horses’ wilder natures. As girls age, I think this extends to men as well: they like them big, powerful, slightly dangerous, but ultimately under their control. [edited]

    Twilight has huge element of that, and I think that’s part of what arousing the womenfolk.h

  114. As to your second point, take my attempt at explanation or leave it, as you wish. It seems to be generally the men in this discussion who have been asking what “porn for women” means, and I have tried to explain the dual reaction of women that men don’t often seem to understand.

    If you don’t understand, then I haven’t been clear. If you do understand and reject the idea as invalid, that’s fine with me. I do think it holds, though.

  115. I’m going to wish I had never gotten involved in this discussion if crass and inappropriate remarks like that contained in #113 are posted. This is a difficult topic to address publicly and in mixed company; it shouldn’t be made more difficult by the introduction an element like that.

    Excuse me. I’m through.

  116. kevinf says:

    Ardis said “The reaction to another type of fiction (unrealistic emotional bonding) can trigger an emotional reaction, which, so far as I know, doesn’t really have a parallel in men’s minds.”

    I hear this all the time, but I don’t get it, so I can only assume that it is true.

  117. Martin says:

    Ardis, I’m truly sorry it came across so crass. I don’t disagree with any thing you said. I do think my point is valid. I was not meant to drag the discussion into the gutter.

  118. The problem Martin is that not only was your comment crass but it is also sexist. You imply that only women and girls are interested in “controlling powerful things”. Men and boys are also very interested in controlling powerful things (including horses, powerful cars, etc).

  119. Martin, no worries. I went ahead and took out what I assume was the offending part of your comment.

    We seem in general to be drifting off course. I’m going to close it up.

  120. Ok comments are back open, please be excellent to each other.

  121. Thank you, Martin. Another case study in the awkwardness of communicating in a forum like this, I suppose.

  122. Scott B says:

    Why do I have the feeling that reopening comments here is more of a punishment than a reward for promised good behavior?

  123. “You need to be kissed…and often…and by someone who knows how!” Woman-porn has definitely gone downhill from Rhett Butler’s time.

    Some of the comments above remind me of the scene in Ed TV where Matthew McConaughey and Jenna Elfman look longingly into each others’ eyes at the bar, while teenage girl voyeurs in the EdTV audience scream “Kiss her! Kiss her!”.

    Luckily, gay man are like their straight counterparts in this erotic trigger thing. Being teased and denied is definitely a woman thing. When men go shopping, they fully intend to buy.

  124. Mr. Golyadkin says:

    To those so critical/mocking of Twilight, I have one question……What did you expect? I guess I would have to agree with Kevin and Ray, in that I think my expectations were so low, regarding a book that is found in the teen section at Barnes and Noble and encourages Dungeons & Dragonesqe costumes and dressing up (or, perhaps the Medievel club at BYU, if that is a better comparison), that I actually found it a little entertaining. Besides, that Edward is so hot right now.

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