A (slightly edited) conversation I recently participated in:
- I have now spoken in person to three adult LDS women who have seen this movie in the past 36 hours. They just gush about it, you can’t get them to shut up, and they all plan to see it again within the week. What am I missing? Also, all three commented at length and favorably about the amazing bod of some guy in the film. Turns out he’s 17. Adults in their 30s lusting after underage teenage flesh, how creepy is that?
- I’m not sure I’d call it “creepy” per se (said bodies are of mature young men, not little boys) and I wouldn’t want to start an anti-Twilight puritanical witchhunt, but I’m sort of stunned by the double standard. I teased [my wife] at dinner tonight about it, suggesting she was in love with Edward because she sure as hell doesn’t like the film for its dramatic brilliance, and that my enjoyment of Transformers had NOTHING to do with Megan Fox’s hot bod. (Not entirely true.) Bottom line: cut the Twimoms some slack, but don’t beat-up men for also enjoying the (non-pornographic) female form. Is there room in Mormonism for a healthy appreciation for sensual images, or is it all verboten? If so, let’s note that men are not the only guilty party. I think Mormon men have taken too much of a battering recently.
- I’m all for healthy, lusty sexuality. You’ll not find a puritanical bone in my body — honestly– and I’ll just leave it at that. What bothers me is the double standard. Also, and this is a huge personal pet-peeve of mine, is that Twilight furthers the (I believe harmful) notions of female sexuality that so many of the Disney-fied princesses do — laying in wait for a Prince to come and awaken you and claim your sexuality for his own. Nonsense. I think this pervasive notion of half-baked sexuality is the root of a lot of problems. The princess lies, like Sleeping Beauty, waiting for some outside source to sweep her off her feet, thereby absolving her of knowing and owning her own sex, and letting him show her the ropes. Twilight carries this even farther, IMHO, because of his chaste restraint. It’s ALL lusty eyes and unconsummated toothless (sorry) insipidity. It bothers me terribly that so many grown, supposedly sexually mature women are blown away by this crap. It bespeaks an undeveloped sexual maturity in the group of women en mass, if not individually.
- I honestly don’t know any adults IRL who have made much of a big deal about the books or movies, but I am wondering if the Mormon female participation in the Twi-mom movement is because the “group-think” allows them to become part of a public conversation about sexuality and acknowledge that they are sexual beings?
- The disgusting thing is the idea that women here are supposed to fantasize about being totally sexually inert/powerless — at the mercy of superior male domination. The double standard here is not about ogling a shirtless almost 18-year-old — that’s a relative non-issue — it’s the idea that women are so infantalized that middle-aged women are dreaming of being like sexually powerless (inferior) children in relation to the 17-year-old boy. This is further illustrated by the contempt shown for the female character in this “romance.” No one likes Bella. Why would you? This chastity/rape fantasy is apparently driving some women crazy, but while they are fantasizing about the woman’s role in the story, they are simultaneously finding it contemptible, in an unfortunate example of self-hatred.
- I’m not sure that I would characterize the fantasy as only being one about women being powerless. I think that there is also a strong element of the thrill that Bella experiences at being so desirable that she can control people like Edward. It’s a kind of power, even if it comes from sex. The two fantasies are definitely intermixed,
- I was out to lunch today with a friend and then we went to New Moon. It was pretty much what I expected. Not that great, but tremendously fun, including the audience participation — laughing at all the wrong places because it was absurd and earnest all at the same time. And the kid is seriously hot — like textbook hot — as is Megan Fox. I don’t have rape fantasies, I don’t want to sleep with a 17 year old, I like Anna Karenina, and realize the Twilight books are craptastic page turners. The movies are about as enjoyable as the popcorn. All in all a good Saturday afternoon.
- My anecdotal experience is that the “problem” you speak of is really overstated. Almost all of the women I know in our ward who are with [my wife] at the movies like it in virtually the same way described above: They cheer in a silly fashion, and they know they are cheering in a silly fashion, and just think it’s fun. There are a few who are certainly true believers, but they are definitely in the minority.