Twilight of the She-Geeks

 Pages PREV 1 2 3 4 5 6 NEXT
 

It was great, but lol'd at

Bob Chipman is a film critic and independent filmmaker. If you've heard of him before, you have officially been spending way too much time on the internet.

because it's true :P

Doug:

scnj:
Here's a snippet of a conversation I had while working the entertainment desk of Asda last Christmas:

Girl - "Hi, do you have any copies of Twilight on DVD? It's my favourite vampire film."
Me - "Yes we do. It's in the chart section. So, it's your favourite vampire film? How did you feel it compared to 30 Days Of Night or the Blade franchise?"
Girl - "Oh, um, I don't really like vampire films. I just love Twilight."

The thing is, I wouldn't take issue if they used Twilight as a stepping stone into better vampire fiction like the pretty great True Blood and the even better stuff like Near Dark, From Dusk Till Dawn, 30 Days Of Night etc, but many of them don't. They watch/read Twilight and assume it's the best thing out there.

Well, this is true of all of the tween age band, for the whole of history. When you start to feel old enough to that people start thinking of you as an adult, you suddenly start thinking everything you've seen that is the 'best of X' is the best X that there ever has been, because... I dunno, I didn't know why I did it when I was tween either.

I got that for a while once - just after 'Day & Age' (The Killers album) came out, I had conversations basically the same but like this:

Girl - "Hi, you like The Killers? I love them!"
Me - (in spate of happiness - I know barely anyone who likes The Killers) "Awesome! What's your favourite song?"
Girl - "Human!"
Me - (disheartened) "Is Human the only Killers song you've listened to..."
Girl - "Yeah,"
/facepalm.

The "was aimed at guys to start with; that Joss Whedon is a good enough writer that his geek fetish-doll heroines were genuinely relatable to women doesn't change that fact" is inaccurate. I watched a video (I shy away from using the term documentary cuz it was more of a retrospective on the series) on the series a while back and the studio-executive responsible for making Buffy into a series wanted something that would speak to powerful feminine ideals to go with the "girl-power" trend of the '90's.

I'm a huge Buffy fan, so I'm very biased, but I'm offended at the characters on Buffy being debased into fetish-dolls. Without good writing aren't all characters dolls? And is it their power that makes them "fetish-dolls"? So in order to no longer be dolls they would have to lose their powers?

I appreciate the article, and I'm probably reading far too much into a side point, or potentially startng up an arguement that I don't have the time or energy to commit to at this point, but I still wanted to log in my grievance.

I haven't been through all the comments yet, so I apologize if this has been raised already, but I feel like this article shows a basic misunderstanding of what Twilight is and where it comes from. It didn't just magically appear as a huge geek franchise. It was a popular Young Adult series and there are PLENTY of YA series aimed at girls. Including plenty of fantasy and monster stories, and plenty of sexually charged ones at that. It's the first one to make the leap to big movie franchise, maybe, but the idea that it's for lack of a better option just isn't borne out by reality, I think.

Whilst I'm glad that this article has become a light bulb moment for some of The Escapist's readers, let's not forget that the issues that this article discusses are not new or revelatory; they've already been covered by others (Examples: here, and here, and a lot of posts here).

Ah, come on - aren't you forgetting Interview With The Vampire? I also take issue with the relegation of Buffy to mere male sexual fantasy - it was just a solid fiction that happened to be written by a man. Poppy Z Brite was pretty popular in my teens - but then, I think she was just too plain pervy for mainstream audiences.

My "problem" with New Moon was really that the were-boy is rather too young to be so blatantly objectified, and that it's really not good to have as "heroes" characters that have little to redeem them beyond their looks. OK, so Jake's a nice kid, but he's not "all that" other than his over-toned abs. Edward is creepy and awful, and Bella is a spoilt cow who treats her friends appallingly. At least Elizabeth and Mr Darcy were pretty likeable people.

That and the fact that New Moon is unintentionally hilarious and far too po-faced for its own good. Again, even Pride & Prejudice had jokes in it.

As a still aspiring writer, the fact that the Twilight book/movie series is making tons of money makes me so very very angry.

axia777:
Good read. But....

image

LOLOOLOLL :D Id love to see this happening :D . . . . . wait home come Robert Pattinson is standing outside during the day o.O

Anyway after reading this long article i think i shall never make fun of Twilight. It would feel like laughing and girls and their oprresed sexual fantasies....
Pity the only thing they needed turned out to be total puke for the rest of the world :S

I don't think my sister would qualify as a she-geek, though she is obsessed over Twilight.

Interesting read, definitely makes you look at this franchise from another perspective, doesn't change the fact its still craptacular though.

Wow, that was a really entertaining and thought-provoking article. I'd never thought of it that way... Shame Twilight's still awful.

A nice look at it and also brings a good point for all the bandwagon twilight haters. Your not the targeted market for the book or the film, so of course your not going to like it.

The_root_of_all_evil:
I particularly liked this bit

"When you read the book," says (Robert) Pattinson, looking appropriately pallid and interesting even without makeup, "it's like, 'Edward Cullen was so beautiful I creamed myself.' I mean, every line is like that. He's the most ridiculous person who's so amazing at everything. I think a lot of actors tried to play that aspect. I just couldn't do that. And the more I read the script, the more I hated this guy, so that's how I played him, as a manic-depressive who hates himself. Plus, he's a 108-year-old virgin so he's obviously got some issues there."

The actor also complained that fans, including a six year old, asked him to bite them.

Even Edward hates Edward.

I think this just says so much. Seriously.

My primary complaint about the series to my female co-workers (who are almost all fans of it) is that it seems to just play on one-dimensional early-teen girls' fantasies. "Oh my God, they're so beautiful and so tragic, just like I know I am! Eeeee!" And the funny thing? They don't disagree with me. It's fluff, and they know it.

I do suppose I'll concede the point that this might be the "baby steps" of a fully-fledged, female-centric fantasy genre. A little tickle to the estrogen, in the way Duke Nukem's "shoot things and score chicks" theme juiced up the testosterone levels of early-teen boys. I'm all for the growth of this genre, too! Who knows, guys- this could lead to an evolution into better storytelling from a different angle, and maybe spark more books, movies, games, etc. that both genders can enjoy for their own reasons.

And one final note to my fellow men: If you want to attack this series, do what video games have taught us and attack its weak points- terrible writing, unrelatable characters who present unachievable ideals, thin plots. But if you want to scream "GAY!" at the shirtless beefcakes, think about this- it's meant for women, not men. If it still affected you... maybe that says something about you, hm?

Great read, but I still have 1 question...

Why the fuck does the main vampire look like he just got a swirly?

Seriously, does having your hair look that freaking stupid really make you look hot!?

While you have a point saying that games are tailored for men, the guys in most games are usually very fit, at least.

never saw it but I heard its bad maybe a Belmont is gonna end it in the last one

I think the Twilight series is just getting money from fangirls

I do have some issues with Twilight. None of them are related to objectifying anything though. I'm more concerned for the literary qualities, or rather lack thereof. I mean, I read plenty of shallow sci-fi and fantasy books myself but I would say that most of it are actually better written and tells better stories, for a given value of better. I adore Dan Abnett for the Warhammer 40000 books and I greatly enjoy reading them. I would never claim them to be great literature though. They are good, easy reads and the man knows pacing. But great literature they are not. They are fluff about war and soldiers. Nothing more.

So, my gripe with Twillight is the horrible writing, endless angst, bad pacing and insufferable fans. I mean, like the books all you want, but DON'T claim them to be good litterature. They are dross.

As for objectifying males, well let them. Lord knows that there is plenty of objectifying women going around even if I detest it. And I don't read that kind of crap for a good reason. It's boring and toe cringing.

And Bella is a horrible person to read about. She has no content and can't do shit. If I want to read genre fiction with better female leads I'll reread Alistair Reynolds Revelation Space. Ilia Volyova is a supreme bitch and pretty unlikable but she gets shit done and don't spend the time moaning and calling for help. She doesn't require someone else to validate her existence. I like her a lot. And if I recall correctly she is a bald chain smoker. Yay!

It's pretty clear to me that most Twilight hatedom stems from its popularity. I read The Da Vinci Code before it became a smash, and at the time, I remember it being a decent page-turning thriller. The supposedly real historical, religious and artistic information was utter BS and I saw that right away, but it was no different from hundreds of similar books that had been around forever.

Then for some reason it sold 14 million copies and got a whole load of people thinking Dan Brown was some kind of genius speaking truth to power, when all he was doing was taking a bunch of conspiracy theories that have been around for decades or longer and dressing them up in a somewhat entertaining way. Naturally, this pissed off historians, art & architecture scholars, theologians and students of the occult & conspiracy theories for grossly misrepresenting their fields to a mass audience, and pissed off writers and readers of better-written occult/conspiracy thrillers because this hack was more successful than Kate Mosse and Umberto Eco.

Harry Potter was similar--the basic concept wasn't anything new, but for some reason HP was the one that took off. At least in that case, J. K. Rowling is a decent, if not a great, writer. There are still Diana Wynne-Jones and Neil Gaiman fans who decry Rowling for ripping off their favourite writers. (Gaiman remarked: "bespectacled English boy learning magic is the most recycled plot in British children's fiction. I don't begrudge Rowling any of her success.")

Twilight does much the same thing. There have been romance novels forever, teen romance for a few decades, and angsty, sexy vampires since at least Anne Rice. But for some reason, Meyer is the one who got big, even though she's a crap writer. So fans of vampire fiction in general are pissed that Meyer's ill-informed and stupid take on vampires is the one getting attention in the mass media, and that a hack like Meyer is more successful than Anne Rice and Laurel K. Hamilton (who are better writers, but not much better).

Falseprophet:
It's pretty clear to me that most Twilight hatedom stems from its popularity.

Check back across the last 5 pages. We've already worked out that it isn't.

Most of it stems from the fact that Twilight has the emotional sophistication of Emmanuelle, the feminist overtones of The Stepford Wives and the dialogue of Manos: The Hands of Fate.

Then you have the accesories to go with it like the panties with Edwards face on the inside, the Sparkly Dildo and the Twilight Shower Curtain. (No, they're all real)

Then you have the fact that, even amongst people who know it's a joke, "the hero is a lying, stalking, murdering, dead, manipulative shit but he has nice abs, so that's ok".

Then there's the fact that any of the entrants to this year's Escapist Film Festival could do something amazing with the amount of money chucked at Meyers, and not moan that they weren't given the respect they deserve.

Then there's the 8 blank pages in the book, the mentally-scarring re-branding of things to fit with the Twilight fanbase, and the talk of new merchandise. (Seriously, if someone walked into HBO or FOX and said "I have a Twilight TV series ready to go", you know it would kick out every other series it had to make that).

Then there's the fact that New Moon almost gets rid of Alice(one of the better characters) to replace it with Edward(one of the worst).

Then there's the fact that book four was SO bad that even the fans tried to return it, at which point Meyer had a fit and said she wouldn't do book 5 until people apologised, even though book 5 is basically book 1 from across the room.

Finally, yes, the popularity does come into it. But it's not the most by a long shot.

Selling Mormon-Vampire-Porn as Literature beats it by a long way.

the_lollipop_dragon:
The "was aimed at guys to start with; that Joss Whedon is a good enough writer that his geek fetish-doll heroines were genuinely relatable to women doesn't change that fact" is inaccurate. I watched a video (I shy away from using the term documentary cuz it was more of a retrospective on the series) on the series a while back and the studio-executive responsible for making Buffy into a series wanted something that would speak to powerful feminine ideals to go with the "girl-power" trend of the '90's.

I'm a huge Buffy fan, so I'm very biased, but I'm offended at the characters on Buffy being debased into fetish-dolls. Without good writing aren't all characters dolls? And is it their power that makes them "fetish-dolls"? So in order to no longer be dolls they would have to lose their powers?

I appreciate the article, and I'm probably reading far too much into a side point, or potentially startng up an arguement that I don't have the time or energy to commit to at this point, but I still wanted to log in my grievance.

This is a good point, and one I came in here to comment on myself. The WB was hitting its young female-centric niche, and Buffy was intended to appeal to the girls and young women. See also the other shows on the network in those same couple of years, things like Dawson's Creek. The same young, female audience is also the target of its successor network, The CW. Except they target today's teen girl with shows like Gossip Girl.

swenson:
That's the point of them being in there. So I can understand why a lot (read: all) women love the werewolves

As a woman, I can say that they aren't hot. They're conventionally "hot" by society's standards, but not to me.

I am a fan of a good vampire story. But Twilight holds no appeal to me. My teen cousin and some of my friends (20s) have read the books and rushed to see the movies, but from excerpts, the story seems very shallow and has some utterly ridiculous internal rules and conventions. I prefer stories with a fully fleshed-out protagonist, and the Bella character seems to be just a shell; a vehicle for readers to project themselves into in order to immerse themselves into the fantasy.

Which is why it works for so many people. Others just go along for laughs. I can enjoy terrible writing if it's fun and engaging (someone upthread mentioned The Da Vinci Code), but there are other books that appeal to me a lot more and promise more depth.

I'm not sure if we want to classify Twilight readers as geek though. I know it's just semantics, but these books and films seem more like romance than something genuinely geeky.

More people need to read this, it is informative.

The dildo went too far.

I hate it more or less for being WAY TOO GODDAMNED Angsty! I mean really, makes me want to kill myself for watching it. Also, the books are horrible in both structure and use of detail, in my opinion.

AkJay:
Twilight is Star Wars for girls.

but, my gf loves star wars :'(

(Gaiman remarked: "bespectacled English boy learning magic is the most recycled plot in British children's fiction. I don't begrudge Rowling any of her success.")

Remarking further on this: Magical Boarding School is practically a subgenre in its' own right. And for a delightfully adult take on this, I would suggest The Magicians by Lev Grossman.

Re: Anita Blake and Laurell K. Hamilton's associated works: No, do not hold them up as examples of something a lot better. As a long time fan of Urban Fantasy(Charles DeLint was my first introduction to "Grown up Fantasy") I have always found that Laurell K. Hamilton was a not so good writer, with an obvious Mary-Sue protagonist, and there's a reason people don't like her much anymore. You could try Sookie Stackhouse(Which at least has the decency to have a sense of humor).

Actually, here's my real issue with Twilight and other "Paranormal Romance". Urban Fantasy is my favorite little subgenre of everything ever. I grew up on it (it and Terry Pratchett). My problem is, that as the genre has evolved, while it has certainly attracted new talent, the thing that has attracted me to the genre is fading away and being pushed to the background. Not many people talk about DeLint and his circle anymore, at least Jim Butcher's going strong, but I fear the direction the series is taking. Of course, if he pulls it off he'll be amazing. The problem is, now I have to dig through SO MUCH FUCKING DROSS to find good works in the genre and it is starting to irritate me. It's gotten to the point where I can almost recognize a bad book in the genre by the blurb on the back.

Watch:

________ is a young woman who is secretly a _______ with special powers/traits/etc. But now _______ will force her to choose between ________ and the ________ (Hot, sexy, etc) _______ (Detective, partner, etc) she has begun to love.

There. The fantasy rack has become inundated with this, and Urban Fantasy in particular. You can find good writing here, but it's very hard.

Rant are end.

I liked this article very much. I disagree somewhat with your reasoning, but I liked it non the less. As a former frequent contributor to Harry Potter forums while the books where still not fully finished I've had a lot of friends recommend the Twilight series. I could barley get through the back of the book before I had to put it down. If I ever do read it, I do not believe I could do so with a straight face.

In my experience, where men look for conventional p0rn, women usually look for an emotional version of the same. We all have a craving for that deeply emotional troubled man with the dark hair, maybe slightly forbidden to like, who no one but one woman gets. And that woman is you. And with you he transforms into this perfect man who makes love like a devil and brings you breakfast and roses in bed the next day and never have to ask what we would like to be given for our birthday or Christmas. We might dream of this, in the same way that men seem to fantasies about the flawless seeming women that you run across in the adult section of magazines or movies. Both both men and women realize that what ever the dream or fantasy, reality is something different. And what you might reach for in the realm of possibility is something very different. Most geek men seem to fantasies about Oliva Munn, but would you say that you would never settle for any women expect her or someone exactly like her?

Personally I believe that Twilight is riding on a wave that Harry Potter in some respects helped create. Suddenly, there are tons of people who would not ever identify themselves as geeks in love with this magical world. I don't think Eragorn would have ever become known (which read like an amalgamation of the authors favorite parts of several other fantasy books), had it not been for so many people looking for something like the Potter books to read while waiting for the next Potter book. About the only thing I can say favorably about Eragorn is that it is fantasy, and that it is an easy read. I can definitely see the appeal of Twilight, and had I been 13 when it first came out, I'd probably be a fan girl once more. Instead, I read The Paksenarrion Saga when I was that age, and it probably ruined me for most fantasy set novels with a female lead. :P

The_root_of_all_evil:

annoyinglizardvoice:

I think the article is certainly on to something. I wonder how long I'll have to wait for someone to write something to cash in on the niche for stuff that doesn't objectify either gender :)

About 2000 years ago. It's about this guy who went around with other guys and this one girl saying it'd be good to be nice to each other. Then he gets nailed to a tree. You wouldn't like it.

Ha! Sounds boring tbh, bet it would get some Batshit insane fanboys though...

When one of your "Shirtless Males", and one of the two leads in your movies actively seeks to bash the living hell out of the movie he is acting in at every possible interview oppertunity, you kinda have to just sit down, look in a mirror and think "Maybe this movie is just really bad after all".

Shame Stephenie Meyer apperently breaks every mirror before she can look in it. Never cared above the shirtless males aspect. I've watched many Vampire Movies. Heck, Interview with the Vampire has quite literal gay porn in it xD, but it's still one of my favourite movies of all time. No, this vendetta, this utter hate and dispair at this traudy piece of c-....junk, is because of the complete and utter insult it has delievered to vampire genre fans everywhere. We all cried when the industry went from violent grotesque horror vampires to pretty boy anne rice vampires, but the script was still good and so we could put up with it. But this...this...gah, this is just to horrible. I won't accept it, and refuse, completely, to stop bashing the holy hell of this horrible mass of written vomit.

I had no idea who Power Girl was at first and then I saw a picture of her in costume and I facepalmed so hard I nearly broke my wrist. She has such a generic name and the only note worthy thing about her are her massive tits. Nice going comic nerds, you makes us males look stupid once again.

Doug:

axia777:

AkJay:
Twilight is Star Wars for girls.

Do not even compare the two, EVAR. That is a sin against everything geek.

Doug:

Suddenly, I have the urge to write a cross over 'fan'-fiction.

Please do and post it after you are done.

Blade sneaked up behind the Vampire, feet carefully positioned each step of the way to avoid twigs. A false step made a light crackle in the pre-dawn air and Blade froze, hand on his sword. Fortunately, the whiny kid and the wet girl where too busy angst chatter with "Love waits" overtones.

He moved slowly, creeping closer and closer. About 1 metre away from the 'happy' couple, the dawn broke and the kid sparkled. "What the FUCK", thought Blade, "He should be in FLAMES, damnit."

Out loud, he said, "Fuck it" and cut the sparkly whiners head off.

Then the puddle girl attacked! With wave upon wave of passive aggressive whining, Blade felt his mind turning to goo. "FUCK" he shouted and fell to the ground, trying deseperately to lift the blade, "Die damnit, dieeeee!"

Just then, a giant train of a wolf came through the forest and turned into a topless bronze boy with 60 abs, "Oh, how terrible, looks like he's dead. Let me comfort you, my puddly girl"

This was deseperate. Blade could feel himself sinking into a tween 'romance' 'novel'. With his last ounces of strength, he pulled out a grenade, and popped the pin....

Bravo! You sir, have just written somting bettter than the "Person" who wrote twilight.

Doug:

Gxas:
So what you're trying to say, Bob, is that Jacob = Slave-Leia?

I see it. I agree with it. Twilight is still one of my guilty pleasures.

Oh sweet jesus, no. I don't want to see a crap load of nearly nude guys chained to a slug-woman.

I thought the point of that scene in Star Wars was to make you uncomfortable and to go "DO NOT WANT".

Good points all, but I do have one response to you (I seem to be disagreeing with you lately, I don't mean to)

They are in the process of developing skin-tight space-suits, because they allow for the flexibility to conduct EVA without worrying about not being able to handle tools correctly etc.

Of course, this doesn't quite apply to the world of fiction where often the women's outfits will still manage to be slightly tighter than the already skin-tight norm, but consider Mass Effect and Star Trek the Next Generation.

In Mass Effect, your uniform conforms to your body shape, with perhaps a little additional armour plating. This is true of both male and female, meaning the only reason FemShep's is seen as sexual is becaue she has breasts around which the armour contorts. But surely this isn't a bad thing or an overly sexual thing? If a woman has breasts and wears a skintight suit then her breasts will be defined by the suit. The male suits have a worryingly-sized crotch plate which doesn't get commented on, so why the breasts? The answer is not T&A, it's the fact that the new in-thing is to try to jump on the 'I'm being feminist' bandwagon, without actually seeing what it is underneath.

Star Trek the Next Generation is similar. Apart from Deanna Troi (Who frequently was wearing suits tight enough to reveal the exact dimensions of her crotch) the men and women were similarly clad, regardless of individual weights, body shapes, genders. The clothing was uniform, yet still people complain about the inappropriateness of the women! It's insane, because if you truly do take the attitude that any time a woman wears anything that may show she has breasts, you are effectively conforming to pre-Victorian era thinking about sex and sexuality, which is something I rather hoped we had grown out of.

The genres are getting there. Slowly but surely we will reach the stage where not only is their equality, but people won't also blanketly accuse a medium of something to which not all examples adhere to.

You have a point about the serious lack of female-centric genre fiction, but releasing crap to fill in the void is like solving an excess of rabbits by releasing bears, it just pisses everyone off in the process.

Me, being a 17 year ould girl, I'm probably right in the target audience. Still, I think Twilight is really, really BAD!

I think you're on to something with man-centric-geek-culture-thingy though. Taylor Lauther isn't someone I'd kick out of bed, but then again there's not to many actors that I would kick out either.

So if Twilight is the best fiction/fantasy with hot guys aimed for girls, I'm sticking with the hot girls and their male-centric fiction. At least the leads there tend to be funny.

Also, applause to Doug for his amazing Twilight/Blade fan-fic. A really touching end there, Blade should be memorized for his sacrifice.

axia777:
Good read. But....

I loled sooo hard XD

Great read moviebob. I can still say I think your videos/column is one of the most intelligent things on the escapist.

 Pages PREV 1 2 3 4 5 6 NEXT

Reply to Thread

Log in or Register to Comment
Have an account? Login below:
With Facebook:Login With Facebook
or
Username:  
Password:  
  
Not registered? To sign up for an account with The Escapist:
Register With Facebook
Register With Facebook
or
Register for a free account here