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23 August 2008 @ 05:51 pm
Twilight, Part Deux  
After yesterday's splendiferous post on Twilight and all the wonderful reponses it got, I've been poking around online trying to find more info and, hopefully, parodies. During my search, I came across a blog that had reader responses to the book. One such response said: 

"Twilight is the best book in the history of books, published or not. I fell in love with it from the first page, and can still not stop obsessing. Me and my friend even made our own site for it! I recommend this book to anyone in their sane mind, and if you don’t like it….? Well, that’s just because you’re jealous you don’t have your very own vampire-God to love you. Sorry."

Surely, I thought, I didn't write things like this when I was younger. But it also made me consider how this response relates to flake_sake's comment that the books perpetuate appalling gender stereotypes. Fanatical ranting aside, which is really nothing to criticize the poster for - I, um, might have had some embarassing Spike-obsessed moments during my senior year of high school - what bothers me is the last sentence. I'm all for escapist entertainment. Hell, we're all here for that very reason. But the idea that women should be jealous or covetous of an unattainable ideal worries me. I would hope that young girls aren't waiting for their own vampire gods, but rather want a loyal, intelligent, affectionate, humorous man at their side. Sometimes I wonder if creating characters like this does more harm than good for young girls, who already doubt themselves, their intelligence, their bodies. 

I've always been a realist. Is it so wrong to want just a man (or woman)? Fallible, awkward, jealous, challenging, HUMAN. In my experience, superlatives are over-rated. That's not to say that one needs to settle, but that people should not expect perfect because we aren't. There will be disagreements, cellulite, bad hair days, days he can't get it up, moments of disappointment just like their will be years/months/days/hours/seconds of joy, caring and love, successes and failures, triumphs and personal victories. 

Ultimately, it shouldn't be about The Perfect Man, but The Right Man for You. And sometimes he won't be the hottest, or the strongest, smartest, wealthiest, most well-endowed, and any other superlative you can think of. And, girls, THAT'S OKAY.
 
 
 
wicked_plum7: vfrancis: la baronesswicked_plum7 on August 23rd, 2008 11:57 pm (UTC)

YAY, the voice of reason!!!

I think that's one of the things that really concerned me about the series, this perfect vampire god business. I mean we've all been there...It was Louis from Interview with the Vampire for me when I was about 12, followed by LaCroix from Forever Knight, and then Angel, and then Spike etc etc. But I think what was always positive about how Joss portrayed his vampires was that they were so not perfect...they were really effed up infact. Spike has lots of intensely sexy qualities that make my escapist heart go pitter-pat, but he was no icon of perfection. He made HUGE mistakes, and paid heavy consequences for them. And I think it was something we could all relate to even he was a vampire. Edward Cullen just isn't "real" enough to be interesting I think...whether its a cocaine-addict or a unicorn a character has to have that sense of realism, of self and of being that makes them transcend the page. I've found that as you grow as a person you learn you don't want or NEED a god-figure to fill your empty spaces...what you want is a companion, an equal as messed up as you are. I really hope those Twit-head girls get that.

I don't even see how perfection is hot because that means the guy just no real personality, no addictions to conquers, no real pains or joys. That's very un-hot to me.

I think ultimately someone should put Spike and Edward in a room together and see who wins more at un-life. Also it'd just be hilarious to watch Spike kick Edward's scrawny little sparkly ass--show em' who's the real vamp in town!
ClawofCat: spuffelclawofcat on August 24th, 2008 09:44 pm (UTC)
It was Louis from Interview with the Vampire for me when I was about 12, followed by LaCroix from Forever Knight
Oh. I loved Louis. I actually think that Joss took a a page out of Rice's book when he created the character of Angel. There are quite a few similarities between the two. And, yay! Another Forever Knight fan! That was such an excellent show. Awesome flashbacks (aren't they always?) and a really great vamp family unit to rival the Fanged Four.

whether its a cocaine-addict or a unicorn a character has to have that sense of realism, of self and of being that makes them transcend the page. I've found that as you grow as a person you learn you don't want or NEED a god-figure to fill your empty spaces...what you want is a companion, an equal as messed up as you are.
You make some excellent points. So many of the characters on BtVS are plagued by incredible faults and insecurities, and yet they save the world. That vulnerability and fallibility is exactly what makes them compelling. They get knocked down, but they get back up. They do bad shit, but they work toward making it right. And since you mentioned age having to do with need for god figures --> companion, it actually made me think of Buffy's transition from Angel to Spike. Angel, is in many ways, Buffy's "god figure" whereas Spike fits her as more of a companion (equally as messed up as she is).

it'd just be hilarious to watch Spike kick Edward's scrawny little sparkly ass--show em' who's the real vamp in town!
If someone were to write that fic, I'd read it in a heartbeat!
Sevensevendeadlyfun on August 24th, 2008 12:08 am (UTC)
Something in here makes me think of Max. Tell him he gives good hug. Also that he looks adorable in pictures and that if he was a vampire god and I was unmarried, I'd flirt with him.

Twihards need to unnerstan: My vampires can beat up their vampires. That is all. :P
Tamspikeslovebite on August 24th, 2008 12:28 am (UTC)
X-zactly! and they don't have to *~*SPARKLE*~* to do it LOL
Sevensevendeadlyfun on August 24th, 2008 01:43 am (UTC)
I now want a Punk!Spike fic which features the use of glitter. Somehow, the phrase "What kind of bloody vampire sparkles?" seems disturbingly funny right now.


Because fandom needs more sparkles, amirite?
ClawofCat: spikedru dancingclawofcat on August 24th, 2008 09:48 pm (UTC)
I'm tempted to write this. I envision Spike and Dru, 1970s NY, getting all kitted out to go to Studio 54. Dru thinks Spike might look fetching in some sparkles, and it just devolves from there.
Sevensevendeadlyfun on August 24th, 2008 10:19 pm (UTC)
That would be better than awesome. Plus, sparkles!
ClawofCat: vamp spikeclawofcat on August 24th, 2008 09:46 pm (UTC)
Something in here makes me think of Max.
I think you mean Gus =) And yeah, I did have him in mind when I was writing this up. I'll let him know that he'd flirt-fodder material.

Twihards need to unnerstan: My vampires can beat up their vampires.
Word! And, perhaps there would be some sort of oil involved?
Sevensevendeadlyfun on August 24th, 2008 10:21 pm (UTC)
He looks like a Max. How can he be a Gus? He looks like a Max. Do I get points for staying in the three letter range? And yes, somehow I knew who you had in mind. :P

And there should definitely be oil involved. Well, for our vampires anyways. Whatshisface can stay oil-free. Might end up blinding us with his extra-sparklyness.
flake_sakeflake_sake on August 24th, 2008 07:35 am (UTC)
You brought it down to the point perfectly! When I discussed the book with the friend who'd given it to me and I pointed out that there is hardly any plot and that Bella has no personality, she seemed to be wondering how I could see anything else in the book, besides that Edward is hot.

To me, he just is not (that's probably the reason I'll never find the (twi)light). Bella's narrative rants on endlessly on how perfect he is, but in the end it just boils down to: He is good looking, strong, rich and in love with Bella. But that love seems so fake to me because Bella is clearly just a faceless shell to insert the reader and there are no characteristics about her to love. Edward is attracted to her, because of her looks, her smell and the fact that his telepathy doesn't work on her. She has no personality to speak of and, to me, men who exclusively fall for the exterior of a girl are just lame and superficial.
He also is a complete macho. He never includes her in decisions and he endlessly keeps her away from the plot, since she's too weak to do any good. And what makes the Twilight world so sad is that he's right to do so. Bella's decisions DO suck and she IS completely useless.

It's this idolization of a relationship where a girl finds a guy to take control of her life, instead of an equal that imho is not healthy.

But in the end I think this Twilight hype is going to be shortlived and all the fangirls are going to grow up and find out for themselves that real love is much more colorful than the Twilight version.
ClawofCat: SpikeDruclawofcat on August 24th, 2008 09:53 pm (UTC)
She has no personality to speak of and, to me, men who exclusively fall for the exterior of a girl are just lame and superficial.
Agreed! I'm trying to think of examples on BtVS where love blossomed for superficial reasons. And.. I really can't think of any. The only one maybe is Harmony and Spike, not that there was love involved there though. It's funny that he throws in with Harmony because I see Spike as really enjoying women who actually aren't traditionally pretty or bombshells. Buffy and Dru certainly aren't supermodels, which just seems his decision to shack up with Harmony seem that much more ridiculous.

And what makes the Twilight world so sad is that he's right to do so. Bella's decisions DO suck and she IS completely useless.
I wonder what Joss thinks of all this? Useless, weak, dumb heroines. Bet he's got an oozie pointed toward Meyer's home.
flake_sakeflake_sake on August 26th, 2008 06:18 am (UTC)
To imagine that Spike (or Angel)would have nothing more to say about Buffy (or Dru) than that she's beautiful.
With Harmony of course it's superficial, but that's ok, it's certainly not depicted as the greatest love story of all times.

The books are so often compared to Buffy. It's really annoying, since concerning feminism they're virtually the antithesis.
Stephsurefall on January 29th, 2009 05:44 pm (UTC)
Agreed! I'm trying to think of examples on BtVS where love blossomed for superficial reasons. And.. I really can't think of any.

::raises hand:: IMHO, I always felt that Buffy & Angel did exactly that. She thinks he's cute, he's got the whole mysterious thing because he only randomly appears. He thinks she's cute, he stalks her. That could sum up S1 almost entirely. Then suddenly in Prophecy Girl it's all "I care about you so much OMG" ... srsly it seems to come from nowhere.
ClawofCat: Bangel hurtclawofcat on February 2nd, 2009 04:49 am (UTC)
Good point. Last year when I rewatched BtVS with a friend who had never seen it, I realized that their relationship does seem to come out of left field. To me there seems to be this strange continuity rift between S1-S2. All the characters' story arcs kick into gear during S2, the Bangel relationship catapults forward through momentum (rather than foundation), and you're left feeling like S1 was a sloppy prologue to try and hash out the players without sinching the story tight.

Although I can appreciate the Bangel relationship for what it did to their respective story arcs and romantic/personal journies, their "love" seems almost exclusively entrenched in unrealistic fantasy. It's compelling to watch and makes for great angst, but if we look at it on a realistic level, it's pretty inevitable that it fell apart under its own weight.
Stephsurefall on February 2nd, 2009 02:43 pm (UTC)
To me there seems to be this strange continuity rift between S1-S2.

I always felt this was more a problem with S5-S6 and S6-S7, where there were multiple dropped plot threads and a sudden increase in retconning. S1 just felt rough to me in comparison to S2, but not actually like there was a rift. Perhaps because the beginning of S2 was still rough?

their "love" seems almost exclusively entrenched in unrealistic fantasy.

Yes, it does. It springs from seemingly nothing except physical attraction and then they make up the rest from there, but it's never from anything solid. If left to it's own devices, I think it would have died a natural death.

I can appreciate the relationship from Buffy's side, since it comes off as a realistic teen girl's crush, at least until the Angelus trauma makes her justify it with TRU LUV & SOUL MATES FOREVER OMG.

Angel, however, always comes off as creepy manipulating older man to me, which completely destroys the concept that there's any actual love in there at all.

Total Aside: When someone first described Twilight to me, my reaction was "So the author wrote Angel and Buffy the way she always wanted them to be?"
Stephsurefall on January 29th, 2009 05:58 pm (UTC)
::cough:: Random commentator I may be, but I have enjoyed your twilight comment discussion.

I too have heard the talk and have been wandering around peering into the fandom.
ClawofCat: good timesclawofcat on February 2nd, 2009 04:54 am (UTC)
Hey, no problem. I'll take random commenters! I'm glad you enjoyed the thread. It was even more fun whe I saw the movie with the same friend that I watched Buffy with. We laughed and snarked the entire way through ;)

If you're curious to see the previous post I based this one off of, you can read it HERE. A number of the commenters linked to some hilarious Twilight commentaries. They're definately worth checking out.

Btw, how did you find this post and/or make your way to my journal? I don't post at any Twilight groups, heh.
Stephsurefall on February 2nd, 2009 01:06 pm (UTC)
I came by way of goldenusagi's livejournal memories. In fact, I think she's the reason that I started reading about it in the first place.
UncagedMuse: peopleslinkiesraemcn on August 28th, 2008 06:49 am (UTC)
*waves*

I just stopped by your LJ to see what's up with you. I do it from time to time. I've loved your fic since I first started reading them a while back, but life keeps me at a dead run most of the time and I hardly review anyone at all anymore. Sorry. The only reason I never friended is because I simply suck at keeping up with LJ and never wanted you to feel as if I was ignoring your posts when I didn't comment for a month or two. I haven't friended anyone in a very long time, even if I secretly stop by when I can to see what different ppl are up to.

This little subject caught my eye and I couldn't resist leaving a comment. The best thing about loving someone is loving them through the bad times, whatever that may be. To truly love is being there when that person pisses you off with one of their annoying quirks, or by doing something stupid. If you can still love them through those times it's real and makes for a life that is never boring. If you had this "vampire-God", as this Twilight teen puts it, you'd be dying to get out of mind numbing perfection hell.

I've read the first three books of the Twilight series simply because I was bored at work and they were given to me. I ranted for a month afterwards. lol

As far as Spike in our on fandom goes, I believe that the true adults of our fandom love Spike because of his flaws, his pain, his so not perfect persona. The flaws that make up Spike are tangiable and reflect in an exaggerated way what real life is all about, the struggle to be more and how our past pain, stupidity, and choices shape us into what we are now.
ClawofCat: coc spuffy kissclawofcat on August 29th, 2008 05:59 pm (UTC)
Hi, Rae. Sorry I haven't gotten back to you yet about FFA. I read your email and am still pondering it a bit. I don't want to commit unless I absolutely can. My only hesitation is that around the time of judging I might be switching to a new job and i'm not sure what my time might be like. Is there a date I should give you a yes or no? I'm leaning towards yes. I can just see Maggie doing a dance of joy over that, lol.

And no stress about the friending or commenting. We all have busy lives :) I keep nearly all of my posts unflocked so that people can read about what's going on with me or my fic. So, lurk away. It's great to hear that you're enjoying my work, period.

The best thing about loving someone is loving them through the bad times, whatever that may be.
*cough* Spuffy *cough* But, yes. That's my favorite sort of love, the type I most often write about - the love you have to struggle for and that hurts, but is such a big part of who two people are together that it's just a given. I actually think I do this best with Faith/Angel. They might even be *gasp* my OTP, if I actually were to have one. They are so perfect for each other. Must finish up my Fangel WIPs!

I believe that the true adults of our fandom love Spike because of his flaws, his pain, his so not perfect persona.
Absolutely. Many people mentioned Spike in the first Twilight post and used his fallibility as an example of what makes him so compelling.

Thanks for dropping by to add your two cents. Twilight, interestingly, has created a lot of thought-provoking conversation on this journal. Who would have guessed?
UncagedMuse: fangevilminionyoungfrankraemcn on September 10th, 2008 05:15 am (UTC)
Well now, let me entice you to the dark side. *evil cackle*

Steph and I have decided to go all out and have at least 12 weeks for judging this coming up round at Fang Fetish. We're both exhausted and trying to keep RL from killing us at this point, while at the same time not wanting to completely close Fang down. It's our relaxation. Judging will not even start until at least the 3rd week in Feb and may actually wind up being 13 or 14 weeks depending on what is going on at the time. Have I convinced you yet? If not I'll get on my knees and beg.
ClawofCat: gropeclawofcat on September 10th, 2008 06:23 pm (UTC)
Alright, alright! I'm on board!

*dramatic sigh* Happy? ;D

So, where do I sign up? Do I get a cool badge and/or select groping privaleges?