(read the summary first)
The Arzim Rebuttals (part 03 of 04)
The Ultimate Reasons why Twilight SUCCCKKXXX!!11!! apple11
(this article is also posted to support midnightqueen12's reaction to twilight attacks; amy2609's 101 reasons why Twilight sucks, as well as my article of why anime is much greater than twilght; and of course, other booksie members' articles concerning the flaws of twilight series. This article contradicts any other articles that support Twilight's 'positive points'. Twilight fans, go buy an apple instead.)
1. "Edward is abusive"
2. "Fantasy does not excuse a lack of realism"
3. "The books are sexist"
4. "The books (Twilight specifically) have no plot/character development"
5. "Bella and Edward are in lust, not love"
6. "Bella is an idiot (aka Meyer tells and doesn't show"
7. "Imprinting IS sexual no matter what (aka imprinting is sexist and pedophilic)"
8. "Twilight sends bad messages... and it DOES matter"
9. "Science: Why Nessie can't exist"
10. "Science: Meyer fails at it"
11. "Choice: What Feminism isn't, and what Bella doesn't have"
Stephenie Meyer tells and doesn't show
Anti-twilights would say: “Bella is an idiot”, “Bella is superficial” (aka Meyer tells and doesn’t show)
Fangirl: “No, she gets good grades and likes to read”, “Bella hates superficial people, she’s really deep and stuff”
Unfortunately this is not an argument where I can use definitions effectively, but for the sake of humor let me present you with one:
Idiot; based on Merriam-Webster
1: usually offensive : a person affected with extreme mental retardation
2: a foolish or stupid person
The “Bella is an idiot” argument is a perfect example of the Show, not Tell problem for the Twilight books. Let me explain:
It’s fine for an author to say “[character x] holds a grudge” as part of that character’s development if the author backs up his or her statement with examples in the text of that character holding a grudge, i.e. refusing to forgive a friend for borrowing clothes without asking, etc., etc. That’s the “show” part of it; the author, through his or her use of dialogue or action or theme, allows the reader to infer an understanding of the character themselves rather than being led along by the author like a kindergarten teacher leading a line of children to class. It forces the reader to come to his or her own conclusions, to interact with the story at hand rather than being force fed information.
But it can be tricky, and bad writers will often do one or both of the following:
1. Tell [x], but not show [x].
2. Tell [x], and show [y].
The latter is worse and it’s the sin of which Meyer is guilty. She constantly contradicts herself, and the “Bella is an idiot” argument is a perfect example.
Imagine if J.K. Rowling had told us that Harry Potter had a savior complex, and then went on to make him say, “Forget Ginny Weasley. I’m not going down to the Chamber of Secrets!” or “Screw you, Gabrielle! It’s Fleur’s job to save you, not mine!” or “Pffft, Voldemort’s there? Sirius can save himself!” (Side-note: *cries*)
I, for one, would have had a big problem with that and I’d wager that Harry wouldn’t be near the popular icon he is had Rowling engaged in such shoddy writing.
So let’s look at Bella. What makes Bella smart?
Well, we’re told that she likes to read, and the particular books/plays mentioned are: “Romeo & Juliet”, Pride and Prejudice, Wuthering Heights, and so on.
Do we EVER see her read anything else? Does she ever give cute little literary allusions?
I read a lot (I’m an English major, I have to) and the books I’ve read constantly pop up in my conversations, in my analysis of any given situation (when I watch TV, see a movie, read a book, EVERYTHING), and they simply influence my life in general. Apparently not so in Bella’s case; for all her rumored book-lover’s habits, she never makes a single reference to, say, The Picture of Dorian Gray when describing Edward’s beauty or vampirism (which would have been interesting!), nor a “Wow, Jane freaks me out as much as Claudia did in Interview With the Vampire”, nor a “Is Harry Potter real, then?” when she finds out about Edward & co. being vampires.
We never see her read a book outside of the ones mentioned (which Meyer includes solely to draw bad comparisons and introduce awful interpretations), we never see her discuss books with Edward (outside of quoting Shakespeare and trading passages of Wuthering Heights, which again was only for Meyer’s purposes), and aside from “English class will be easy since I read all those books in my other class already”, she never shows any interest in her studies.
(and in fact doesn't even seem to grasp how college is important)
Okay, so Meyer says she likes to read. Where does she show this? Answer: nowhere.
Perhaps more importantly, several of Bella’s actions indicate that she is, in fact, not the brightest bulb in the box.
Let’s list some of her stupid actions:
1.She walks off into a dark alley where she might get raped. WTF.
2.She doesn’t tell Edward or any of the centuries-old, experienced vampires about James’ message, deciding to handle it herself instead (and nearly getting herself killed).
3.She gets lost in the woods (granted, emotional issues aside) within sight of her own home.
4.She repeatedly puts herself (and her life) in danger to hear a voice in her head.
5.Despite writing an essay on Shakespeare being misogynistic, she does not recognize at all the sexist and abusive elements in her own relationships.
So despite Meyer telling us that Bella is a special snowflake in the neurons-and-synapses department, in reality she’s a pretty foolish character, though it’s not just this area in which the author shows and tells something different. In fact, the entire series is contradiction after contradiction after contradiction.
Some quick examples:
1. Meyer tells us that Bella “knows herself”, yet it takes Jacob sexually assaulting her for her to realize that she’s love with him (after months of leading him along like a horrible bitch).
2. Meyer tells us that Bella is “independent”, yet she devolves into a zombie for months on end when precious Edward leaves her (and relies on Jacob for any semblance of happiness thereafter).
3. Bella says that she hates all the superficial girls at school, yet her own relationship is based on the fact that Edward is a shiny, marble Adonis rather than, you know, he has a great personality.
So, where does this leave us?
Oh, right. Bella is an idiot. (but Meyer more so)
Imprinting is bad (in every way!)
Anti-twilights would say: “Imprinting is sick, sexist, and promotes pedophilia”
Fan: “Imprinting isn’t sexual”, “Imprinting’s not sexist because it’s equally degrading”
At best, imprinting is a second-rate deus ex machina to make coupling easier for Meyer by taking away the necessity for character and relationship development.
Basically, love-at-first-sight by any other name still smells not-quite-sweet.
Now, had Meyer simply gone ahead with love at first sight rather than the imprinting concept, I doubt we’d be discussing it right now. Rather, I’d be arguing how lame love at first sight is.
But since Meyer chose imprinting and all its dangly bits, let’s take a look at it.
The male werewolves. It isn’t known whether or not Leah can imprint, though she complains in Breaking Dawn that she’s “twenty years old and menopausal”, indicating that she can’t procreate anyway, thus rendering the function of imprinting useless (more on that later).
Quil imprinted on Claire, a two year-old.
Jacob imprinted on Nessie/Renesmee, an infant.
What is the purpose of imprinting?
We learn over the course of the series that the purpose of imprinting and why normal folk don’t do it is to insure that the werewolf gene (or shape-shifting gene) is passed on. Think of it like an evolutionary adaptation to insure the procreation of one’s species—much the same as certain types of frogs modulating the pitch and frequency of their mating calls in order to attract a female of their exact species. Imprinting is not to make sure that the werewolves get true love. It’s not to make sure that the werewolves have a barefoot woman in the kitchen to make them sandwiches. The sole reason is for reproduction. That’s it. No other reason.
"Imprinting is sick, sexist, and promotes pedophilia"
So if imprinting’s sole purpose is for reproduction, then it is inherently sexual. Saying it’s not sexual is like saying a dude putting his p*nis in a girl’s vag*na isn’t sexual.
Reproduction = sexual.
To get out of the quick factor with Quil imprinting on Claire and Jacob imprinting on Nessie, Meyer quickly defends it by saying that the imprinter will be “whatever is needed, whether that’s a brother or uncle or father.”
And there go my quick alarms, blaring away like the siren of a police cruiser full of pedophiles.
One of the problems is that there is an understood future sexual relationship (by virtue of the imprinting) at stake.
So the idea of the werewolf taking a fraternal or paternal role in the life of the child leads directly to the concept of child grooming, defined below:
"The deliberate actions taken by an adult to form a trusting relationship with a child, with the intent of later having sexual contact is known as child grooming. The act of grooming a child sexually may include activities that are legal in and of themselves, but later lead to sexual contact. Typically, this is done to gain the child's trust as well as the trust of those responsible for the child's well-being."
Sound familiar? That’s because that describes the exact actions being taken by Quil and, to a lesser extent Jacob (given that Nessie is supposedly super-mature and super in general) in their relationships with Claire and Nessie respectively.
Certainly Quil doesn’t want to hurt Claire, but he’s taking an authoritative role in her life and for her to grow up with Uncle Quil or Brother Quil with the expectation of a sexual relationship completely sabotages her rights and her personal ability to refuse him. That is, both Quil and the rest of the tribe expect her to engage in a relationship with him and she has been brought up with the understanding that Quil will eventually become Lover Quil. How is she supposed to refuse him when he’s not only been an authority figure all her life but it’s expected by him and the rest of her family and friends that they live happily ever after (and make lots of puppies)?
That’s inexcusable and sick, and as I already established, there can be no imprinting without reproduction. This means that Quil and Claire’s relationship can never be simply platonic and that’s why it’s pedophilic.
Not to mention that it’s also sexist. It puts all the power of the relationship into Quil’s hands rather than Claire’s. Sure, Quil didn’t choose to imprint—it was forced upon him—but he does have the ability to mold and shape his and Claire’s relationship over a period of at least 16 years while Claire is given no options of her own. This goes for every other female who has been imprinted upon…
Where is their right to choose?
If they’re a member of the tribe, then they’re expected to just fall in line with whatever boy has designs on them, because, as Meyer says, it’s supposedly “hard to resist that level of devotion.”
Now, a popular argument that the Twilight fans use is this: “Imprinting is degrading to both males and females equally, therefore it’s not sexist.” While they do make a good point about imprinting and the males, their logic is flawed.
No, the males don’t have a right to choose either—they become groveling, sniveling love slaves with no options outside of the person they choose, but the difference is that they have feelings for the person.
If we take imprinting at face value, then they’ve found their soul-mate and they have no doubts, no concerns, and no regrets about it. The problem is that it’s not reciprocal. The females are not guaranteed feelings equal to the male, yet they’re still expected to hop between the sheets with them. Had Meyer left it as a one-way, unrequited love process, then it wouldn’t have been as sexist (it would have put power in the hands the female and degraded the male… not a good thing, either). But because she insinuates that the females are supposed to love the male back, then it becomes a problem.
Imprinting (and werewolf reproduction) is sexist in another way as well, specifically for Leah.
Now, this is either a giant misunderstanding or a blatant contradiction (I’m inclined to think the latter, considering Meyer’s dubious track record), but in Breaking Dawn, Meyer insinuates that Leah is infertile. WTF? Evolutionarily speaking, why on earth would a female werewolf become infertile while the males get to keep their little swimmers? (Same question to the vampires, actually)
So if imprinting happens to insure reproduction, why the hell would werewolf-ism ever make the person infertile? There’s zero reason for it evolutionarily (it goes counter to evolution theory, period) and biologically speaking, if the males can keep creating sperm with no problem, then it makes zero—ZERO!—sense for Leah’s eggs (which she was born with) to suddenly lose their viability. After all, if imprinting is there to make sure that werewolf puppies are running around, then it implies that not only are the werewolves capable of reproduction but that it’s preferred.
But no… Meyer decides to take away Leah’s fertility, thus setting her apart from
}a) the other women on the reservation and
b) the other werewolves and
c) taking away her opportunity to imprint (if she’s infertile, she won’t imprint because the potential for procreation has been lost).
Now, does the male werewolves’ sperm count reduce more quickly than humans’ (thus reducing their viability) because of their werewolfiness? Is that another reason for imprinting, to make sure that they get down-n-dirty quick enough so that they’re not shooting blanks?
The answer to that is no.
If Quil can imprint on a two year-old and have to wait a minimum to 16 years before reproduction, then it’s safe to say that he’s not losing any viability any time soon. Likewise, it’s stated that werewolves, as long as they phase regularly, will never age.
So why is Leah aging (going through menopause/losing her fertility)? Why does the woman get the shaft and the males get to prance around happily with no ill effects (rather, they get killer bods and a never-ending supply of viable sperm).
Why do the males get their happy ending (by way of imprinting; no pun intended) and Leah is denied hers?
The only possible reason is that she’s a woman and Meyer wanted to give her some extra angst (besides having her heart broken, coincidentally also due to imprinting).
By taking away her fertility, Meyer implies that procreation and baby-making are the most important things to her simply by virtue of her having two X chromosomes. Sexist? I should say so.
Imprinting in five words: sick, gross, *shudder*, SEXIST!, and awkward.
Good job, Meyer. Really nice work.
Twilight sends bad messages
Antitwilights would say: “The Twilight books send bad messages, e.g. sexism, abuse are ‘okay’
“Other books have sexism too, like Wuthering Heights, Pride and Prejudice, the ‘classics’—are you going to ban those as well??”
“Meyer uses old-fashioned concepts, what’s it to you?”
“Not every viewpoint needs to be represented, you know [e.g. feminism]”
“Twilight is based off of older literature, so it’s not Meyer’s responsibility to cater to modern philosophy”
This is a bit of a convoluted argument but I’m going to ask you do to your best to stay with me here. I’ve already discussed at length the abuse, sexism, imprinting, etc. etc. so for the purposes of this argument, we’re going to go with the assumption that the fan has accepted—at least to a degree—the existence, if not the ramifications, of the bad points of the Twilight series.
This argument (“Why don’t you ban everything that’s anti-feminist, then?”) is usually a last-ditch, “I really can’t argue with you using the text” point and while it can be cleverly disguised and sometimes even a bit persuasive, its logic is inherently flawed.
Fans love to bring Wuthering Heights and Pride and Prejudice into the mix; usually because Meyer herself introduces those two novels in particular as a kind of warped source material and they think it gives credence to their argument.
It doesn’t (but more on that later).
I mentioned it in the sexism argument, but I’m going to repeat it here.
I don’t have an inherent problem with an author portraying abuse or sexism or murder or rape in a novel. What I DO have a problem with is when those issues are not addressed. For example, I wrote that the biggest reason that the books are sexist is because Bella herself (nor any of the other characters, but that’s beside the point given that Bella is the narrator) doesn’t notice. The idea of sexism or abuse never even enters her mind in the slightest.
“So it’s not a big deal, then!” the fans like to cry. “If it were, Bella would be mad!”
No. The fact that Bella doesn’t notice is exactly the problem.
It means that
a) Meyer doesn’t realize what’s she’s writing and trying to pass off as “perfect” or
b) Meyer intends it and actually does hold sexist (etc., etc.) views as “perfect” or “ideal”.
Either way, it means that Meyer is calling something “perfect” when it most certainly is not—thus idealizing abusive relationships, rampant sexism, justifying suicide, etc.
I’m going to give her the benefit of the doubt and say that most likely, Meyer simply doesn’t realize it. If she did, it wouldn’t be nearly as “perfect” as she likes to think it is—where’s the romance in Bella saying, “Screw you, Edward, I’ll do/see/hang out with what-/whoever I want” or “I’m going to call the police if you keep stalking me!”.
Let’s draw a comparison. Hey, look, there’s my copy of Pride and Prejudice. Perfect—written between 1796 and 1797 and published in 1813, it qualifies as one of the “old” books on which the Twilight series is supposedly based. Many fans like to say, “Well, there’s sexism in P&P, do you hate that book too?”
Remember how I said that Meyer doesn’t address the issues of sexism, etc. in the books? Well, yeah, Austen does do that. In fact, Austen skillfully and insightfully expresses the times’ inequality of the sexes and presents a harsh social commentary (through the veneer of witty repartee) using the story of strong-willed Elizabeth Bennet and noble Mr. Darcy. The sexism, classism, etc. are some of the cornerstones of the book in that Austen uses her heroine to combat them.
Or, take Charlotte Brontë’s Jane Eyre (1847) and its titular character. Like Elizabeth, Jane is faced with classism, sexism, lack of opportunity, and, like Bella, is faced with dealing with somewhat of a Byronic hero (brooding, dark, secretive, ‘superior’). Like Elizabeth, Jane basically gives a polite and cultured “fuck you!” to her antagonists, and unlike Bella, Jane doesn’t take any crap from Mr. Rochester. In fact, the feminist theme in Jane Eyre is so firm and pervasive that by the end of the book, Jane has completely turned the traditional gender roles on their asses. Together, she and Elizabeth represent two of the strongest female characters in all of literature. Bella? Bella doesn’t even deserve to be on the same bookshelf as them.
"Twilight is based off of older literature, so it's not Meyer's responsibility to cater to modern philosophy."
Continuing with the P&P and Jane Eyre themes, just because a book is “old” doesn’t prevent it from having visionary and modern themes and considering that P&P is supposed to be one of the books on which Twilight is based, I’d say that Meyer does a horrifically piss-poor job of staying true to the its ideas. Rather, Meyer appears to be basing her series off of old IDEAS and old TRADITIONS, which is entirely different from literature. And if that’s the case, then my giving her the benefit of the doubt was unwarranted and she herself holds sexist and anti-feminist views. At that point, there’s no sense in arguing any further.
"Not every viewpoint needs to be represented all the time, you know! (e.g. feminism)"
of course that’s true. But it doesn’t mean that I can’t have a problem with a “viewpoint” presented in a work of literature or cinema or theater or whatever. It’s my prerogative to disagree, just like it is Meyer’s prerogative to express whatever ideas she wants, however obsolete and wrong they may be.
let me address the argument more specifically. Feminism, in a word, means equality. The idea that the right to equality for all is a “viewpoint” rather than an accepted natural right (go read some John Locke, please.) almost makes this argument not even worth arguing. Imagine if Meyer had included some blatant racism instead of blatant sexism and misogyny. Would you shrug it off so lightly? I doubt it. So why is sexism taken so lightly when it affects the greatest number of people (around 51% of all Americans, actually, so ~150 million in the USA alone)? To reply “so what?” to criticism of sexism in a book demeans women as a whole and sets back equality and feminism a hundred years. And that IS a big deal, and while Meyer has as much right as the next person to spew forth her unmitigated sexist and misogynistic views, I have just as much right to dislike her for it.