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Fulfilling the Female Ego

'What makes Twilight “brain porn”? It fulfills the female ego in the same way pornography appeals to men.

Pornography exaggerates the most cathartic aspect of romantic encounters while dismissing real-life baggage. It elevates an irrational self-indulgence while ignoring any sense of responsibility, particularly to the other. For men, this translates to reckless sexual satisfaction. For women, it’s more complicated.

Sure, women like sex too. However, their enjoyment typically requires stimulation of the mind as much as the body. Women hope to be loved, desired above all others, and valued more than life itself. The Twilight Saga embodies this fantasy.

Pornography imagines that women exist for the sole purpose of satisfying men. The women in porn are not only willing, but eager. They are depicted as if satisfying a man is the means by which their own life is sustained. This is without the slightest pretense, explanation, or justification. The unconditional nature of the attraction is essential to the fantasy.

So it is in Twilight, only with the roles reversed. Edward Cullen and Jacob Black adore Bella, not due to any apparent merit, but simply because she is there. Indeed, they indulge her whims and endure her moods without conditions of any kind. Any objection they do offer is complimentary. I’ll only turn you into a vampire if you marry me. Every conflict between the three leads only serves to demonstrate how thoroughly both males are devoted to Bella.

The most objectionable example of this porn-like dynamic is the frequently shirtless Jacob. Watching his unrequited obsession with Bella play out on-screen evokes the same eye rolling disgust that women have endured for years while watching two-dimensional bimbos fawn over undeserving men. The relationship begins with him filling in for the absent Edward, serving as a platonic scratching post to tide Bella over until her main squeeze returns. From there, Jacob engages in progressively more demeaning exercises in fruitless devotion.

In the third entry of the series Jacob manages the lackluster achievement of badgering Bella into admitting some love for him, albeit not as much as she holds for Edward. Her ideal scenario is to be with Edward while having Jacob around to dote on her within the boundaries she sets. She treats Jacob like some kind of pervert for not being satisfied with this arrangement. In this way, the dynamic between Bella, Edward, and Jacob is not unlike that between a husband, wife, and mistress. Bella wants to marry Edward but have Jacob as a kept man. The only difference is that Jacob satisfies her emotionally rather than sexually.

Stephenie Meyer deserves a tip of the hat for a truly unique cultural achievement. She has managed to distill the essence of an addictive, illicit entertainment and bring it to a new audience without carrying over any of the taboo. It’s a masterful accomplishment. Men’s primal tastes are too brute to pull off such a trick.'

- Walter Hudson, 'Porn for Women: The Twilight Saga.'

Comments

Sigh.

I so totally agree with alllll that you have written.

Yet still, I just so totally dig 'Twilight' ... never mind the crappiness of the story line et al.

Girls will always be girls :D
Sandhya S said…
It's true that women hope to be loved and interestingly, some women believe that only a vampire can love "forever"! :P
Ray Titus said…
MT, Yup, girls will be girls! :)

Sandhya,

Do you?

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