Sparkle for Me [Comic]

From Geeks are Sexy reader and cartoonist Byron Mosley:

As a huge film nerd, I can ignore the fact that the author of the Twilight books has essentially castrated vampires, but there are underlying themes in her books which I find damaging to impressionable young women. Once again, I’m not trying to shit on people who like the Twilight series, but to me, this is an incredibly subversive book that has to be looked at closely.

What are your thought on this? We need more awesome women, and I think the sentiment of the Twilight books is a danger. What else, besides Twilight, is a threat to “Women Fully Realized”.

[Source: Piratecake]

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27 Responses to Sparkle for Me [Comic]

  1. I was talking with a friend who has adopted two little girls. This is his first Christmas shopping for them. What he as discovered (and I learned years ago) is that many toys for girls are either focused on domesticity or being a princess or being sexy. There is very little in the way of showing girls how to use their brains or make a difference beyond being female. I also find this lack in YA novels. There are only a handful of girls in YA novels that can stand on their own two feet and rock their worlds (Hermione Granger and Violet Baudelaire come to mind, but not much more than that). It makes me sad.

    • Try steampunk-novels which commonly involve very strong women (eg Steampunk! short stories published by Kelly Link and Gavin J. Grant and with stories written by various known authors// the series "The Keys to the Kingdom" by Garth Nix // "The mechanical heart" by Dru Pagliassotti).
      I especially recommend the "Keys to the Kingdom"-series as they are suitable for young readers too! :)

    • There are tons of YA novels with good strong females, and many that teach them about respect and moving past that societal barrier. Speak, Catalyst, The Hunger Games trilogy, the Tiffany Aching trilogy, His Dark Materials trilogy, absolutely anything by Tamora Pierce… this is just off the top of my head. Don't get me wrong: there are way too many female characters like Bella, but there are a lot that are more like completely awesome if you look in the right place.

      • I wouldn't recommend Anne's books, based on the strong woman-make-baby-ism, the homophobia of the author, etc. No need to pick up on that from a young age.

        • Well – bisexual, really. (Hey, when your blue is mating with somebody's green, and you're both in full telepathic contact with your dragons, a lot of other considerations go out the window.) A lot of the Holders were homophobic, so that was one aspect of Weyr life that didn't get a lot of publicity, but…

    • Tamora Pierce is one of my favorite authors and started me on reading SF/F. Anne McCaffrey is another great choice, but less YA. Mercedes Lackey's Valdemar books are full of strong female characters. So is Patricia C. Wrede's Enchanted Forest Chronicles is a lot of fun that twists classic fairy tales into something with strong women you want to root for.

  2. I totally agree with you on that. I'm 24 now, and even when I was a kid, whenever my mom put me in blue clothing (because she liked it), all people though I'd be a boy.
    Girls have to dream and choose their own path, as do boys. If girls wanna be a princess, dress pink and only eat cake, why not? But there are no other options. I think it's sad and somehow it makes me angry.
    Twilight raped the vampire genre and made it fit for mainstream, but besides it also shows that girls may just wait for the right guy to straighten out her life instead of giving a good example in a way that she might do it herself (even better).
    Because of that, women still get lower payings for the same job.

  3. I think that people fail to realize that Bella can be portrayed as a VERY strong and independent woman. SHE saves EDWARD more often than he saves her. She escapes her bodyguards to save her mother in the first cook. She rushes to Italy to save Edward in the second book. She is clever enough to cut open her palm to distract the attacker in the third book. In fact, the book series ends with HER saving EVERYONE, not just Edward, by using her "mind."

    Yes there are some strange age questions to be addressed, but for those who READ, you will know that Bella is incredibly intelligent and mature for her age and this is all discussed in the book. From one of the very first scenes in school, she knows all of the answers to the chemistry lab project that she was paired with Edward on. She knows the square root of pi. And the philosophical question of "age" is discussed at great length between herself and Jacob Black.

    She follows her own beat, and if there is any word that does NOT apply to Bella it's "girlie." She is a self-admitted clutz, doesn't like dances, or dresses. Drives a beat up pick up truck. And consistently fights against the conventional concepts of "marriage." She believes she can be in love and in a lasting relationship without having to become a "wife."

    I agree that there are PLENTY of things out there that enforce sexism. But to go looking for it in EVERY little thing…. As a woman, I feel that is just as damaging to the cause.

    • I think what the author is referring to is her absolute reliance on Edward. When Edward leaves, she jumps off cliffs so she can hallucinate him. Whatever happened to female independence? And, I'm sorry but memorising the square root of pi does not necessarily equal intelligence. By the end of the books, her entire existence revolves even more around Edward than it did at the start, which gives the message that it's ok for women to just let men support them. Also, the stuff about her saving Edward was only so that she wouldn't lose him. It had nothing to do with being independent.

      For the record, I'm very enthusiastic about books, I love them. I've read the Twilight series twice, I still don't know why, but I know these books.

      • You've never been so in love with someone, and then lost them? Never had a friend or loved one die? Never had someone you thought you were in love with dump you? If so, you're fortunate. Because it hurts. And that wasn't the ideal, soul-mate type of love portrayed here.

        Being independent isn't about shutting people out of your life. It's not about being able to go through life without having any connection with anyone, or any help from anyone. It's about being able to do things for yourself. The fact that she does them because she loves him doesn't negate the fact that she does them. You wouldn't accuse a mother protecting her children from danger of being dependent on her children would you?

        Yes, anyone that uses these books as a How-To manual for living is a moron and deserves to be eaten by giant wolves or sparkly blooksuckers or some other monster. But anyone that applies the same level of importance to them in a negative connotation (ie. such as saying that they're a bad influence and destroying the world and other assorted "sky is falling" claptrap) is equally deserving of such fate. It's a book, it's fiction, and hopefully by the time they're old enough to read them, they're old enough to understand the difference between reality and fiction. For instance – vampire hanging out in your bedroom watching you sleep: ok; regular human boyfriend breaking into your house to watch you sleep: majorly creepy and worthy of getting shot in the head by your father. Anyone not smart enough to make that distinction deserves whatever fate they get.

        In fact, the worst threat in this situation isn't the portrayal of Bella. It's the idea that girls are so weak-minded that they're going to read this and suddenly think that abusive, controlling behavior is ok. How about giving them a little more credit than that.

    • Let's get real. This is a bodice-ripping supernatural romance novel constrained by Mormon beliefs on premarital sex. Reality doesn't figure into it. (Because, you know, every girl who comes to a new school is immediately fawned over by several guys, yet the girls accept her unconditionally. Talk about fiction.)

      And when my first boyfriend in high school started trying to control me – didn't like me talking to any other boys (my friends and his included); he would answer questions for me; didn't ever want me to drive, even if it made sense, etc. – I quickly dumped his non-sparkly, human but still pretty gorgeous butt. Because a strong person doesn't let another person tell them what to do. No matter how god-like their torso is.

  4. How is it statuary rape if she is over 18 and married when they have sex? Also, I know of quite a few books for Young Adults that have women that rock. Terry Pratchett's A Hat Full Of Sky and ALL of http://www.tamora-pierce.com/ Tamora Pierce's work. Little House on the Prarie, Beverly Cleary's Ramona Books, All of the Wizard of Oz books, The Hunger Games books… there are lots out there if you look for it.

    • It's not. Also, anyone that read the books would know that it was Bella that wanted to have sex and Edward was the one to keep saying no. He wanted to be married first and was afraid he would hurt her.

  5. Bless your heart Aimee! You have obviously never been in an relationship with an abusive, controlling man. For your sake, I hope that never happens to you. Speaking from experience however, I can state clearly that the 'relationship' between Edward and Bella is ANYTHING but healthy.

    And before you write me off as someone who is only speaking about what they've heard, I have read all 4 books numerous times and have seen and own all 3 of the first 3 movies. I also purchased Myers short story about Bree Tanner's life.

    I was, for all intents and purposes, the very definition of a TwiMom for a very long time. The thing that changed it all for me and really made me truly examine the whole situation was that final book. Breaking Dawn is the biggest piece of garbage ever written, however, thankfully it was the wake up call that so many of us needed to yank us out of our Twilight induced haze.

    Edward is the antithesis of a decent, loving man. He is a controlling, abusive stalker and Bella is everything a young woman should NOT be. Myers can write about how smart Bella is because she does well in school and reads a lot of books. That means nothing. You can have book smarts and still be dumb as a bag of hammers. That's Bella to a tee.

    My hope for you is that when you find your true love, that it is a wonderful, loving, reciprocal relationship based on respect. In other words, the opposite of the relationship between Bella and Edward.

    • I would really hope by the time people are old enough to read these books they wouldn't be taking life lessons from fictional characters and impossibly hypothetical situations and more focus on things they have experienced in their own lives.

  6. If you're going to whine about princesses and such for girls, then go get them an erector building set or some science books or something. There are plenty of "boy toys" out there that are for girls too. They don't have to be pink to be for women. Imagination is a great thing – whether girls are pretending to be carpenters, big executives, teachers, or cooking in their pretend kitchens. Encourage imaginative play and they will decide what they want to be!
    My son plays with dolls. So what? :)

    • I agree, but the problem is the pervasive gender-based marketing out there – it gets into your life. I have friends who have done everything possible to keep pink away from their little girls. Not as a militant stand, just trying to choose things that aren't pink.

      Yet one well-meaning aunt and uncle or playdate or sleepover later, pink takes over their lives. Kind of like it can be hard to avoid the military/gun stuff for boys.

      I'm not saying there should be no pink things, but it can be hard to avoid as is.

  7. I actually enjoyed reading Twilight as a horror story. It's a psychological horror story which clearly shows a young woman being trapped in an emotionally abusive relationship. Both the lead characters become entangled in a codependent relationship, and Bella over time develops something very akin to Stockholm Syndrome that leaves her incapacitated as a human. She abandons all thought of a future as an independent person in favor of this life with the man who stalked her, kidnapped her, even disabled her car at one point so that she couldn't see a friend of hers. It's clearly the most brilliant piece of psychological horror we've seen in quite some time. That it's garnered such a huge (unironic) fan base makes it a living work of performance art.

    I choose to think this because if all these women really think that this set of books describes a beautiful, healthy relationship, I weep for our sex.

    • If that Meyers had tried to write the story as you chose to interpret it, she couldn't have pulled it off… Congrats on the awesome twist XD it does make it at least bearable…

  8. When I was in Jr. & Sr. high school I read to escape the cruelness of the other students. I read a great trilogy called the "Deed of Paksenarrion" By Elizabeth Moon, another set was by Elizabeth Kerner, "The Kolmar Series." These books were about girls who where willful and determined to follow their dreams. I am glad that my Mom encouraged me to read books with strong female roles, Mercedes Lackey and Tamora Pierce are some of her favorite authors. I was surprised by Twihardom mostly because I haven't watched television regularly in several years.

    As for what is a danger to the realized woman? I think pop music (especially music video girls), TV shows like my Sweet Sixteen, 16 & pregnant, 20 and counting, Kate +8, and many other media "maidens" have todays young women into believing the old lie that we are only around to be "barefoot & pregnant." I even have an aunt who believes I'm a bad wife because I'm not popping out kids for my husband, who agrees that we aren't ready for children.

    Twihardom is just one very prominent piece of the problem in our society, the lack of communication and understanding that people, like our televisions, are no longer black and white. We aren't boys "dump trucks, guns, and carpentry" and girls "dolls, easy bake ovens, and pop singers." In the 90's I had Gadget from the rescue rangers, Gosling from Darkwing Duck, and April was kind of a bad ash reporter in TMNT. Why can't we have them back?

  9. Here are a few ideas from the books that i find a bit nonsensical-
    1. Incest (yes, I know they are all adopted children but is that any excuse for them all to be dating and therefore doing each other?r…. ick.)
    2. The frequent references to the main characters being "obsessed" with one another (not a healthy way to feel about anyone really)
    3. Bella consistently putting herself down through inner-dialogue, ex: "I'm so dumb." or, "This is all my fault."
    4. Harming herself to so that she can catch glimpses of Edward, and possibly get him to come back.
    5. The Uber creepy, semi-pedo idea that a werewolf can "imprint" (or instantly realize that someone is their soulmate) on someone, even if that someone is, say, an infant. CREEPFEST.

    I have owned and read the series, up until i realized what absolute garbage they were and how foolish it is to offer them, and the tripe within, to young girls. I began reading Harry Potter when I was 11 years old and continued through my early teens and I feel like Hermione, and the other strong female characters in the books were excellent role-models that I modeled my own behavior after. (believe it or not i did want to be smart and tough like Hermione, especially when I was going through rough times) these books, and the examples that the characters present DO MATTER