Thursday, December 3, 2009

Privilege: You May Have It

misogyny, twilight, privileged,
A primer on Privilege, in case you need it.

I just had the most singularly frustrating argument with someone who shall remain nameless. I don't think my 10-year-old niece should be exposed to Twilight. The messages contained therein are appallingly misogynistic (hello, mormons): a woman is nothing without a man, abandon everything including your humanity for a man, 18 years old is old, you should want babiesbabiesBABIEEEEEEEEEES even if those babies could mean the doom of all mankind.

It's truly appalling.

I don't think Twilight should be banned. If people want to read misogynist trash, that's fine, but I don't think children should be exposed to it. The most frustrating part of the argument was that this person actively does prevent their children from viewing age inappropriate sexual and violent content, even though they enjoy such things personally. So clearly they believe that while some people can view certain forms of entertainment, those same forms of entertainment are unacceptable for children.

Clearly, the issue is that this person thinks that misogyny is appropriate for children, including little girls.

I've used "they/their", but this person is a man. A man who has no idea what it means to be a woman in our society, and feels free to lecture me on it. Misogyny doesn't affect him, so misogyny is okay. I wonder if his next feat of sensitivity will be to explain racism to black people.

Sorry, I'm a little too angry to be insightful right now.


  1. See this is why womenfolk should not be allowed to talk in public, you are ruining the white man and all his power, now get back in the kitchen and make me a pie.

    /misogynistic cartman-esque satire

  2. But PF, Men Know Things! They especially know (a) what it's like to be a woman in our society and (b) that feminism is wrong despite the fact that most of them are completely illiterate when it comes to feminist writings.

    You know, because they're men. And men Know Things!

  3. I agree, and I don't, and I do again...

    I'll agree that the Twilight series seems to have some distinct misogynistic undertones (along with hyper-rebellious and self-destructive undertones). I'll agree I generally wouldn't want my hypothetical children exposed to such asinine ideas. However, Twilight is popular amongst the tween and teen crowd, and most any child who's even remotely interested in the subject matter itself or in being in on the new popular stuff WILL be exposed - somehow, someway.
    On that basis, as a hypothetical parent I think I'd bite the bullet and get the book for the kid myself, and perhaps even get my own copy, and try to maintain a dialogue with my child about the book.
    Returning to reality, though, it sounds like this person you were arguing with would have no interest in that level of participation and would, or even if they did would make things worse through dialogue... so you're kinda back to square one there.

  4. Men like him are imbeciles, and Twilight is quite possibly one of the worst books (or series of books) that has ever been penned in history. Not just the style and prose, which are pathetic, or the story, which is corny and clichéd to the point of brain death, or the characters, which are uni-dimensional toerags, or the misogynistic, “I-need-that-purdy-guy-and-his-spawn-or-I’m-worthless” mindset, which is deplorable, or …

    You know, it’s a good thing I run out of ideas of things to attack, or I may just take up half the page length all to myself. But Twilight really fucking sucks. I honestly find no redeeming qualities to it, books or movies, whatsoever (and this is very rare; I can find positive qualities in nearly anything, usually), and not only that, but Stephenie Meyer manages to elevate Dan Brown’s writing to pure excellence by comparison[*]. To think that her crap shares the same section as Harry Potter nearly makes me sick.

    Uh … sorry for the mini-rant. I usually hate books and flicks like these, but something about Twilight really picks a nerve, then stretches it, burns it, chews on it and then nukes it. Uuurgh.

    [*] Although, I really actually like Dan Brown’s books. Not the best written ever, perhaps, but damned if they aren’t juicy page-turners.

  5. I get the "misogynist" vibe from the book too, and I don't think a 10 year old should be reading it. Then again, I don't think a 10 year old shouldn't be reading it either. Students have to wade their through a fair share of garbage literature when they're younger in order to get a handle on progressively higher levels of reading, and to get some exposure to new and potentially unpleasant points of view. I think Twilight fits that bill rather nicely! Just need to make sure that the kid can figure out what it is that is wrong with the story (ideally they can do it on their own, but warning them beforehand is probably safer...).

  6. People are such dumb fucks sometimes. This dude wouldn't have the first fucking clue as to how damaging messages like those in Twilight are to young women. And despite this he still can't just shut the fuck up.

  7. my younger neice, who is almost 6, has been in "i'm a princess and i'm gonna marry the prince when i grow up" mode for over a year.
    i asked my mom to not expose neice to twilight.
    and my mom said "why not? i think their cute"

    this is the woman who didn't want me reading ANNE MCCAFFREY because there is an almost-not-quite-and-totally-only-implied "sex scene" in one of the books. at FIFTEEN she wouldn't let me read PERN - by my almost 6 year old neice can read TWILIGHT?

    she really, truly doesn't understand. i pointed out how she didn't let me read Pern - her reply was "well, in Twilight they get married before they have sex"

    my mom actually IS a feminist, btw.

  8. The real comparison to make is between the crap that is Twilight and Buffy. Buffy is a strong, female, who does fall in love with a vampire. And guess what? She's not pathetic and whimpering when he isn't around. Heck, she can beat the crap out of him.

    Twilight's misogyny is most apparent when one compares it to the pre-existing material.


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