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FMCG: Chapter 12

It is perhaps fitting that my old friend Benjamin Wheeler begins his thoughts on Chapter 12: Balancing with, “Oh, Twilight, I’ve missed you. Since our last time together I’ve thought about you a lot, watched the movie based on you, cringed at the movie based on you, made fun of the movie based on you. And all of this made my more excited to get back to you, and finally, this windy afternoon, I have.” Benjamin was away for a while when real life called. I have been away too. My brain was too crammed with my new job and new schedule that I haven’t had time to ponder much. Lately, if I’ve had any blog time I’ve spent it over at Letters To Twilight, for the laughs. I have missed Twilight.

I’m sure that anyone who was following this thread is long gone, but I’ll continue on at whatever pace I can manage. My apologies to anyone who is annoyed that I could not keep up. In case you have forgotten the rules, go read his article and then come back for some discussion with me.

I’m with you on the movie, Benjamin. We could spend a lot of blog time on the various levels of horrible there.

We get some suggestion that Edward is comfortable, both ethically and practically, with breaking in Bella’s house. Instead of Bella walking home, Edward tells her (not offers to, mind you) that he will go to her house and retrieve her truck, which will be in the parking lot when she gets out of school. Bella notes that the key “was in the pocket of a pair of jeans I wore Wednesday, under a pile of clothes in the laundry room” (243). This is followed with a rather nonchalant, “Even if he broke into my house, or whatever he was planning, he’d never find it” (243). Have we actually reached so quickly the point in the story at which Bella is okay with Edward breaking into her house without her permission? It seems so.

I didn’t consider it B & E by this point either. Edward had been doing it for months, and Bella and I had had time to adjust to that. Besides, to me it was more like Edward trying to make up for inconveniencing Bella and showing off for her, at the same time. It made Edward more of a mystery to Bella, so win for him.

What really disturbed me about this was that Bella never refers to “keys”. She only ever says her “key”. She carries around her single car key and uses a house key kept under the eave. She never mentions a key ring or a keychain. I wondered why Stephenie Meyer wrote it like this. It’s like Bella considers herself a guest in Charlie’s house even though she comes in an takes charge. I suppose coming in part way through Junior year with, presumably, no intention of staying much past graduation, she must have considered herself a houseguest and endeavored to make her presence minimal.

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June 24, 2009 Posted by | Stephenie Meyer, Twi-blogs, Twilight | , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

FMCG: Chapter 10

Feminist Male College Graduate, Benjamin Wheeler, is as completed Chapter 10: Interrogations.  This was a fun one for many Twilight fans. It held scenes which many of us missed in the movie, such as when Edward shows up at Bella’s in the morning to offer her a ride and a jacket, thus showing us that he’s not only thinking of her safety, but, we can guess, her comfort. Edward and Bella sort of come out of the closet that there might be something going on between them. Go see what Benjamin has to say and then come back for some discussion, if you will.

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May 14, 2009 Posted by | Bella Swan, Edward Cullen, Twi-blogs, Twilight, Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Feminist Male College Graduate: Chapter 9

Benjamin Wheeler has now blogged about Chapter 9: Theory. I’ve given up hope of seeing a Unicorn in the making. I don’t think it’s going well. Go check it out and then come back for the discussion.

So, my spider-senses tell me that this is the chapter in which I’m supposed to feel the warm-fuzzies and excitement over the fact that Bella and Edward have finally shut up and have actually announced, more or less, that they want each other.

Yes, warm-fuzzies and excitement would pretty much cover it. If you’re not feeling it, I question why you are continuing to read. I get that you’re probably curious about why everyone has jumped on the Twilight bandwagon. I see from the tweets on your blog that you view it as a bandwagon. I look at it as more of word of mouth. Let me explain how I found Twilight. I was on a business trip last summer and one of the guys from my office, I noticed, was pulling out a book every chance he got. At the airport, on the shuttle busses, during our downtime, everywhere possible. I finally had to break my rule about interrupting other people’s public reading to ask him what was so good in there that he couldn’t join us out here. He told me it was a story about young love and vampires. It was a four day business trip that was packed with activities. He brought both Twilight and New Moon, and finished them both. Immediately following that trip I travelled to my family reunion. My cousin, knowing my tastes tend toward the geeky, said, “You’ve read Twilight, right?” Her tone suggested she assumed I had. She was so excited she had read it before me and that she got to be the one to introduce it to me. She told me a similar bit about young love and vampires. I asked her if New Moon was one of the books because that was the title I remembered my co-worker reading. She told me it was. I decided I would read it immediately upon my return home, which I did.

So you see, word of mouth got me to read the books. People who knew me suggested them to me as material I would enjoy. It was not in any way jumping on the bandwagon. When my co-workers started seeing me reading these books obsessively they were curious. I told them a little about it, and they decided they might like it. They picked it up. From there their friends started reading. Of all  the people I know who have read Twilight you are the only one who picked it up with any bandwagon in mind. You’re the only one I know of who is reading it because everyone else is. No judgement here. I just find that fascinating.

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May 11, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 13 Comments

Feminist Male College Graduate: Chapter 8

I think I should probably hold my tongue for Chapter 8. I don’t think I’ll be able to though. What do you all think about his remarks? Port Angeles is a pretty important scene for Bella and Edward.

But at a discourse level, I’m not sure I like the implication that a woman can’t walk down the street without getting stalked by these kinds of people. Meyer presents this as something Bella has worried about before, but apparently not enough to remember to bring her pepper spray, which Bella has not unpacked yet.

Maybe this is a gender difference showing here. Women are taught to be wary, especially when walking by themselves. I can’t tell you how many talks and seminars we had about this on my all-girls floor in the dorms Freshman year. The bigger the city, the more wary you should be. Bella is from a pretty big city. It would have been drilled into her head. The seemingly slow, country feel of Forks seems to have lulled her into a false sense of security and she has an error in judgement in Port Angeles.

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May 8, 2009 Posted by | Bella Swan, Edward Cullen, Stephenie Meyer, Twi-blogs, Twilight | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Feminist Male College Graduate: Chapter 6

Brace yourselves. Benjamin wasn’t a fan of Chapter 6: Scary Stories. He does include a disclaimer about language, but really his post is quite funny. You should check it out and then come back for my commentary.

You know, even if this book is 498 pages long, I still would expect more to happen in the first hundred pages plot-wise. Bella moves to Forks. Bella goes to high school. Bella almost dies, is saved by uncannily beautiful boy who is obsessed with her. That’s it.

Yeah, a lot of people complain about that. I think Stephenie Meyer even said that the beginning isn’t the strongest. Still, I like it. It’s sort of like real life in that it just kind of goes along.  It’s especially like high school life. You go to class. You go to lunch. Someone makes you uncomfortable in the cafeteria. Crap it’s time for gym. You you go home. Repeat. Interwoven into all of that is the drama. Staring at the boy across the room, and trying not to get caught. Almost getting flattened by a van. Fainting in the blood lab (someone’s gotta do it, might as well be Bella).  You know, the day to day stuff. It’s about to pick up from here, don’t worry. At least it did for me. For all I know you’re already in the grips of it and will not find time to blog until you finish the book.

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May 4, 2009 Posted by | Actors, Bella Swan, Edward Cullen, Stephenie Meyer, Twi-blogs, Twilight | , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Feminist Male College Graduate: Chapter 5

Benjamin Wheeler read Chapter 5, Blood Type, and I can’t wait to read what he wrote. This was one of my favorite chapters in the book. I sorely missed it in the movie. I’ll be back for some commentary once I’ve read his article

I was surprised Benjamin did not write much on Chapter 5. It’s such an important chapter, in my mind. You find out Edward is always watching out for (or just watching) Bella, even when he isn’t supposed to be around. Where else might he be lurking? We find out Bella might have more in common with Edward than we imagined. She has a freaky reaction to blood? We might assume vampires do, too, and that’s why Edward skipped the lab. At one point, she lets Edward know that she can even smell the blood and that’s what makes her sick. For a moment he gets a look on his face. He’s questioning what she is all about, and we start to see a little about why he’s obsessed with her too. He finds her interesting, different.

May 3, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Feminist Male College Graduate: Chapter 4

Chapter 4, Invitations, is next up on Benjamin Wheeler’s blog. It was a short post, but I think I might have quite a bit to say. We’ll see. Don’t forget to read Benjamin’s blog. It’ll make much more sense in context.

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May 3, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Feminist Male College Graduate: Chapter 3

My friend Benjamin Wheeler has been busy. He’s read Chapters 3 & 4 of Twilight while I was off gaming this weekend. I’ll try to catch up as succinctly as possible.

Part of the reason I wanted to read this book was to see if my perspective as a man would offer a different reading than the women I’ve spoken with who’ve read the book have had.

Part of the reason? What were you other reasons? Just curious. Are you a vampire fan? Is it because everyone’s reading it and you want to see what the fuss is about? Is it because everyone’s reading it and you don’t want to be left out? Did your girl say, “Twilight has changed my life forever and you will never understand me again if you don’t read it.”? Again, just curious. My Twi-friends and I have been wondering what goes into the creation of a Unicorn. Many would love to turn their husbands and boyfriends.

Now, I’m still very early in the book, but I’m finding myself actually liking Bella, both as a character and as a narrator, but, oh God, I cannot stand this Edward guy.

Good, I’m glad you’re liking Bella more. I’m reading The Dresden Files right now. I’m on Book 4 and have decided I don’t like Dresden very much. These books are also told in the first person. It’s miserable being in the head of someone you don’t really like. Thank goodness a new Sookie Stackhouse book comes out Tuesday, and I can go to my safe place. As for Edward, I can’t help you out there. I imagine you love him at times, hate him at others. Well, really all the characters try you patience at times. They’re really wonderfully flawed, the lot of them.

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May 3, 2009 Posted by | Bella Swan, Edward Cullen, Essays, Midnight Sun, Stephenie Meyer, Twi-blogs, Twilight | , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Feminist Male College Graduate: Chapter 2

This is fun. Mr. Benjamin Wheeler has finished Chapter 2 of Twilight and has graciously blogged about it already.  I don’t know if there will be much room for discussion on my part this chapter as I agree with just about everything here. Let’s see how it goes. Sometimes I surprise myself. I am a wordy girl after all.

I think a tempting way to read this is with Charlie filling the role of the undomesticated male, and Bella filling the role of the domesticated woman, but I think that’s unnecessarily reductive.

I agree with you here; it is tempting. I think that is a huge reason why so many people are so willing to label The Twilight Saga as sexist, or as having set the feminist movement back decades. The sad part about that for me is that these people seem to think that being a housewife or stay-at-home mom is a bad thing. Personally, I think the feminist movement is about having choices, options. If it’s your choice to stay at home, then great. You have weighed the options for yourself and your family, and presumably came to the conclusion that staying home was the best choice. It was not having a choice that was the problem that started the movement, I believe. In other words, it wasn’t the belief that every woman should be in the workplace with men, but rather the belief that women should be allowed to work on equal footing with men.

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April 30, 2009 Posted by | Bella Swan, Stephenie Meyer, Twi-blogs, Twilight, Uncategorized | , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Feminist Male College Graduate: Chapter 1

Mr. Benjamin Wheeler writes:

Immediately, Bella’s main female influence is a dependant woman with no apparent financial or personal agency. Without the masculine influence of Phil, she would not be able to support herself, either with money or with food. The most basic elements of her survival is dependent on a man’s benevolence, a man who will also thankfully be there to call when her mother inevitably gets lost. Serious red flag, noble readers, serious.

I suppose writing is a sort of double-edge sword. If you write realistic, or at least honest, characters, you get accused of possessing the same flaws as your characters. If you don’t, you get accused of being a no-talent hack with a penchant for writing stereo-types. You can’t please everyone. I’d prefer to err on the side of honesty, as I believe Stephenie Meyer has done. After all, as I’ve said before, if all characters are paragons of virtue, we’d have some pretty boring books. There would be no drama. Furthermore, this would be the literary version of self-esteem robbing magazine covers; everywhere we looked we would see perfection.

In Chapter 1 of Twilight Bella describes her mother as loving, erratic, and hare-brained. She is admitting right off that Renee is flawed. Renee is a pretty dependent sort, without even realizing that she is, I think. That doesn’t mean that the books or the author are anti-feminist, as Benjamin described in his original post announcing he was reading Twilight. It merely means that we have an honest, flawed character. This gives Bella some back history. We now know that Bella grew up sort of caring for her mother. Indeed, she was moving to Forks, a place she hates, to further care for her mother by letting her have her newlywed time. Despite having a dependent role-model, Bella is already, at the tender age of 17, showing remarkable strength.

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April 30, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , | 6 Comments