Movies: Breaking Dawn—Sex is Bad, Okay? And You Will Be Punished for Having It With a Life-Sucking Vampire Foetus. Sorry, Life-Sucking Vampire BABY!*

 

Much has been made of Stephenie Meye’s Mormon ways in the Twilight saga.

Breaking Dawn was the first installment in the franchise I’d seen since I started this blog and steering it in a more feminist, gender studies-related direction, so I was thoroughly looking forward to all the anti-feminist sentiment the film would be imbued with.

Sure, there was the inspiration for the title of this post—that sex is bad—along with pro-life and abusive partner-sympathising messages, but all in all, the movie bombed. Big time.

The first half was meant to fulfill diehard fans’ fantasies of Bella and Edward’s wedding, which was filled with angsty Bella’s fear as her father walked her down the aisle, which dissipated when she saw Edward because, you know, she’s nothing without him who keeps her grounded and ready to face her life-altering circumstances, and their first bed-breaking love making session, which I will return to momentarily.

The second half consisted of talking CGI werewolves, a life-sapping foetus—sorry, “baby!” as Rosalie so adamantly reminds us—turning Bella into a shell of her former self (who was fairly shell-like to begin with) and her transformation into a vampire.

I have many problems with Bella and Edward’s relationship, but I’ll try to confine them to the bounds of Breaking Dawn’s storyline.

On their honeymoon, Edward and Bella have sex for the first time. Even though Stephenie Meyer did her darndest to save the consummation of the relationship til the confines of marriage, she makes clear, by Bella getting pregnant, that any kind of sex that’s not solely for reproductive purposes is bad. And if a wife tries to seduce her husband, who is so selfless that he forgoes his own pleasure so as not to hurt his new bride, she will be punished with a fast-growing, nutrient-depleting, monster foetus—sorry, baby! On her very first try at lovemaking! Talk about anti-sex sentiments!

(I will say that the role reversal here was interesting; when do you see the female essentially begging for sex from a withholding husband?)

The bruises and the broken bed that occurs from Bella and Edward’s first night together seem a little too close to what might eventuate from a domestic violence incidence. Bella has been brainwashed by her emotionally abusive partner so that she rationalises that his violent behaviour was somehow her fault that he couldn’t control himself. Classic Stockholm syndrome if ever I saw it.

And, of course, there’s the pro-life proselystisation that comes with Renesmee’s accelerated conception and birth. Fitting, considering the hullabaloo in the States, particularly, over abortion and “personhood”. (Does “personhood” apply when the foetus—sorry, BABY!—is only half human?) Under the failed personhood amendment, abortion would be outlawed, even in the case of rape, incest and when the life of the mother is threatened. Stupidity reigns supreme. I would like to think anyone in their right mind would terminate a life-threatening pregnancy, especially when the baby could potentially be a monster. At the very least, I’m sure a rich doctor who has an operating room (albeit one with floor to ceiling windows. Privacy much?) could have delivered the baby prematurely and placed it in an incubator.

Finally, what is up with Jacob imprinting on a newborn? And does Renesmee even have a say in Jacob’s undying love for her? Does Jacob’s imprinting mean that Renesmee essentially imprints on him, too? Or does she have to go about her life with Jacob waiting in the wings, whether she wants him there or not? If you though Edwards stalker tendencies were bad, you ain’t seen nothing yet!

Thank God there’s only one more movie left!

*Blanket spoiler alert.

Related: The Catholic Church is Not a Force for Good in the World.

Elsewhere: [Nightmares & Boners] Feminism, Sex, Abortion & Twilight’s Breaking Dawn.

[The Vine] Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn, Part 1 Review.

Image via IMDb.

Movies: I Don’t Know Why They Keep Making Chick Flicks Like This*.

 

Even though I’m still young and don’t have a potential baby daddy on the horizon, I’ve been contemplating children lately. How many I want, whether they’ll be biological or adopted, and how I’m going to handle (a) tiny human(s) demanding my attention 24/7. I just don’t know how parents do it!

In this day and age, with the rise of the stay-at-home dad, it’s not always the mothers’ responsibility to look after the home, the family and her workplace.

I Don’t Know How She Does It would have you think otherwise, though. Sarah Jessica Parker’s Kate Reddy is a high-flying investment banker who has a nanny during the day, but tries to spend as much time as she can with “the cutest guy she knows”, her husband, played by Greg Kinnear, and her two kids. I got the feeling that she never slept (the constant list making in bed at all hours of the night probably lent itself to this), was a walking zombie, spent minimal time with her husband and kids, spent her weekends hosting kids’ birthday parties and never had a spare moment for herself. If this is what motherhood and family life is like, I’m withdrawing my application.

But it’s not just the “out of touch”-ness of IDKHSDI, as Dana Stevens called it in her Slate review (my friend, Tess, who I went to see the movie with, drew ire with Kate’s “chronic over-apologising” and “persecution complex”, and I have to say I agree), nor the unrealistic and polar opposite portrayal of stay-at-home mums (Busy Phillips’ character, Wendy, attends the gym from 8am to 2pm every school day. My mum was a stay-at-home one and I can tell you THAT JUST DOES NOT HAPPEN! I’m insulted on behalf of housewives everywhere.) that infuriated me. It was the blatant pro-life message the film pushed.

Kate’s junior co-worker, Momo, played brilliantly by Olivia Munn, was all about work, with some occasional no-strings-attached sex to balance it out. Momo is socially awkward, hates children, and thinks Kate’s family compromises her ability to do her job.

So when Momo finds out she’s pregnant and tells Kate she’s going to “take care of it”, Kate launches into a “creepy pro-life proselytisation”. In the next scene, Momo is keeping the baby. If that’s not a unabashed punishment for a young, attractive woman enjoying sex without commitment, I don’t know what is.

As Irin Carmon puts it, “… Why, if having a choice was so awesome, the young woman in the movie couldn’t have made another one. You know, the one she convincingly would have wanted to make.”

*Blanket spoiler alert.

Elsewhere: [Slate] I Don’t Know How She Does It Reviewed: Sarah Jessica Parker Rides the Rapids of Upper-Middle-Class Parenthood.

[Jezebel] My Group Therapy Session with Sarah Jessica Parker.

Image via BoxOffice.com.

Magazines: Who the Bloody Hell is Body-Bullying Lara Bingle?

 

Lara Bingle looks banging on the cover of this week’s Who.

In the article, Bingle admits her body isn’t the same as it was in her Tourism Australia days, and that she now has to watch what she puts in it and how she looks after herself.

I applaud Bingle for slamming the body police with such body-positive quotes in the article as, “Tread carefully, because it doesn’t just affect me, it affects all women who read it… They have to ask themselves, would they do that to their wives, girlfriends or sisters? It’s just a negative message that doesn’t help anyone,” and “If I’m fat, how does that make a girl who is a size 12–14 feel, and that’s the size of an average Australian woman? It’s ridiculous.” What’s ridiculous is that she even has to pose on the cover of a national weekly to defend herself for other peoples’ problems with how she looks.

I’ve always liked Bingle, and her more curvaceous, healthy and bosomy body just makes me like her even more. It also makes me feel more positive about my own body.

But in the article, Bingle laments the “ripple effect” that has occurred when the way she looks is discussed in the media makes everyday Joe Blows feel like they can comment on her, too; whether that be positively or negatively.

So I’m going to try and refrain from saying anything else about the way she looks, and liken the situation instead to a similar occurrence last week with Miley Cyrus and her own body bullies.

After some YouTube commenter labeled Cyrus fat, she took to Twitter and posted a picture of an anorexic woman:

“By calling girls like me fat, this is what you’re doing to other people. I love MYSELF and if you could say the same you wouldn’t be sitting on your computer trying to hurt others… I don’t wanna be shaped like a girl. I LOVE being shaped like a WOMAN and trust me, ladies, your man won’t mind either.”

While it’s great that these celebs are taking a stand, the fact that anyone has to justify weight gain, loss or anything appearance-related is kind of sad.

Related: Ricki-Lee: Who Cares?

Who Condemns Baby-Body Bullying…

Katie Holmes in Who: Do Celeb Bodies Make Us Feel Better About Our Own?

Elsewhere: [MamaMia] Miley 1. Weight Bullies 0.

Image via Who.

Does Gloria Steinem Think the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show is Feminist?

 

From “Gloria Steinem… at Glamour’s Women of the Year Awards” on New York Magazine’s Party Lines website:

“‘Well, it’s employing those women… But women’s bodies are not just ornaments, they’re instruments… Walk around the street and look at real people. That’s much more helpful than those ads.’ Does she think average women wear sexy lingerie? ‘You know, somebody must be buying it in the stores, but I don’t think they’re wearing wings.’”

Elsewhere: [New York Magazine] Party Lines: Gloria Steinem, Emma Stone & Karlie Kloss at Glamour’s Women of the Year Awards.

Image via Fashionizers.

On the (Rest of the) Net.

 

Tavi Gevinson on her “First Encounters with the Male Gaze” and “How to Bitchface”. Love. [Rookie]

So, I’m not the only twenty-something who’s never been in a serious relationship! MamaMia’s Lucy Ormonde writes:

“Maybe we’re too picky. Maybe we’re too focused on our careers, too busy to look. Or maybe we should stop congregating in my living room and, you know, get out there.”

While I agree with most all she said, I have to argue that we’re not “too” anything. It’s the guys’ problem if they can’t hand our standards, careers and busy lives. Amiright?

To all the street harassers: we’re not here for your entertainment. [Emanix]

The racial and cultural limitations of “Share a Coke With…” [MamaMia]

Still with race, the racial politics of the Occupy protests. [Racialicious, via Jezebel]

On smacking. While I don’t think it’s something I would employ in disciplining my future children, I don’t have a problem with other people smacking their children. But Katharine Cook does make some good points on the contrary. [MamaMia]

The problem with asserting that “real women have curves”. So what do other women have? And are non-curvy women not real? [Jezebel]

Links from the #MenCallMeThings movement: Tiger Beatdown and New Statesman.

Men also explain things to me. [Alternet]

God save Community. [Jezebel]

An oldie but a goodie: deconstructing “Sarah Palin Feminism”. [Jezebel]

Images via Rookie, Community Things.

The Kardashian Backlash—Overreaction?

 

I bet when Kim filed for divorce after 72 days of marriage to Kris Humphries, she didn’t expect a backlash this extreme. I mean, who expected a backlash at all? Celebs get married and divorced in a heartbeat all the time. And there hasn’t been a mass turning on reality TV’s favourite most famous family despite all the other desperate and fame-whorish things they’ve done/attached their name to (portapotties and a personalised credit card with exorbitant rates, anyone?), so why now?

Perhaps it’s because, firstly, rumours of Kim “recruiting” potential future husbands, the cliché proposal with rose petals and the $10 million made-for-TV wedding event did nothing to quell suspicion that not only was Kim and Kris’ whole relationship a sham, but that the Kardashian family in general aren’t real in the slightest.

And secondly, if conservatives are campaigning to never allow the gays access to marriage licenses at the risk of tarnishing the “sanctity of marriage”, what the hell does a 72-day charade union say about the sanctity of marriage? (Yes, I’m well aware this joke has been done to death in the media and on the comedian circuit.)

Yes, those reasons are certainly valid ones to perhaps stop watching the show and buying the gossip mags. But Kim Kardashian and her family have never been the best role models (hello, Khloe and your DUI arrest and lock-up!). This is hardly the worst crime against humanity celebrity they’ve committed, and it’s sure not to be the last.

But, by the same token, perhaps a family who’ve built their brand around being famous and making money by any means necessary deserves what they’ve got coming to them?

Personally, I was shocked at the divorce announcement and clicked on the links for the first couple of days, but now I’m—as I’m sure everyone else is—sick of it. To me, it’s just another chapter in the Keeping Up with the Kardashians soap opera. I’ve become desensitised to it all.

So what do you think? Is Kim’s divorce the final straw? Will you stop supporting her brand? Do you even care?

Related: The Kim Kardashian Backlash.

Is Kris Jenner a Bad Mother?

Reality TV & Porn Stars Go Together Like “Peas & Carrots”.

Elsewhere: [Jezebel] Kim Kardashian’s Divorce, By the (Incredibly Ridiculous) Numbers.

[The Pursuit of Harpyness] I Can’t Believe I’m Writing This, But…

Image via News.com.au.

Magazines: People’s Sexiest Man as Relationship Counselling Tool?

 

In this weekend’s Sunday Life, Clem Bastow writes about Ryan Gosling and celebrity crushes as being good for a relationship.

The article got me thinking about how Ryan Gosling—who’s held a soft spot in most women’s hearts since The Notebook, but has really launched himself into the ideal man stratosphere in 2011, with his “Photoshopped abs” and busting up fights in the streetlost out to People’s Sexiest Man Alive Bradley Cooper in this year’s contest.

Bastow’s article heavily focuses on the (imaginary?) war between these two, which I find quite interesting. In my mind, Cooper has remained irrelevant this year, bar The Hangover Part II and his blink-and-you’ll-miss-it alleged fling with a newly single Jennifer Lopez. Perhaps if this was 2009, Cooper would have rightly won the competition. But how can you compete with Feminist Ryan Gosling, rescue dogs, faux tattoos, Emma Stone and that drawling, brooding thing Gosling has going on?

I’m not even a Ryan fan, per se, but I can see People made the wrong choice.

What do you think? Cooper or Gosling? Or someone else? Should we even be celebrating the rating of a man’s sexiness? (If it’s based on looks alone, which I believe Cooper’s win is, then perhaps it’s not such a good idea. But sexiness encompasses a whole host of qualities other than how a man looks out of his shirt, and Gosling certainly possesses said qualities.)

Elsewhere: [Sydney Morning Herald] Can a Crush Be Good for You?

[Feminist Ryan Gosling] Homepage.

[Jezebel] Watch Ryan Gosling, Hero, Break Up a Random Street Fight.

[Jezebel] Heroes Protest Ryan Gosling Losing “Sexiest Man Alive” Title Outside People Offices.

Image via Feminist Ryan Gosling.

On Kreayshawn, Lana Del Rey, Jealousy & Being Sexy & Sassy. Phew!

 

From “Kreayshawn, Lana Del Rey & High School Style Ladyhate Online” by Meg Clark on Good Morning Midnight:

“… The necessary performativity of sex appeal in the feminine, and the fact that feminine sex appeal is essentially defined by performativity, artifice, and decoration. Personally, I’m fine with Del Rey’s big hair, pouty face, winged eyeliner, lipgloss, and staged nostalgia-sexy photos: I do the same thing on a lesser level every day when I tame the wild-haired bleary-eyed stubble-legged beast who wakes up in my bed into the groomed, coiffed, red-lipped vanilla-scented thing I am when I show up to the office by 10. This is all part of an elaborate joke I’m playing on you where you think my eyes are actually this big and my skin this even, where you think I just roll out of bed dressed this nice.

“…On some level, ladies, it seems that perhaps we sneer and comment and snark and write long academic articles on how hard she [Kreayshawn] sucks and send naked photos of her around and point out that she looks like Casey Anthony precisely because she seems so confident, so assured of and indifferent to her own sex appeal, so blithely unaware or indifferent to anything she might do wrong, so ready to roll her eyes at us or shrug her shoulders, and so unwilling to throw herself at boys’ feet. And we are totally not cool with that… We need to criticize girls less when they do it, because, again, dudes do it all the time and we’re all oh, whatever, totally normal.

“… We can note that these are startlingly similar tactics, and ones we all probably experienced or witnessed in junior high school.  This pretty girl, look, she wasn’t always this pretty, you could totally nail this bland bitch.  This sassy girl, look, she’s slutty too, look at all that attitude gone when she’s just tits n ass! This pretty girl, she isn’t competition for us, because she’s not actually pretty! This sassy girl, she isn’t actually competition either, she’s just another dumb slut! Phew! I was worried for a minute there.

“… Why do we never seem to stop and note that wait, maybe part of this nasty reaction I’m having has to do with something else—something else nasty reserved for especially ladies who make us somehow uncomfortable, who fit partially but maybe not entirely into stereotypes we more easily understand? Why don’t we talk about this, too?”

Go and read the rest of the article; it’s brilliant!

Elsewhere: [Good Morning Midnight] Kreayshawn, Lana Del Rey & High School Style Ladyhate Online.

Images via The Faster Times, Kid Kills Piano.

TV: Rihanna Upholds Traditional Gender Roles.

 

Rihanna was a guest on The Ellen Degeneres Show this past week and she had this to say about the kind of man she goes for and what she’s like in a relationship:

“I can’t have guys that are intimidated by me. I like men that are more aggressive… I like them to be sure of themselves and know that [they’re] the man. I’m the lady and the only way for us to make this work is for us to play our role. You know, I can’t really be the man for you—I don’t want to have to be—I’m the man at work all the time.”

Related: Rihanna’s “Man Down”: Revenge is a Dish Best Served in Cold Blood.

“Whips & Chains Excite Me” Take 2.

“Chains & Whips Excite Me…”: The Underlying Message in Music Videos.

Rihanna’s “S&M”: Is It Really So Much Worse Than Her Other Stuff?

Elsewhere: [Jezebel] Jay-Z Says He Won’t Make the Same Mistakes His Father Did.

Image via YouTube.

Movies: Generation Y, Fame & Technology According to Scream 4.

 

Jill: “See, with you the world just heard about what happened but with us, they’re gonna see it. It’s going to be a worldwide sensation. I mean, people have gotta see this shit! It’s not like anyone reads anymore. We’re gonna know fame like you never even dreamed of… I told so many lies I actually started to believe them. I really think that I was born for this… Do you know what it was like growing up in this family; related to you? I mean, all I ever heard was ‘Sidney this’ and ‘Sidney that’. And ‘Sidney, Sidney, Sidney’. You were always just so fucking special! Well, now I’m the special one… What the media really loves, baby, is a sole survivor. Just ask you know who.”

Sidney: “[You killed] even your friends?”

Jill: “My friends?! What world are you living in?! I don’t need friends. I need fans. Don’t you get it?! This has never been about killing you. It’s about becoming you. I mean, for fuck’s sake, my own mother had to die… so I could stay true to the original. It’s sick, right? Well sick is the new sane. You had your fifteen minutes, now I want mine! I mean, what am I supposed to do? Go to college, grad school, work?! Look around; we all live in public now, we’re all on the internet. How do you think people become famous anymore? You don’t have to achieve anything. You’ve just gotta have fucked up shit happen to you.”

The meta madness that is Scream 4 really delves into the fame obsession Generation Y has, as well as the importance of technology: Billy Loomis was a suspect in the first Scream because he had a cell phone; now, as Jill said, everyone’s on the internet and anyone could be getting up to “fucked up shit”. Just ask that guy from The Collectors or that Melbourne couple on the run.

The movie also plays on living up to the standard of famous older relatives: Jill Roberts (meta!) to Neve Campbell’s Sidney could be seen as a reflection of Emma Roberts growing up with Julia as an aunty, or Rory Culkin forever living in the shadow of big brother Macaulay.

Related: Scream 4 Review.

I Scream, You Scream, We All Scream for Feminism!

Image via IMDb.