Guys, I hate Twilight like the rest of you.
And I agree with all the problematic subtext. And the not-so-sub-text. I think the books took an empty shell of a ‘this could be you, lady’ and threw her into a disturbing, controlling, fatal relationship. One that should never be exulted as true romance in the eyes of young people. And the werewolf pedophilia thing – also creepy.
Having seen the movies (in a snarky, pass the popcorn ladies, kind of way) I am really getting fed up with so much criticism surrounding the fact that Bella winds up bruised after the intense, headboard-breaking sex she has with Edward. That guy’s a self-deprecating, stalky, manipulative douchebag don’t get me wrong. But the sex? She openly discusses how much she enjoyed it. She looks at her bruises in the mirror and smiles. She spends the remainder of their pre-demonbaby honeymoon trying to convince Edward to fuck her again, which he eventually does (it’s implied in the movie anyway).
Should Bella even be in that relationship? No. Is the sex problematic because it embodies the control he has over her, leaving her bruised? Maybe. But can you keep equating breaking a headboard and leaving someone bruised as bad? No. You can’t.
Plenty of people in consensual sexual relationships wind up bruised (either accidentally or on purpose) during sex, and perhaps it’s just my interest in BDSM culture and the lens that comes with that, but I spent the entire post-coitus segment of the movie going “Bella is digging the rough sex” and so did the people I went to see the movie with.
The relationship is completely fucked, but it’s consensual and so is the sex. The shitty move is that Edward, in his 1900’s
sexist benevolence, is the one who makes her feel ashamed of enjoying her post rough-up glow. He won’t bang her again. She has to convince him she really really liked it.
I get that in the context of an otherwise scary relationship, the headboard breaking, pillow massacre sex can be perceived as another mark against them, but it’s actually just rough sex. And I’m finding all the commentary citing the sex as part of Bella’s “desire for all the wrong things” or an example of abuse in their relationship, really sex negative. And a shaming judgement on what many, many women also desire.
The critiques are coming from (usually) sex positive sources and feminists across the interwebs, and I have to say that I’m really surprised that these people are so quick to throw someone’s sexual preference into the big bag of bad that encapsulates the Twilight series. All that it’s achieving is making people that also enjoy looking in the mirror and seeing visible marks of how much fun they had after sex, feel like their sex lives share some problematic characterisation of an unhealthy relationship. And they get that enough already without needing to read it from places that are supposed to be sex positive.