Midnight Sun of a Bitch

I’ve been reading Midnight Sun. Research! I swear! Ok, and at least a bit of being unable to look away from the train wreck. This is supposed to be sexy, people? Really? I won’t go over most of it. I’ll leave that in the most capable hands of Mrs. Hyde. There is one point, though, that actually stands above the rest for disturbing me.

Scroll down to page 212 to find this gem:

Yet a monster was loose in the streets of Port Angeles. A human monster- did that make him the humans’ problem? To commit the murder I ached to commit was wrong. I knew that. But leaving him free to attack again could not be the right thing either. 

The blond hostess from the restaurant. The waitress I’d never really looked at. Both had irritated me in a trivial way, but that didn’t mean they deserved to be in danger.

Either one of them might be somebody’s Bella.

That realization decided me.

Well I’m sure Mike would be relieved to know that being of trivial irritation means death isn’t necessary. Wait- sorry- Mike is male and therefore has a hardon for Bella. That makes dreaming about killing or maiming him sweet and protective and stuff.

Back to my point. The women only matter because a man might decide to give them meaning.

Apparently Midnight Sun was written because people were misunderstanding Edward. You know- I liked Twilight the first time I read it. I read it over one night and could self-insert pretty easily with Bella since I’m a fair-skinned brunette with a tendency to be clumsy, a history of being unpopular, and I’m pretty sure my head was stuck well up my own ass at that age. I could even forgive Edward a lot of his bad behavior. Dude was born in a different century and had spent 80 or so years being stronger, faster, and more indestructible than humans. It’s fair of him to consider himself superior. A 17-year-old from World War I would also have been more mature than most of the current lot of teenagers even without having 80 years to work on it. He was having trouble interacting appropriately with a human girl because he had no practice at it. His concern about her fragility is because, compared to him, she really is breakable.

It all falls apart, though, upon reading Midnight Sun. The above quote was really just the icing on the cake of awful that is Edward Cullen. Guess what, Eddie? Women didn’t get the vote until 1920, but they’d been fighting for it since 1848. If they are being recognized as voting citizens, the fact that they have worth past what a man deigns to give them is, well, a given.

Saints vs Edward

In my research about women, feminism, relationships, and abuse, I have run into people saying that feminism is no longer necessary. Its outlived its time. Women now have the upper hand. I beg to fucking differ. THIS is why we still need feminism. This . . . creature was written as the fantasy man of a contemporary woman. The story is in a contemporary time. The character was born too damn recently to legitimately say that the idea is just because it’s from the time when he was actually living. (I don’t really care how long ago it was written or set, no romantic hero I could fall for would ever suggest such a thing. Crap- is that my feminism showing?)

The women only matter because a man might decide to give them meaningYou know who thinks this way? Abusers. The woman’s worth can only be measured by what she’s worth to him. This character was written as, and is being read as, The Perfect Man. This book is being read by an appalling number of young (and not so young) women at a time in their lives when they are still forming their ideas of what a good relationship looks like. So they are being set up to see abusers as good men to date. Brilliant.

Why is this a job for feminism? After all, it was written by a woman.

Women are not immune to falling into the habits and thoughts that demean women. It wasn’t fathers that insisted their daughters get their feet bound or be corset-trained. Their mothers did it. They did it because they were so deeply entrenched in the patriarchal society that they thought they were doing right by their daughters as their mothers did right by them. This isn’t so different- it’s just that the bindings are on the mind, not the body. If the majority of society says that women are nothing without a man, then it is in a mother’s best interest to help her daughter get a man. If that means teaching her to sit down, be quiet, and stay chaste until her True Love comes along, then that’s what happens. When that happens, we end up with half-women like Bella that are so caught up in physical beauty and not offending their Man that they have no room in their lives for being, well, people. Guess what- this is a loss to both men and women.

Let’s see if we can rewrite it. We can keep his snobbish superiority and propensity to murder intact, even, but remove what makes him really dangerous to young women.

Yet a monster was loose in the streets of Port Angeles. A human monster- did that make him the humans’ problem? To commit the murder I ached to commit was wrong. I knew that. But leaving him free to attack again could not be the right thing either. 

The blond hostess from the restaurant. The waitress I’d never really looked at. Both had irritated me in a trivial way, but that didn’t mean they deserved to be in danger.

That realization decided me.

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