I’m Not That Messed Up

I’ve been working on a project inspired by the phenomenon sweeping our nation called 50 Shades of Twilight. (I know that technically they’re two different stories, but we all know they aren’t.) I’ve been combing through both series to pull out the pertinent plot points. (Stop laughing- I have to call the scenes something.) I’ve been working for quite a while now to weave them together into some sort of cohesive story. (Also, to add a plot- still working on that.) This was first inspired after reading 50 Shades of Grey and hearing that this story was touted as an adult romance to aspire to. We’ve all heard that. Christian Grey is the new Sean Connery or something? (Sorry, Christian- without the accent, you don’t stand a chance. I don’t care how tousled your hair is.)

My brain started working, changing the story, asking what if as a good writer always does. What it came up with was: What if a real-life person did meet and fall in love with a real-life Ice Prince? What would really happen in a relationship with the sort of man girls (Twilight) and women (50SoG) are being told to attach themselves to? What would happen if the Ethnic Friend (don’t tell me you don’t know who that is) was actually called on trying to force his affections on her?

I had just finished the 50 Shades series when I started this, and I re-read the first two in the Twilight series. Ok, I thought, I have this. Jose was exaggerated from Jacob when he assaulted the female lead. I can tone it back down a bit because, honestly, of all the characters, I like Jacob the best. He can be a bit of an idiot, but he’s a 16-year-old boy. Also, while a lot of Edward’s behavior is really not ok, he is a 100-year-old vampire with his first girlfriend. Which makes Christian worse, since Christian is supposed to be wholly human and raised in contemporary circumstances. 50 Shades of Grey really is the worse example- and not just because of the writing.

Then I started reading the Sporkings of Twilight. Oh dear god. (Careful about clicking on that link if you have anywhere you need to be in the next few days. It’s a little addictive.) I knew that I’d read just the surface when I was reading the books, and I’d still quit the first time after reading New Moon. For the second go-round, I actually switched from Team Jacob to Team Edward when reading New Moon. Edward deserved Bella. Jacob was something of an idiot, but he still deserved better. After all, he had the potential to outgrow the idiocy.  Apparently my brain had just shut out everything that happened in Eclipse and Breaking Dawn.

For the sporkings, counts are kept of the most egregious problems. A new one was added just for Eclipse. It was called “I’m Gonna Rape You” and it tallied whenever a character did something that was easily read as rape-tastic. The final count? 152. The only reason it didn’t come in as the highest count is because it tied with You Racist Bastards. There was one scene, though, that really made me start to re-think whether or not I was up to the task of dealing with these characters. I think I’ll leave this in the hands of das-mervin. (Trigger warning for that link.)

I just . . . I can’t . . . I think I’m going to stick with ignoring everything that happens in Eclipse and Breaking Dawn. There are a couple of things that I must include, like the baby, and maybe the bruising sex, but I’m going to admit that there are things I just can’t write. I can’t write that many genuinely screwed up characters. And I can’t write a male romantic interest that thinks it’s ok to rape his girl into loving him. I can’t turn an awkward, but generally likeable, character into that big of a douche.

I’m starting to think that I’m not messed up enough to write in the “tradition” of Twilight and 50 Shades of Grey. I’d say that was a good thing if I wasn’t sort of hoping for an insta-best-seller.

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Christian Grey Has Left the Movie

My plan is to focus on domestic violence for October. Sadly, this bit of celebrity trivia actually counts.

I don’t follow the news about the 50 Shades of Grey movie because, honestly, I don’t really care. I might rent it once it’s out on DVD, but that would be strictly to see if they were able to salvage the story at all. When it comes to who is associated with it, all I ask is that I don’t know and like them, because that would make me sad. There was one exception to that. I heard that Brett Easton Ellis was associated with it, and my first thought was- brilliant! After all, he did a really good job with another rich, bored playboy:

What? I couldn’t help myself.

 

Sadly, after reading the below, I am now only impressed with the writing, and not with the man.

Do correct me if I’m wrong, but I think there are plenty of gay men that are into women. They just don’t want to stick their penises into women. However, as a good actor, I can’t see any reason that he couldn’t pretend that he wanted to do that for the movie. Because, you know, most of acting is pretending to do things?

Anyway- on to the news that I stumbled across on Jenny Trout’s blog. Charlie Hunnam won’t be playing Christian Grey. Rejoice, Sons of Anarchy fans! Jax has come to his senses! I also wanted to pull this article out of the comments to share with you. It’s awesome.

As I’ve come to expect from the comments on Jenny’s blog, some good points are brought up. Namely- if they can’t find a guy to play Christian Grey, will they realize that it’s because the story is so misogynistic and generally horrible that we don’t need it to be part of our culture? Maybe they will realize that it doesn’t have any redeeming qualities? (Stop laughing. I know it won’t sink in.)

I am still holding out hope for an American Psycho-esque slant to the movie script. That would be worth watching.

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.