Monday, January 30, 2012

Of Monsters and Men: Toxic Masculinity and the Twenty-First Century Vampire in the Twilight Saga by Tracy L. Bealer

So right now I am working on my research symposium stuff and am currently reading a book called "Bringing Light to Twilight-Perspectives on the Pop Culture Phenomenon". There are quite a few articles in this book that I really really want to write about but there is one that really stuck out to me. It is called "Of Monsters and Men: Toxic Masculinity and the Twenty-First Century Vampire in the Twilight Saga" by Tracy L. Bealer.

Usually when people talk about Twilight, especially from the view of someone who is pro-women, it is always to criticize Bella. Always to talk about how Bella is weak, boy crazy, and ridiculous. But I have never really thought of the book from the view point of Edward. Usually the main love interest in a book is very hyper masculine and has very little femininity to him. On the surface Edward has all of the characteristics. He is strong, he is unemotional, and he is always up for saving the damsel in distress. However, when looking beyond just the surface emotions, there is quite a bit more.

The author talks about Edward finding Bella too interesting to stay away from. I think this is a good example of why Edward is not SO masculine. Because of the way the book is written (I believe) people always talk about how Bella is obsessed with Edward and can survive no other way. But there is no indication given in the book that Edward does not also feel the same way. In fact, there are quite a few instance that Edward is in love with Bella just as much as she is with him. But is it okay in our society for a guy to declare their love in an emotional way? I really do not think so. There are quite a few guys who go out of their way to make emotional guys feel inadequate and like less than a man. However, girls do the same thing. I cannot tell you how many times I have heard a guy say "she told me I was too nice and that she wanted a man." What? We want men to be more emotional and wear their heart on their sleeve, and when they do we are the first people to blast them for not "being a man". In one of my Sociology classes we had a talk about ballroom dancing. There were some women in the class who said that if they knew a guy who was a ballroom dancer that they would assume he was gay. WHY? What is hotter then a guy breaking out into a waltz. Any guy can stand there while you grind on him and stimulate sex, but it takes a real man to know how to tango =) Anyways, I think that when it comes to showing emotion Edward is an amazing example of what a guy should be. He is open with Bella about his emotions.

Another reason that I think that Edward is not so hypermasculine is that he is constantly showing his weakness to Bella. Obviously he is a vampire so his weakness is blood. However, he is open with Bella about this weakness rather than hiding it from her. In many situations guys are told that if you have a weakness that it is considered less manly to show it. Why else would guys NEVER go to the doctor? I think it is interesting to look at the fact that Edward is open and honest with Bella about his weaknesses and insecurities because it is good for guys to see that you can be a guy and have weaknesses. Imagine that!

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