Get PJ Media on your Apple

Porn for Women: The Twilight Saga

Author Stephenie Meyer has managed to distill the essence of pornography, bringing it to a new audience without any of the taboo.

by
Walter Hudson

Bio

November 25, 2011 - 12:00 am

Her face rose a thousand corpses.

The scene is familiar: tents clustered together, their occupants camped out for days. Committed to their purpose, they won’t leave until they get what they want. No, it’s not Occupy Wall Street. It’s the highly anticipated release of the latest film in The Twilight Saga, Breaking Dawn: Part I. Dubbed Twihards, the devoted army of women obsessed with author Stephenie Meyer’s paranormal teenage romance are giddy as schoolgirls, regardless of their age.

“What’s different is that this is female based,” a woman among those camped out told CBS News. “If these were guys that were really into a sci-fi movie or an action movie, people wouldn’t be so interested.”

That may be true. However, the most fascinating aspect of Twilight fandom isn’t its dominant gender. After all, it would be more bizarre if men were into it. What is fascinating is why women of all ages are so profoundly moved by this story and its characters.

The tale follows the romantic exploits of Bella Swan, a mopey teenage girl out of step with the world and unimpressed by the people in it. She perks up upon meeting Edward Cullen, a century-old vampire locked in seventeen-year-old form. Romance ensues, interrupted by raucous undead politics. It turns out vampires at-large aren’t particularly keen on Cullen’s lifestyle choice. (It makes sense if you think about it. Even among humans, it’s taboo to date the livestock.)

As potentially fatal complications manifest so does a love triangle between Bella, Edward, and a friendly neighborhood werewolf named Jacob Black. The tension between these three forms the backbone of the saga, with Bella persistently in danger and constantly fought over.

As a man, understanding the female obsession with Twilight is difficult. However, there is one form of illicit entertainment which seems an instructive point of comparison. Twilight is to women what porn is to men.

Before playing the chauvinist card, note that women admit as much:

“We call it brain porn,” jokes Jenny West, 32, a New Jersey finance executive who co-runs an adults-only blog

What makes Twilight “brain porn”? It fulfills the female ego in the same way pornography appeals to men.

Pornography exaggerates the most cathartic aspect of romantic encounters while dismissing real-life baggage. It elevates an irrational self-indulgence while ignoring any sense of responsibility, particularly to the other. For men, this translates to reckless sexual satisfaction. For women, it’s more complicated.

Sure, women like sex too. However, their enjoyment typically requires stimulation of the mind as much as the body. Women hope to be loved, desired above all others, and valued more than life itself. The Twilight Saga embodies this fantasy.

Pornography imagines that women exist for the sole purpose of satisfying men. The women in porn are not only willing, but eager. They are depicted as if satisfying a man is the means by which their own life is sustained. This is without the slightest pretense, explanation, or justification. The unconditional nature of the attraction is essential to the fantasy.

So it is in Twilight, only with the roles reversed. Edward Cullen and Jacob Black adore Bella, not due to any apparent merit, but simply because she is there. Indeed, they indulge her whims and endure her moods without conditions of any kind. Any objection they do offer is complimentary. I’ll only turn you into a vampire if you marry me. Every conflict between the three leads only serves to demonstrate how thoroughly both males are devoted to Bella.

Warning: Explicit language

The most objectionable example of this porn-like dynamic is the frequently shirtless Jacob. Watching his unrequited obsession with Bella play out on-screen evokes the same eye rolling disgust that women have endured for years while watching two-dimensional bimbos fawn over undeserving men. The relationship begins with him filling in for the absent Edward, serving as a platonic scratching post to tide Bella over until her main squeeze returns. From there, Jacob engages in progressively more demeaning exercises in fruitless devotion.

In the third entry of the series Jacob manages the lackluster achievement of badgering Bella into admitting some love for him, albeit not as much as she holds for Edward. Her ideal scenario is to be with Edward while having Jacob around to dote on her within the boundaries she sets. She treats Jacob like some kind of pervert for not being satisfied with this arrangement. In this way, the dynamic between Bella, Edward, and Jacob is not unlike that between a husband, wife, and mistress. Bella wants to marry Edward but have Jacob as a kept man. The only difference is that Jacob satisfies her emotionally rather than sexually.

Stephenie Meyer deserves a tip of the hat for a truly unique cultural achievement. She has managed to distill the essence of an addictive, illicit entertainment and bring it to a new audience without carrying over any of the taboo. It’s a masterful accomplishment. Men’s primal tastes are too brute to pull off such a trick.

PJM FLASHBACK: The Porn Star as Leftist Hero  ”The left touts XXX actresses like Sasha Grey as agents of social change.” and icons of female empowerment.

Walter Hudson advocates for individual rights, serving on the boards of the Republican Liberty Caucus of Minnesota, Minnesota Majority and the Minority Liberty Alliance. He maintains a blog and daily podcast entitled Fightin Words. He also contributes to True North, a hub of conservative Minnesotan commentary, and regularly appears on the Twin Cities News Talk Weekend Roundtable on KTCN AM 1130. Follow his work via Twitter and Facebook.
Click here to view the 294 legacy comments

Comments are closed.