Edward Who?


That is the number of days until New Moon comes out.

What does this mean sociologically?

In the months leading up to the release of this movie, we have seen the media attempt to sway the hearts of millions of fan girls and boys away from Edward Cullen (Robert Pattinson), and towards Jacob Black (Taylor Lautner). The young Taylor Lautner, age 17, has had his shirtless body plastered everywhere. If you haven’t seen it yet, go to any local convenience store and glance at the magazine racks, I’m sure you’ll find it.

Taylor, a seventeen year-old and thus a minor, has been allowed to be sexy with little to no scrutiny from the media. A few years ago, however, Miley Cyrus’s cover of Vanity Fair (pictured above) caused a media frenzy, which claimed the photo shoot was too sexy for still-underage Miley, more recently, Miley has bee scrutinized for brief “poll dancing” choreography at the Teen Choice Awards. Awhile back, many blogs noticed this, and discussed the gendered nature of the situation. What do you think? Why is it okay in our society for Taylor to be sexy but not okay for Miley? Is it still a repercussion of the “angel in the house” mentality from the Victorian period?

The weeks leading up to Twilight: New Moon have also brought us something I LOVE–seriously, I enjoy them so much it’s kind of embarrassing. They’re Twilight spoofs. Whether homemade or corporately produced, I really enjoy these cultural artifacts. Such as this one, staring Taylor Swift, from Saturday Night Live:

One thing I enjoy about this sketch is that it shows how, in our society, it is okay to be attracted to some types of monsters, but not to others. This is of course, not something Stephanie Meyer invented, indeed, Dracula himself seduced women. What do you think? Do you think popular culture will ever see a (non-campy) sexy version of Frankenstein monster? What about a sexy mummy? Other than women’s Halloween costumes, I cannot think of any examples, and a quick google images search confirmed this for me. Why are humans allowed to be attracted to vampires and werewolves, and yet not to mummies or monsters? Does it have to do with how we value wealth, as vampires are often very rich? What do you think? What is the social hierarchy for monsters?



2 Responses to Edward Who?

  1. steve says:

    Well, the non-blood-sucking monsters are typically portrayed with an un-human level of intelligence, be it animal or 3000-year-old-brain in case of mummy, so I think that’s why Dracula is always in charge whenever the monsters get together. So, in that sense maybe that says something positive about us, that we like smarts? I think vampire’s attractiveness is part of a sort of moral narrative; don’t be seduced by superficial beauty, there could be a monster lurking below the surface.

  2. Mark Turnage says:

    The website “FML” is a guilty pleasure of mine. One such entry was a male complaining that his girlfriend put glitter in his hair and lamented that he couldn’t be “more like Edward.” New Moon’s release, with Lautner’s shirtlessness as its herald, will cause the same superficial, discontented sigh, only with physicality instead of personality.

    In film, vampires and werewolves have evolved from explicit “beasts” into hypersexualized, near-human seductors and seductresses since their introduction. When both appeared in early cinema, their physical appearances were hideous and they were unable to exist within the realm of mainstream society. With the advent of the Cullens and the Quileutes, not only are they adept at social integration as mysterious and charismatic “alphas,” they are more intelligent, fashionable, and attractive than their vapid human counterparts. Despite their advanced age, they remain in young, fit, and *ageless* bodies, a mythical and mental fantasy come to life onscreen.

    Edward and Jacob are representations of types of sexual attractiveness: Edward is clad in trendy clothes, Jacob lacks a shirt and the audience welcomes it. I argue that being a fan of “Team Edward” or “Team Jacob” not only reflects the type of personality one finds more appealing but also which physicality. With their overtures, the rule of thumb is that vampires are subtle, werewolves, direct. Lautner’s chest’s media blitz embodies that philosophy literally.

    As for other monsters, perhaps if a Frankenstein’s Creature were assembled metaphorically instead of literally, such as adopting optimum personality traits to create a “better human,” the same process could occur to this cultural icon. For mummies, you got me there. Vampires and werewolves now have the advantage of personality and physicality. A corpse strikes out with both.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: