The Gender Divide

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Re: The Gender Divide

Postby smitten_by_twilight » Sun Aug 07, 2011 1:12 am

Well, Chernaudi, just to let you know, I couldn't id your gender from your posts, although (a) I wasn't really trying and (b) I did notice that you had quite the knowledge of weapons and aircraft, and did note a slightly higher than typical enthusiasm for gunning down papz over in that thread. So hello! :hello:

There is certainly a general tendency in our society - not just related to Twilight - to stigmatize "girly" behavior in XY's where we tolerate similar "boyish" behavior in XX's. I was a tomboy, everybody knows a tomboy, and it's not particularly stigmatizing to wear pants and play sports and with certain "boy toys." (GI Joe might be considered over the top, but trucks and guns are fine.) But boys playing with dolls, dancing, etc are scorned as you mention. I deliberately redirected my son's early love of pink to red, not because I thought it was inappropriate (a lot of men look pretty hot in pink), but because I was concerned about teasing. It's not fair, just, right, and it forces boys to suppress their nurturing side, not to mention constrict their range of interests. It's cruel. But it's not limited to Twillight. :(

Let's see if this is a gender difference or individual: you were more distressed by the amping of sex appeal in the wolfpack than by the amping of action in the movies. But I feel the opposite. At least sex appeal was something that Stephanie deliberately wrote in - ref the first Comic-Con, when a fan asked Catherine Hardwick why all the male actors were so sexy and Stephanie leaned in to say "Because I wrote them that way!" (Although I've always felt that Robert's pants could have been lifted up another inch or so in the plaza scene in New Moon - I mean really - vampires don't lose weight, so I don't think he would have bought them that low. I feel like shading my non-virgin eyes every time. :blush: ) And then, through Bella's POV, she doesn't perceive herself as sexy, or feel attracted to any of the female characters. And - back to societal issues! - Leah, of necessity, spends her time running around in shabby clothes, probably barefoot a lot from running out of shoes, and in reality would have trimmed her hair shorter, although maybe not as short as the guys. This is not conventionally sexy. Julia Jones' portrayal probably IS sexier than written.

But the emphasis on action at the expense of the dramatic storyline is very annoying to me. They keep changing the emphasis in the movies, always at the expense of the relationship, and yet never enough to really make a difference. Eclipse was never, never going to be an "action" movie, not enough to pull in an action crowd. All they really did was upset fans. Replacing dramatic interactions between Kristen and Rob - some of the best stuff out there - with CG is just a bummer to me. The dramatic interactions are so much more intense. But I like your idea of Dr Strangelove meets Twilight as a spoof! 8-) And I completely agree with you that not all guys are action-oriented. My husband loves period dramas ... and really violent gangster movies too, but you see what I'm saying.

I'm going to throw some other potential gender-based POV issues out there, to help stimulate thought :ugeek: :

Which character do you identify with? Since the story is, at different times, written from opposite-gendered-characters' POVs, do you find it easier or harder to read from a same or opposite gendered character?

Do you find the portrayal of self-esteem issues realistic or not, considering gender?

Stephanie has commented that Edward's frequent arrogance (which he has some justification for) is, in her experience, more typical of men. Yes, no, sometimes? Are the genders arrogant in a different way, or about different things? What role does arrogance play in the secondary characters, and does it seem gender consistent?

Does our gender influence what we think of the non-battle at the end of Breaking Dawn?

Does it impact our perceptions of how the pregnancy and birth were written?

I think that's enough for now! :write:
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Re: The Gender Divide

Postby Chernaudi » Sun Aug 07, 2011 12:03 pm

In reply to your questions:

1: I identify most with Bella because personality wise, she's more like me than anyone else just about. And that is from reading the novels, and not based on my KS crush, I know my crap :).

2: As far as self-esteem, I do think that the portrayals are accurate from my POV. If I had a girlfriend, I'd worry about her to the point where one might think that I was possessive like Edward is at times, and I'm also sort of like Bella in that I at times don't see myself as anything special. And I do know that there are people--male or female, who feel the same way.

3: I feel that both members of both genders can display arrogance, and do it in different ways. Men are more likely to demonstrate it physically though showings of strength and aggression, and women do it though intellect and vanity. Not everyone is like this, but some can really push the boarders of what I'll tolerate as far as that goes.

4: I felt that a peaceful end is something that in any conflict is something that we should strive for. However, I can't help but feel that the song "Suicide is Painless" from MASH sums up my personal feelings for the Volturi. If this was just after World War II (yeah, I know that I'm stuck in WWII in spite of not even being 25 years old--deal with it :) ), I'd love to see a P-82B Twin Mustang (or, with this being the Twilight Saga, a P-82C or D night fighter) open up on a old transport plane carrying the Volturi and their guard with it's 6 .50 caliber Browning machine guns or a de Havilland Hornet or late production Spitfire or Hawker Tempest do the same with their 4 20mm Hispano-Suiza cannons. Just incinerate those miscreants and end their reign permanently. Their arrogance and ignorance astounds me, and I'd have loved to have seen Aro's theories about humans using technology to challenge vampires being put to the test, then or now, against the Volturi.

But that's my personal feelings, and I think that the peaceful ending worked, no matter my personal feelings towards the Volturi.

5: I think that the pregnancy/birth was a bit graphic, but it's a fantasy novel. I don't think it was a horror film motif, however. It was sort of like Bella's life becoming complete, he getting her immortality that she yearned for and having a family of her own to go with it.

Those are just my personal opinions. And if you (or anyone else) would like so see some commentary on Eclipse, visit the worried about BD thread, but if one wishes for more elaboration, feel free to ask. But be forewarned, if you liked Eclipse, you probably won't be happy or very impressed.
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Re: The Gender Divide

Postby Jacobs-girl » Thu Aug 18, 2011 11:53 am

smitten_by_twilight wrote: I'm going to throw some other potential gender-based POV issues out there, to help stimulate thought :ugeek: :

Which character do you identify with? Since the story is, at different times, written from opposite-gendered-characters' POVs, do you find it easier or harder to read from a same or opposite gendered character?

Do you find the portrayal of self-esteem issues realistic or not, considering gender?

Stephanie has commented that Edward's frequent arrogance (which he has some justification for) is, in her experience, more typical of men. Yes, no, sometimes? Are the genders arrogant in a different way, or about different things? What role does arrogance play in the secondary characters, and does it seem gender consistent?

Does our gender influence what we think of the non-battle at the end of Breaking Dawn?

Does it impact our perceptions of how the pregnancy and birth were written?



Okay, starting with question 1: I identify most with Bella because, apart from being in love with a vampire and having a werewolf as a best friend, her circumstances and mine are both very similar...dealing with all the difficulties, anxieties and fun of late teenage life. I don't find it hard to read from the POV of an opposite-gendered character but I do prefer reading from Bella's POV. Let's just say that if the whole of the series was written from the POV of Edward and Jacob, I probably wouldn't like it as much.

Question 2) I noticed that Bella seems to have an issue with her self-esteem. Nearly all of us go through those issues at some point or other but she has difficulty accepting herself for who she is and at times she doesn't think she is good enough for Edward. However, she is a teenage girl after all, and a lot of teens experience low self-esteem from time to time. In general, I think her portrayal is quite realistic. I didn't notice self-esteem issues in any other characters and Jacob certainly doesn't have any! But maybe male readers might notice more self-esteem issues in the male characters than women readers do...
Any thoughts on this, Chernaudi?

I'll return later on today or tomorrow and finish off my answers to all the questions as I have to go soon and I don't want to be rushing my thoughts....
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Re: The Gender Divide

Postby Chernaudi » Thu Aug 18, 2011 4:25 pm

I have to disagree with the fact that you didn't notice any other character flaws--Jacob is young and immature, Edward is needy and overprotective of Bella, Jacob and Edward are both possessive with Bella, and Rosalie is vain and is/was jealous of Bella, while Bella either doesn't know what she wants, or how to express what she wants.

Many of the major characters have flaws. More examples: Caius is cruel and vain, Marcus is apathetic, and Aro is needy, power hungry, somewhat paranoid to the point where he has a love/hate relationship with the Cullens, and is a bit jealous of them, just like any other Fascist or Communist dictator, just not as overtly evil and more well meaning, but still amoral, power hungry, jealous and scared that he might lose influence and is conflicted over what he wants and how best to get it.

I don't know if you'd call them character flaws or whatever, but I do notice flaws in several characters, and I don't think it exactly has anything to do with gender unless it has something to do with the way that different people of different sex see things, which I don't think is entirely the case here.
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Re: The Gender Divide

Postby Jacobs-girl » Fri Aug 19, 2011 3:50 am

Chernaudi wrote:I have to disagree with the fact that you didn't notice any other character flaws--Jacob is young and immature, Edward is needy and overprotective of Bella, Jacob and Edward are both possessive with Bella, and Rosalie is vain and is/was jealous of Bella, while Bella either doesn't know what she wants, or how to express what she wants.

Many of the major characters have flaws. More examples: Caius is cruel and vain, Marcus is apathetic, and Aro is needy, power hungry, somewhat paranoid to the point where he has a love/hate relationship with the Cullens, and is a bit jealous of them, just like any other Fascist or Communist dictator, just not as overtly evil and more well meaning, but still amoral, power hungry, jealous and scared that he might lose influence and is conflicted over what he wants and how best to get it.

I don't know if you'd call them character flaws or whatever, but I do notice flaws in several characters, and I don't think it exactly has anything to do with gender unless it has something to do with the way that different people of different sex see things, which I don't think is entirely the case here.


To clarify, I didn't say that I didn't notice any flaws in any other characters. Most Twilight characters have flaws but I wasn't talking about whether they have flaws or not. I was referring to the "self-esteem issues" which smitten_by_twilight was asking about in her second question, not character flaws.

"Self-esteem" = a term used in psychology to reflect a person's overall evaluation or appraisal of his or her own worth (Wikipedia). I meant that I perceived that Bella has fairly low self-esteem, according to the above definition, whereas other characters do not seem to have particular issues with it.
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Re: The Gender Divide

Postby Chernaudi » Fri Aug 19, 2011 3:09 pm

I think that Edward has self esteem issues even after he falls in love with Bella, namely with him selling himself short on his self control, which is where my assessment of his flaws comes from.

And these weren't resolved until Bella became a vampire, really, because he didn't have to worry about her mortality anymore.

And we have to remember that Edward is immortally a teenager as well, though I don't think that has anything to do with his self esteem. That more comes from the fact that he didn't see any good to being a vampire.
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Re: The Gender Divide

Postby Emmettroselover » Fri Aug 19, 2011 11:23 pm

While many people overlook it, I think Edward's inexperience plays a huge role in his actions and behavior as well. He never was in a relationship and was pretty much not only frozen physically, but emotionally until he met Bella. Now take that and the fact that she is his mate, an overwhelming, overpowering love, and I think it is clear why he would feel so needy and protective. She became his life, if she dies or is not happy, he might as well be the same so a lot did stem from his circumstances as well as hers.

Bella swayed between being a very strong and independent character to being a fickle teenage girl with self esteem issues. She went from being an old soul to being just another teenage girl who wanted to rebel, and that definitely showed in Eclipse, but one thing that I always loved about Bella is that she knew what she wanted for the most part. It was always her trying to explain that to others though. She knew she wanted to be with Edward forever and had to defend that to him, Charlie in ways, Jacob, Rosalie, and so forth. Her actions made people question that, but she knew what she wanted even if she made it complicated at times.

Edward's departure did cause a lot of that but she had issues before he left....not being able to receive gifts, fears over him being too good for her, fears of more beautiful women like Rosalie being more his type, etc. I think that is something that drew her to Jacob as well. Jacob was flawed, impulsive, temperamental, irrational, and immature, but he was also warm and fun to be around until his flaws took over. She wanted to be perfect and equals with Edward, but enjoyed that she did not feel like she had to impress Jacob. She did not feel like he was above her, if anything she thought of him like a little brother at times. I think it would be very interesting to get Edward's POV in all of the books because we really do have a limited view of who he was and what he felt. I think if we heard what went through Edward's mind in New Moon and Eclipse especially, people might feel differently about some of his actions.
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Re: The Gender Divide

Postby Chernaudi » Sun Aug 21, 2011 3:38 pm

We do have to remember that according to the guide, vampires do tend to pretty much get stuck in the mental/emotion knowlege and status at their time of transformation. So as Edward, at least I believe, wasn't in a relationship or such until he met Bella, his lack of knowledge could do that to him. Part of it was Bella's mortality, but it's a case of first love, too.
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Re: The Gender Divide

Postby smitten_by_twilight » Tue Aug 23, 2011 1:22 am

I perceive Edward as having HUGE self-esteem issues within the context of his relationship to Bella; that is, he doesn't feel inferior to other vampires, but does feel inferior to humans in that he cannot give Bella everything he wants her to have, growth, children, family, etc. I think the text backs this up, most notably in Eclipse when he wants to be sure that she wants him and not just immortality, and I recall an interview comment by Rob that Bella dealt with her "stuff" better than Edward. It sounded to me like a comment influenced by conversations with Stephenie.

I do perceive Bella as having broader self-esteem issues despite dealing with her "stuff" better. Edward is at least confident as a vampire ... Bella lacks confidence in herself as a human. This is perhaps a good reflection of gender, as teenage girls typically have much greater self-esteem issues than teen boys. (Boys tend to have more difficulty as latency-age or preteens.)

Is Jacob disliking being a werewolf, and not wanting to take on Alpha responsibilities, a self-esteem issue or something else? I see Jacob as not just a male but a guy. This is not necessarily bad, but I just don't see a ton of self-reflection.

On gender and POV, I am very comfortable with Bella's POV. I think she was necessary to tell the story when introducing the Twiworld to the public, as she is the "innocent eye" and introduces us to everything. But I love hearing Edward's POV because it is so much richer; more experience, brain working faster, very (!) self-reflective, and then his connections to people are much richer. Edward is deeply committed to his vampire family and they are a huge part of his life even after Bella walks in, while she has fairly tenuous connections to pretty much everybody but Renee, Charlie, and Jacob, and she's letting her connection to Renee fade. Edward and Jacob come across as sounding male to me ... but what do I know?

No one has mentioned the pregnancy and birth yet! I had a dual reaction to this. First, as a woman, I find it a little trite to be reading about a pregnancy resulting from a honeymoon night, and especially one so difficult and bloody and life-threatening ... I mean, that's been done to death, people. Some people do have easy pregnancies and deliveries ... lots, or the species would have died off. However, it is pretty logical that a hybrid pregnancy would be physically challenging. It was "realistically" done, with the frequent urination and the borrowed sweatshirt and everything.

Fun discussion! :write:
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Re: The Gender Divide

Postby Chernaudi » Wed Aug 24, 2011 8:33 pm

Bella and Edward to me seem to have issues with "fitting in". Edward didn't really feel as if he fit in the world since becoming a vampire until he met Bella. And Bella didn't feel like she fit in until she met Edward and became a vampire.

It seems as if since they met each other, that they feel that they now "fit". At least that's how it seems to me.
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