The supernatural are seen as either good or bad. For example, the vampires in Buffy the Vampire Slayer, are portrayed as evil and wanting to take over the human world, while Buffy, the hero (or slayer) slays each and every vampire that is visible in the human world.
While the cultural phenomenon surrounding Twilight now boasts several million devoted fans, the series' representation of race is rarely a topic of discussion. The series relies on a structural divide between humans, vampires, and werewolves. Indeed, it is the relationships and tensions between these groups that ground the narrative. The story begins with Bella Swan, an average white human teenage girl, moving to Forks, Washington, and falling in love with Edward Cullen, a beautiful and talented white vampire. Bella also finds friendship with Jacob Black, a Quileute, who later in the series becomes a shape-shifting werewolf tasked with protecting his people from vampires. Jacob falls in love with Bella, but Bella ultimately chooses Edward. This love triangle is echoed by the larger struggle between the Cullens (Edward's vampire family) and the Quileutes (a Native American tribe), who view each other as enemies.
Buffy the vampire slayer is the opposite of the usual gender stereotype of women, whereas in the movie Twilight, Bella is the ultimate stereotypical woman. In the Buffy show, the heroin goes to a new school and adjusts to a new life in a new town with her mother. In Twilight, Bella goes to a new school and has to adjust to a new life with her father instead of her usual life with her mother. "A young person who has suffered parental loss moves to a new location and enters a new school, at the same time plunging into a world of magic and danger. This young person is forced to accept a role as a uniquely powerful challenger of dark forces, but is aided by an older advisor and both a male and female friend. Humiliated in the everyday world, the young hero nonetheless grows stronger year by year fighting the dark forces in the hidden world of magic." (Harry Potter).
"Philosophy requires a fearless dedication to the truth, so let's be completely honest with each other right here at the outset: Who among us can't relate to this experience? Not that your designs on that scrumptious cupcake seated next to you in biology class (or whatever class it was) were exactly the same as Edward's" (Blackwell, 8). Some people may think that "philosophy" is the answer to almost everything, basically saying that it is a "dedication to the truth," but come on; there are more things than that happening. Wouldn't you be struggling to keep your cool if something as delicious as a "scrumptious cupcake" scent was wafting through the air and into your nostrils? Then you would know precisely how Edward was feeling when Bella came and sat next to him in class (Blackwell, 8).
Stephanie Meyer presents Bella as a very clumsy girl who needs someone to watch her every move otherwise she would get herself hurt. This shows that Meyer wants readers to know that she is the atypical woman, who needs the atypical man to make her life have meaning again. When Bella lands in Forks, a small rainy town in the outskirts of the state of Washington, she starts a new school and gets the "royal" treatment as the new girl in town. The only students in the school that do not pay any attention to her, have definitely caught her attention, since they are the only people who sit alone together, are the Cullen children. They do not pay any attention to Bella because they are vampires and her blood smells the warmest of all the students and people of Forks. Soon she makes friends with the only single vampire in his clan, Edward Cullen, also the one who is the most different. Stephanie Meyer uses words in this story that the lead girl was supposed to be this really clumsy, and trouble magnet person who needs a man in her life to help her gain that confidence. It just so happens to be a vampire that helps her with that.
In the Twilight series, it is Bella who has uncontrollable sexual urges as she struggles to suppress her own desires, and it is Edward who makes rational decisions about their physical relationship. Bella explains, "Edward had drawn many careful lines for our physical relationshipâ€¦ Though I respected the need for maintaining a safe distance between my skin and his razor-sharp, venom-coated teeth, I tended to forget about trivial things like that when he was kissing me" (Meyer, 2006, p.16). Bella describes her bodily desires as an overwhelming electric current causing her to lose her mind, hyperventilate, feel dizzy, and literally faint (Meyer, 2005). Bella's inability to control her intense sexual urges implies that the adolescent female body lacks control at both the physical and rational level.
In order to see how the Twilight series falls into step with the young adult vampire novels that came before it, it is necessary to compare it to another 20th century series. In 1991 L. J. Smith's trilogy, The Vampire Diaries, was published. The series is set in the fictional town of Fell's Church, a center of paranormal activity. It follows the life (and death and rebirth) of Elena Gilbert and the romantic love triangle she enters into with two vampire brothers, Stefan and Damon Salvatore. Elena is attracted to them both for their very different qualities (although she does consistently choose Stefan, the "good" brother, over Damon). Throughout the series, like Bella, Elena is regularly put in danger and is often saved by the two brothers. The series ends with Elena sacrificing her life to save the people she loves, just like Bella does in the last of the Twilight Saga, when she sacrifices her life to save her dying vampire-human baby.
For these two heroines, the similarities end with their escapades with vampire men. While Meyer creates the self-conscious, awkward Bella, Smith dishes out the opposite in her main character. Take, for example, this introduction for Elena: "She didn't even glance at the elaborate Victorian mirror above the cherry wood dresser; she knew what she'd see. Elena Gilbert, cool and blond and slender, the fashion trendsetter, the high school senior, the girl every boy wanted and every girl wanted to be" (Smith, 2007, p. 6). Elena is the ideal teen girl that many young women long to be. While Bella constantly questions her right to be with Edward, Elena is steadfast in her chase to obtain Stefan. However, to be clear, the confident and social debutante of The Vampire Diaries is not necessarily the antithesis of Bella; Elena's fixation on men causes her willingness to sacrifice her life for them in the end.
Television shows reflect our cultural values
'97-'03- New & improved woman-Buffy
Opening episode- March 10,1997; final episode- May 20, 2003.
Culturally, we were eager for that new type of woman
Historically at that time did we have powerful women
Fairytale- backlash- 2005ïƒ return to the passive woman?
Back to Buffy in Bella in Breaking Dawn part 2
Popular journals/ people/ entertainment weekly 1997/1998/ 2005
1 paragraph- summaries of shows
1 per show/book/movie
description of key characters
Click, Melissa A., Jennifer Stevens. Aubrey, and Elizabeth Behm-Morawitz.Â Bitten by Twilight: Youth Culture, Media, & the Vampire Franchise. New York: Peter Lang, 2010. Print.
Hallett, Cynthia W.Â Scholarly Studies in Harry Potter. Vol. 99. Wales, United Kingdom: Edwin Mellen, 2006. Print.
Highfield, Roger.Â The Science of Harry Potter: How Magic Really Works. New York: Penguin Putnam, 2002. Print.
Irwin, William.Â Twilight and Philosophy: Vampires, Vegetarians, and the Pursuit of Immortality (Blackwell Philosophy and Pop Culture).Â Chichester, UK: Wiley, 2009. Print.
Meyer, Stephanie. Twilight.
Pateman, Matthew.Â The Aesthetics of Culture in Buffy the Vampire Slayer. North Carolina: McFarland &, 2006. Print.
Wilcox, Rhonda.Â Why Buffy Matters: The Art of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. New York: I.B. Tauris & Co, 2005. Print.
Wright, Dudley.Â The Book of Vampires. Detroit, Michigan: Omnigraphics, 1989. Print.