Bite of Twilight Essay
The feminist idea was designed to define, establish, and defend equal political, economic, and social rights for women. In the articles Taking a Bite Out of Twilight, written by Carmen D. Siering an assistant professor of English and women’s studies at Bell State University, and Two Ways a Women Can Get Hurt, written by Jean Kilbourne who is an award winning author and educator, the idea of feminism in today’s media is questioned. Seiring writes about a popular book, titled Twilight, and how the main female character of the novel goes against the idea of feminism.
Kilbourne, however, writes about how advertising in today’s society is portraying women in a distinctively non-feminist way. Both authors are trying to convey to their readers that women are still being subconsciously shown in a negative light. In the article “Taking a Bite out of Twilight” Siering gives a brief description of the main female character in the Twilight novel named Bella. She writes how Bella has two male suitors that are competing for her affection and she also goes on to saying how Bella is preserved as a prize or an object and not as a human being.
Siering also writes, “Fans of the books, and now a movie version, often break into “teams”, aligning themselves with the swain they hope Bella will choose in the end: Team Edward or Team Jacob (Siering, pg. 439)”. Siering continues to write, “Why not team Bella? (Siering, pg. 439)”. She goes on to explaining in her article that Stephanie Meyer, who is the author of Twilight, gave Bella no personality. She states that all Bella cares about is her two admirers and doesn’t think or feel anything that doesn’t involve one of them.
Later on in the article Siering explains that one of the main reasons for her belief that Twilight portrays anti-feminist views is the fact the Bella is shown as weak and in need of constant protection. She writes, “Bella can hardly get through a chapter without Edward jumping in to save her in some way (Siering, pg. 440). ” She carries on to say because women are reading this book they are subconsciously believing that they need a man to protect them and that they can’t defend themselves.
Siering even goes as far as saying that Twilight depicts women as having no control over their sexual desire, while men have self-control from the temptations. Siering encourages her readers to take another look at the book with open eyes and see how it represents the idea of men being the most important entity in a women’s life. In the essay “Two Ways a Women Can Get Hurt”, by Jean Kilbourne, many points are brought up on how advertising is portraying women in an undesirable persona. Kilbourne discusses the power that advertising images hold over the audiences that are exposed to them on a daily basis.
She emphasizes in her writing that advertising has become extremely sexually focused and normalizes dangerous acts. She also writes how she believes that the mistreatment and manipulation of women in ads has become evident. Ads are showing women in little to nothing clothes and they also have the women positioned in alluring poses. They even make women appear vulnerable, sexually inviting, and submissive. Advertising continues to insult and degrade women in a way that women are starting to become numb to.
When women see the ads that are offensive to them, or should be, they either ignore it or even worse aim to imamate it. Kilbourne writes, “Advertising often encourages women to be attracted to hostile and indifferent men while encouraging boys to become those men. (Kilbourne, pg. 462). Kilbourne is arguing that women and men are influenced by the disturbing ads and that the ads have displayed violence toward women as more socially acceptable. She then shows an ad in her article that shows three men tearing at a woman’s clothes.
One man is pulling her leg, another at her arm and the third man has her lifted off the ground by pulling the waistband of her pants. Kilbourne also believes that ads are increasing the likelihood of rape on women. She writes, “Men are also encouraged to never take no for an answer. Ad after ad implies that girls and women don’t really mean “no” when they say it, that women are only teasing when they resist men’s advances. (Kilbourne pg. 462). ” She then follows up her statement with an advertisement of perfume that says to, “Apply generously to your neck so he can smell the scent as you shack your head ‘no’ (Kilbourne pg. 62). ” The ad isn’t even trying to mask the message of its true meaning which only enhances Kilbourne’s claim that it is becoming socially acceptable. Kilbourne’s major claim is that the advertising of women has extended to a point where their bodies are represented as objects which leads to normalizing the attitudes that lead to sexual aggression. In both Taking a Bite Out Of Twilight and Two ways a women can get hurt the authors speak about how women are influenced by media; although both articles do discuss it in different aspects.
Siering discusses in her article the way that women become influenced by the certain books they read, while in contrast Kilbourne discusses how women are influenced by what they see portrayed in ads. Both articles agree that women, like it or not, are subconsciously predisposed on how to act or what to accept because of media. Siering writes in her article that Twilight has the underlying message that the most important aspect of a women’s life is the man that’s in it. She continues to write that Twilight encourages women not to have goals and interests because they get in the way of romance.
Kilbourne in her article writes that ads also make it seem that men are the most important aspects of a women’s life. Many of the ads she shows in her article all show women with men or show ads advertising on how to get a man. The ads show women in certain possess and with certain products that are supposed to catch a man’s attention. There are no ads that show women that have nothing to do with men, which subconsciously make women believe that without men they are not as worthy. Another point that both articles agree upon is the fact that media makes women look dependent or inferior to men.
In Two Ways a women can get hurt Kilbourne states women are barley wearing any clothing and are always made to look vulnerable and submissive. Ads show women as weaker and inferior to men in a way that is violent and aggressive. Kilbourne writes “Sometimes women are shown as dead or in the process of being killed. “Great hair never dies” says an ad featuring a female corpse lying on a bed with her breast exposed. (Kilbourne pg. 465)” This ad is making a mockery of women and decreasing their worth by almost bluntly saying it doesn’t matter that you’re died as long as you hair looks good.
Kilbourne also mentions another ad, “An ad in the Italian version of Vogue shows a man aiming a gun at a nude woman wrapped in plastic, a leather briefcase covering her face. (Kilbourne pg. 465)” These images are repulsive and should offend women highly but unfortunately women have become so accustomed and numb to these images that they see them but choose to ignore them. In Siering’s article she addresses the same issue in the media from a different approach. She writes about how the famous selling book Twilight portrays its main female character, Bella, as dependent and inferior to the males in the novel.
She states how in the book Bella is in constant need of rescue from Edward and that Bella has not true personality. Siering writes, “ Some fans may argue that Bella has a strong character and that she makes her own decisions, but the few decisions that Bella does make are usually the bad ones, and they nearly always lead to someone (generally Edward) having to save her. (Siering pg. 440)” This shows that the book portrays the main female to be weak and make unwise decisions and she would not be able to survive without a man to protect her.
Therefor because women are reading this novel they believe that they need a man to protect them and wait for their “knight in shining armor”. The most prominent difference between the two articles is that Taking a Bite Out of Twilight is based on a fictional character, while Two Ways a women can get hurt is based on the reality. Kilbourne is essay seems more logical to read then Sierings because of the fact that it is reality and not just a fictional novel. Also Kilbourne’s points seem stronger because it is based on numerous factual ads.