Friday, March 15, 2013

Media Moment: Twilight - Rape Culture

I was browsing Tumblr and came across these Twilight passages:
[Trigger Warning: Sexual Assault, rape culture, victim blaming]

"His lips crushed mine, stopping my protest. He kissed me angrily, roughly, his other hand gripping tight around the back of my neck, making escape impossible. I shoved against his chest with all my strength, but he didn’t even seem to notice. His mouth was soft, despite the anger, his lips molding to mine in a warm, unfamiliar way.
I grabbed at his face, trying to push it away, failing again. He seemed to notice this time, though, and it aggravated him. His lips forced mine open, and I could feel his hot breath in my mouth.
Acting on instinct, I let my hands drop to my side, and shut down. I opened my eyes and didn’t fight, didn’t feel… just waited for him to stop. "  Twilight: Eclipse p. 331 (Bella and Jacob’s first kiss)

The lines before that (via   
He still had my chin—his fingers holding too tight, till it hurt—and I saw the resolve form abruptly in his eyes. 
“N—-” I started to object, but it was too late.

And after he assaulted her she punched him in the face but due to his “super human strength” she broke her hand, said “Don’t touch me!” and then:
“Just let me drive you home,” Jacob insisted. Unbelievably, he had the nerve to wrap his arm around my waist.
I jerked away from him.
AND THEN while he was driving: 
“…There is so much I can give you that he can’t. I’ll bet he couldn’t even kiss you like that—-because he would hurt you. I would never, never hurt you, Bella.”
I held up my injured hand.
He sighed. “That wasn’t my fault. You should have known better.”
And then:
He grinned over at me. “You kissed me back.”
I gasped, unthinkingly balling my hands up into fists again, hissing when my broken hand reacted.
“Are you okay?” he asked. 
“I did not.”
“I think I can tell the difference.”
“Obviously you can’t——that was not kissing back, that was trying to get you the hell off me, you idiot.” He laughed a low, throaty laugh. 
“Touchy. Almost overlydefensive, I would say." 
I took a deep breath. There was no point in arguing with him; he would twist anything I said.
Then when she gets home, to where her father, Charlie, the police officer, is:
 “Why did she hit you?”
 “Because I kissed her,” Jacob said, unashamed.
“Good for you, kid,” Charlie congratulated him.
Do you think this incites rape culture? Or does it show an accurate portrayal of what sometimes happens after rape? In this case, Bella (the only woman in the scene) physically tries to stop Jacob, as well as verbally says after the incident that she did not welcome Jacob's advances. Jacob responds by gaslighting,  “Touchy. Almost overlydefensive, I would say." Her father -- the person whom you'd think would be the most protective of Bella -- reinforces Jacob's ideas about how to treat his won daughter! There are no other females in this scene that Bella can lean on for support. Knowing that this was written by a woman (Stephenie Meyer), what do you think her intentions were?

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