Twilight and the Raised Bar
The Twilight phenomenon that has captured the hearts of so many and taken over the literary and movie world presents an interesting array of problems for its readers, fans and critics alike. The legions of girls who march to the tune of Bella Swan’s life spend endless hours locked in battle with other fans, fervently arguing whether Bella should spend the rest of her life with Edward or Jacob. As a result the two opposing armies have formed and you either belong to ‘Team Edward’ or ‘Team Jacob’. T-shirts have been printed up, badges made and you can wear your allegiance proudly for everyone to see. However it is not just young teenage girls that have been captivated by Stephenie Meyer’s novels but mature women and mothers alike who eagerly anticipate the next film release as much as their daughters and younger counterparts. On the other side of the spectrum there are those who are not in such ardent favour of the Twilight saga, yet it still seems to present critics with an array of problems. Many feminist critics have dammed the novels as completely un-feminist as it adheres to a traditional female fantasy of a damsel in distress being delivered and rescued by a devastatingly handsome and powerful man. An observation that does seem to hold a lot of weight as Bella spends her life being protected by a clan of lethal vampires as well as a tribe of deadly werewolves. Whatever standpoint you wish to take concerning the Twilight saga it is abundantly clear that it has taken the world by storm and ignited a spark in lovers and haters alike. Those fans who are passionately in love with the story have given themselves the self-diagnosis ‘Obsessive Twilight Disorder’, and those who are not so enamoured with it all have been given plenty of food for thought.
Now while the Twilight phenomenon has proved a great joy to the female population, it has in fact thrown the male population into a crisis. Lovers, boyfriends and husbands have all been pushed aside as their significant others spend hours upon hours wrapped in the pages of Bella’s world as reality is completely forgotten for a few delicious days as the book is consumed cover to cover. When the female fans finally do emerge from within the hardback life of Bella they promptly inform their lovers that this Friday date night has been brushed aside as they are off to see the latest Twilight film with a horde of their girlfriends as their spurned lovers are left at home. Any girl knows that a Twilight film is not the type of film you go to watch with a boy, unless he is devoted to the saga or gay. After this the rejected men of the world then have to endure listening to hours of conversation concerning the topic as their women spend late nights on the phone going into explicit detail as to whether Edward is hotter than Jacob or vice versa and exactly how buff Jacob looked topless. These men may be fictional characters that their women will never ever meet, and their extremely sexy bodies may be airbrushed to within an inch of their lives, however, no man likes to hear his woman gush about another man, let alone his perfect body.
All of this is really just the tip of the iceberg and the very beginning of the problem for these men. Once their women have read the books, seen the films and spent hours in debate concerning the ‘other’ men in their lives, they now look at their respective partners through a completely different lens and the men realise…the bar has been raised!!!
Despondent boyfriends, lovers and husbands now find themselves measured against the perfection of Edward and Jacob and to be totally fair to them, trying to compete with a vampire and a werewolf is somewhat difficult for the ordinary mortal man who still has difficulty remembering birthdays and anniversaries. After immersing oneself into the world of Twilight girls start to think. After all, Bella Swan may be pretty but to be fair she isn’t all that. She is horrendously clumsy, awkward and only seems to be toying with Edward and Jacob’s emotions and if Bella can have it all, why shouldn’t other girls get it too.
It makes no difference whether you are a werewolf or a vampire kind of girl, both monsters present a type of man that girls now want. The ordinary man may go to the gym, work out and perhaps dedicate a full half an hour when getting ready to go out but unless he can walk around the streets topless with an all year round tan and a six pack as hard as steel, he may as well forget it. Similarly a guy may be regarded as good looking by everyone but if he cannot glitter in the sun like a diamond and be pronounced ‘beautiful’ he too can carry on walking. If by some chance you are a girl who is not particularly charmed by the aesthetics of a man then Edward and Jacob once more have the answer. Immortal Edward has been alive since the Victorian era and therefore has a store of knowledge that most of us only ever dream of possessing. He may be beautiful and strong but he is also extremely intelligent and when most girls spend Saturday nights hearing about that week’s football scores, a man as intelligent as Edward is a breath of fresh air. Not only is he intelligent but overwhelmingly charming to boot. After a long, hard day at work when a woman comes home and just wants a little bit of attention from her man, she mostly has the PS3 or the latest games console to compete with for some affection. Edward is clearly above such things and instead of zoning out in front of the television or computer screen, he is always intensely interested in Bella’s feelings. His chivalrous manners also make just about every girl, woman and mother weak at the knees. He absolutely refuses to have any sort of physical relations with Bella until they are legally wed and spends his life protecting her safety. When most girls struggle to get their partners to walk them home at night, someone as courteous as Edward is practically a dream come true.
If by any chance Edward doesn’t really do it for you and you are much more of a Jacob fan than he too presents a picture of irresistible masculinity. His unwavering devotion to Bella is something most girls and women alike can only dream and hope of from their partner. Every part of Jacob’s being is locked on Bella as he fights constantly to win her heart. For a large proportion of females it is a constant fight just to get their partners to stop watching match of the day, or any sports that happen to be on television, let alone obtaining unswerving devotion.
Both men are figures of romance who love and adore without expecting anything in return, even knowing that they will never get anything in return. Yet despite this they prevail and refuse to leave Bella’s side, even when her ‘heart stops beating’. Most men have a multitude of annoying little habits that their women cannot stand, such as leaving the toilet seat up, ‘re-arranging’ certain parts of their anatomy in public places as well as leaving mess around the house. However Edward and Jacob are completely without fault and present something women yearn for. As Edward states ‘I’m the world’s best predator…everything about me invites you in – my voice, my face, even my smell’. He is completely right and his statement is true of Jacob as well. Every part of both men, physically, mentally and emotionally invites us in and their prey seems to be the mortal men of today. These two men are physically stunning, unbelievably sensitive towards Bella, courteous and gallant. Their sensitivity does not detract from their masculine prowess as Edward and Jacob can either change into a hulking beast at the drop of a hat or rip out half a tree on a whim. For most men who struggle to carry their girlfriends or wives up to bed after they have fallen asleep on the sofa, a man who can pick up a girl with one hand and proceed to run down a mountain with her offers an array of exciting possibilities. So it is without intending to, that Twilight has caused problems for men all over the world as we now all expect something more than the average. It is no longer acceptable to turn up with chocolates and flowers every once in a blue moon. Pretending to be listening to your partner’s problems as you wonder what the score is is also not an option. Complaining that your share of the shopping bags are too heavy is also now completely unacceptable. Disgusting man habits are certainly not allowed and beer bellies are perfectly intolerable. Women all over the world have now been introduced to what men can really be like. Admittedly all girls really seem to want is a near death experience with a vampire, or a werewolf, whichever comes first, but failing this women and girls just want a man who is aware of them, their needs and pays enough attention to them. Unfortunately for men, the standard is no longer good enough and if they wish to measure up and stand a chance these days, some serious reconsideration needs to occur. Edward and Jacob have publically shamed them as they have offered women a kind of man that seems to be long forgotten or hidden in obscurity. They are setting a standard for men everywhere and millions of women everywhere are opening their eyes to this standard and expecting their men to fall in line. The bar has most certainly been raised!