Sunday, November 20, 2011

Breaking bones

music: Ryuichi Sakamoto - Seven Samurai

Source: Yahoo! Movies

I wasn't planning a post on Breaking Dawn. Heck, I wasn't planning to see it during its opening weekend. But I have seen it. And in between all the laughs it made me quite angry.

Having a movie like Breaking Dawn come out during the whole planned parenthood debate in the States is quite the backlash. Obviously, the backlash this movie might create can't be compared to the backlash created by American legislators and politicians. However, the fact that a mass phenomenon like the Twilight series carries such an obvious anti-abortion message is just as disturbing as the horror birth scene in Breaking Dawn - Part 1.

Watching Breaking Dawn reminded me of my high school religion teacher. There was smth really strange about that woman. No matter how annoyed I was by the things that she was saying, I was always listening to her, like actually listening. I don't remember an exact quote, but she did say smth about dying during childbirth being the biggest sacrifice a woman could make and that consequently, that makes her a martyr - and not metaphorically. At that time I didn't give it much consideration but now, having seen Breaking Dawn, it got me so angry. Just seeing Bella looking like a corpse but still defending the little monster that was breaking her bones and sucking her blood made me sick to my stomach. And then, the message that the woman who dies in childbirth is some sort of saint is made clear when all her bruises and signs of death are magically erased and she becomes this heavenly glowing creature. (Sreencaps after the jump; apologies for the bad quality).

I gave up on Stephenie Meyer's Breaking Dawn b/c I was already bored with the books but mostly b/c it was really silly. Every line of dialogue made me laugh. I could already anticipate what some of the characters would say, I could anticipate Jacob's imprinting on Renesmee. Renesmee... seriously, that name alone is a good enough reason to stop reading the book. But it was this imprinting business that was the last straw. It's disturbing how many anti-women instances are romanticized in these books.

I sort of liked the first movie b/c it was more like a teen movie. And Edward lurking in the dark in Bella's bedroom, I saw that as him being the stereotypical bad boy Bella should stay away from. Twilight was harmless. However, the amount of anti-women messages in Breaking Dawn is difficult to ignore.

(Ah, poor Kristen Stewart. What have they done to her? This makes me look forward to seeing her kick some ass in Snow White and The Huntsman. Though I wish she had more parts in movies like The Runaways or On the Road.)

Update (11/21/11):

+ Vuture/ NY Magazine: Can a Grown Werewolf Falling in Love With a Newborn Not Be Creepy? (And Seven Other Things About Breaking Dawn)
+ Vulture/ NY Magazine: The Spoiler Interview: Breaking Dawn’s Screenwriter Discusses the Sex Scene, the Bloody Birth, and Feminism

There's an ongoing debate between the Cullens about whether to call Bella's in-utero child a "fetus" or a "baby" … you're aware that some commentators may pick up on the abortion undertones there and run with it?
Absolutely, and as a pro-choice feminist, that was certainly my concern going in. No matter what, I would not have done this movie if it violated my own beliefs — I would have just walked away — so I had to find a way into it that was in line with my own thinking and yet not violating anyone else's beliefs.

"Undertones", that's the key word. To be fair, Melissa Rosenberg does deserve some credit for those undertones. I don't think her "undertones" really change Stephenie Meyer's anti-abortion message but I get it - she did what she could with the material she had.

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