Column – Twilight objectifies men

November 15, 2008 — Leave a comment

Last semester, I wrote a column defending the video game “Mass Effect,” which includes a possible “sex scene” between your male or female character and a female character of your choosing.

After the column was published, I recall one commenter on the Daily Toreador website berating me for defending video games, which “objectify women.”

Now, this is an argument we hear all the time from various groups, including feminists. We hear that all media objectifies women by putting more emphasis on the ones with great bodies. Bigger boobs, thinner thighs, and usually less and less clothing.

While these people can certainly make a good, strong case, I find it funny that they always focus on the women portrayed on screen (be it in a show, movie or video game), outraged that all men are apparently being trained to only expect “perfect” women.

Enter “Twilight’s” Edward Cullen.

He’s an older man (I hear many women are into that kind of thing) who has everything. Strength, money, nice cars, large intellect and of course good looks.

And he has a heart of gold … it just doesn’t beat.

He doesn’t have to sleep or even breathe, and he’ll always know how to satisfy your needs, because unless your name is Bella Swan, he can read your mind.

Sure, movies might make our girlfriends worry we’re falling for the sexy side of Angelina Jolie or Scarlett Johansson, but really, ladies … how the hell are we guys supposed to compete with a vampire who literally sparkles in the sunlight?

Sure, there’s a good story there – yes, I’ll admit that I’m a male reader of the “Twilight series – but how many girls and women are going to see the “Twilight” film later this week purely to see how actor Robert Pattinson stacks up to their imagined version of Edward Cullen?

My guess is quite a few.

This isn’t an entirely new thing. I’m always hearing about girls watching “Pirates of the Caribbean” for Johnny Depp and Orlando Bloom, or sitting down for a night of the “Bourne” movies just to ogle Matt Damon.

And this isn’t a phenomenon limited to any age. I think the primary reason my mom watched “Michael Clayton” was that it starred George Clooney.

And yet, some (though not all) women want to slap us for walking out of a theater thinking that Megan Fox made “Transformers” worth the price of admission, while they essentially do the same thing we do.

What gives?

Yes, I agree, it’s dangerous and unhealthy to only ever show women in any medium who have the look of a goddess, but that street should run both ways. And if your girlfriend is going to swoon over the ripped body of Zac Efron, she should understand if you have a slight crush Keira Knightley.

Now, understand that this definitely has the potential to go too far. Relationships, of course, should be about far more than physical attraction and good looks. It will always serve you well to remember this the next time you start wishing your girlfriend looked more like Jessica Biel, or your boyfriend like Ashton Kutcher.

But as long as that’s kept in check, there’s no reason guys and girls can not only accept the results of such “objectification,” but also laugh and grow closer over it.

So girls, it’s true, no guy may ever be able to measure up to Edward Cullen. For starters, we still have to breathe. But keep in mind that it’s us – not a vampire – that can keep you warm at night. Also, we won’t try and suck your blood. Probably.

Guys, remember that while the fictional “Tomb Raider” Lara Croft might provide one crazy night, she’s not going to stay at your side and take care of you when you need her to.

If you go see “Twilight” with a date this week, don’t obsess over the characters on-screen, hot as they may be. Love the person you’re with. They may surprise you by being worth more than any vampire or werewolf could ever be.

Britton Peele

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Freelance video game critic for sites like GameSpot and GamesRadar. Amateur fantasy author.

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