What is the traditional view of a “real man”? Is it the tough cowboy played by Clint Eastwood? The suave debonair of George Clooney? The understated heroism of Gregory Peck’s Atticus Finch? The internet lore-fueled version of Chuck Norris? Personally, it is the best of my grandfathers and my dad. Almost no one believes traditional masculinity to have anything to do with fake machismo but, at the same time, the metro-sexual man doesn’t fill the role either.
Feminism seems to expect something different of men. It may be called “sensitivity” or “modernity” but it is really nothing more than a desire for fealty and deference. Out of a sense of equality, feminists desire to remove men from their lives as much as possible (most of the leaders of the feminist movement of the past were lesbians). Families are shunned, abortion is advocated, all in the name of having a career the same as a man. Women with children are “breeders” contributing to population excess.
What is it that feminism rejects with its warped view of men? Chivalry; the man who seeks to protect his girlfriend, fiancee, or wife; the man who respects her to the point of sacrificing his own desires for hers. A man who does these things is overbearing and abusive. A girl or woman who appreciates these things is weak, a girl to be pitied for allowing herself to be a victim of a man…acting like a man.
What is it that Edward Cullen does to Bella Swann to catch the ire of feminists?
He protects her. According to feminists, a woman doesn’t need a man’s protection, apparently even when packs of vampires (James, Victoria, the newborns, the Volturi) are set to destroy her and he is one of the few who can intercede.
He watches her sleep. Part of this is a strange, stupid refusal to recognize the ability of an author to re-imagine the traditional description of a fictitious character. (Twilight haters also love to claim that “vampires don’t sparkle” as though the appearance of vampires in the sun has been determined by an international governing body). More so, it is the sad view of feminism of what they call a “paternal” society. To a feminist, my own father watching me sleep couldn’t be a father silently reflecting on years gone by, but it is creepy and full of dangerous motives. Edward must be a pedophile, as it is easier to dismiss behavior that repulses them (a man behaving like a man) if they can attribute it to something vulgar. Men are the enemy; not just our husbands and boyfriends, but our fathers. Feminists truly believe in the words of Eddie Vedder: we hold the hand that holds us down. It makes one wonder what kind of relationship most feminists had with their fathers.
He waits. Anyone familiar with the Twilight series knows that Edward turning Bella to a vampire is a metaphor for sex. Despite what Bella wants, Edwards refuses to give in knowing it will be a decision she will regret at just 17 or 18. It is not until the real thing takes place (after they are married) that Edward fulfills Bella’s wish for immortality in order to save her during childbirth. Edward controlling this part of their relationship angers feminists who want men to give into the sexual desires of a woman at her whim. It is this view of feminism, that women engaging in promiscuity is true enlightenment and freedom, that is most damning and, ultimately, repressive.
The pervasive view of Twilight, and all things, through the feminist lens is that any affection or attention not initiated by a woman is tantamount to rape. Edward is a creep, a pedophile, an abuser because he takes the lead in a relationship. Even more alarming to feminists is that Bella allows him to do so. I wish a man to be a man. I wish him to lead not just in dance, but throughout our lives together. For a fictional character, Edward represents masculinity far better than most. And he could tear Chuck Norris in two.