Sunday, May 1, 2016

I shall share some thoughts on Twilight Hatedom and an Anime called School Days

[Update July 2016: I feel really stupid, but i"m now aware that Vrai doesn't identify as male (or female).  It was not my intend to Misgender someone, I'm very very sorry.  I shall try to find any edit every part where I used male pronouns and change them.]

VraiKaiser is an online Queer media blogger who I'm a big fan of, I loved their anyalasises of Utena, Woman Called Fujiko Mine and currently Gankutsuo, and their occasional posts on Evangelion and Madoka.  They are very intelligent and insightful though I don't quite always agree.

But no one is perfect, and I feel their biggest blunder is this post on Twilight and an Anime called School Days.  First of all I do not share their general hostility to Love Triangles, and the subversive ending I'd like a Love Triangle story to have is allowing Non-Monogamy to be a real option.  But that's a minor quibble.

I shall copy here two comments I'd left on that awhile ago, but I have for here corrected the typos I made before and did some other polishing.  But remember this copied nature is why they are sometimes worded as if I'm talking directly to Vrai.

For the School Days part especially there shall be Spoilers, Vrai tried to avoid specific spoilers.  For the Twilight part especially what I say should be read by all Twilight Critics, really there is nothing there specific to what Vrai said.

Remember none of this is meant to insult Vrai who I respect a great deal.  It's a constructive criticism.

The Twilight section.

I really have no sympathy for Twilight haters, including when the hate is given on Feminist grounds.

I’m not a Twilight fan, it’s not the kind of story that interests me. But I get annoyed with all Internet hatedoms.  I did enjoy the movies for New Moon and Eclipse.  I really loved The Host movie, that was a great piece of Sci-Fi.

The Feminsit criticisms of Twilight are often valid but also sometimes unfair. It’s a massive over simplification of the books to say we’re supposed to think of Edward as flawless and perfect.  And I really take offensive to the whole “Bella gave up her friends and family for her boyfreind” claim, her family was broken and her friends were fake, the biggest casting mistake of the movies was that Anna Kendrick was too likable for her character.  She gained a family by marrying Edward, it not being her blood family doesn't make it any less valid.  This pro family message is what most reflects the author's Mormonism.

But the thing is the Hatedom is mostly driven by sexism and homophobia. By memes online that show a picture of Nosferatu next to Edward saying “Vamprie, Fa***ot, know the difference” unaware that the original literary Vampire was based on Lord Byron. And by a general attitude that the trash directed at teen girls shows what’s wrong with teenage girls while the trash directed at teen boys is the main stream pop culture of our society.

But since Misogynists insist on denying they’re Misgynists, every time I try to call them out on how sexist their attitudes are, they just point to the Feminist criticisms on TheMarySue to justify themselves. And really you’ll be surprised how often misogynists and feminists can be offended by the exact same things where Twilight is concerned. Your typical “Nice Guy” also loves pointing out what an abuser Edward is, they would like to identify with Jacob, but Jacob had flaws too so that angers them even more. And then there is the calling Bella a Mary Sue, the sexism of which has been explained to death in the wake of The Force Awakens and Rey.

And then there are the Vampire purists who don’t really care about any gender messages, they’re just upset that the Vampire sub-genre has evolved past Bram Stoker. But since the majority of those Classic Gothic Novels are by no means Feminist (even the ones written by women, just like Meyer) it’s equally hypocritical for them to use any Feminist arguments to justify themselves.

I’ve seen one try to give Bram Stoker Feminist cred simply because Mina had a Job. yeah for the 1890s that’s interesting but at the end of the day Stoker’s treatment of women in the story still revolved entirely around the Madonna-Whore complex.

Every Feminist criticism of Twilight also applies doubly to True Blood. But True Blood is marketed to adult men not teen girls. Meanwhile True Blood tries to send a strong Gay Rights message, both allegorically and literally, but undermines that every step of the way with it’s stereotyping and gratuitous violence. I liked Season 2 of True Blood and that’s it.

Plenty of Twilight fans are aware of it’s flaws, they are not delusional. Teen girls can separate fantasy from reality just as well as the people who like Transformers can.

The School Days section.

I have watched all 12 episodes of School Days now, and I find your interpretation troubling.

I find neither Makoto or Sekai nearly so unlikable, nor do I find pre episode 9 Kotonoha nearly so innocent. I find them all sympathetic and what happens to them tragic, if anyone is to blame for it all it’s their parents being completely absent.

But Kotonoha. I see as like the possible pre Acid Bath Joker we’re shown in The Killing Joke. Lots of people hate on it for supposedly showing a perfectly normal and sane Joker before his accident, but if you pay attention the signs of there being a psychopath beneath the surface were there long before any of the tragedy he faced.

When Kotonoha suspects Makoto is about to break up with her she Cockteases him into agreeing to meet at the festival. And she pretty much blackmails Setsuna. (I’m amused how many names here I recognize from other Animes but now being used by the opposite Gender.)

Yes, Makoto is a teenager who makes a lot of stupid relationship decisions because he has never been in one before. The fact that it’s so popular for older viewers to want to see fictional teenagers suffer horrible bloody fates for their typical teenage mistakes I find much more problematic and unhealthy then anything in Twilight.

Sekai I was reading as manipulative in the first episode and a half just because you put that idea in my head. The more the story progressed the more ridiculous that interpretation of her became. We see her by herself very often, we see she is genuinely conflicted. And once she learns she’s pregnant she starts becoming more irrational, which is understandable. But I can tell your interpretation comes from what is “revealed” in the final episode, not actual plot progression. I’ll get to that later.

What I find most bothersome is your saying of Makoto “lucks his way under many, many skirts” to describe him being sexually assaulted. First Setsuna who for the first 7 and a half episodes seemed to be motivated by a Yuri Crush on Sekai is given a flashback to reveal she has a crush on him, and them kisses him while he’s unconscious.

Then in Episode 9 there is what happens to him in the “rest room” (if any term should have been translated less literally by the subtitles it’s that one). I realize some might outright mock the suggestion that that was non consensual. But if the genders were flipped no fellow Feminists or SJWs would see it as consensual. That the Rape Kotonoha experiences the same episode is depicted as far more dramatic and disturbing just reflects the double standards in how society views rape.

In the following episode Makoto received another unsolicited kiss, now while awake, from Setsuna. After that he starts becoming much more sexually assertive with the women outside the main triangle, but that’s not an uncommon psychological response to being raped.

His behavior only became really dickish after he learns he got Sekai pregnant. But that’s a shocking revelation and not one any teenager is prepared to handle, people should tell him he’s being a dick because that’s how you learn. But I would have far less sympathy for someone reacting that way if he was a decade older. There were moments where he did seem to be starting to come to his senses, but Psycho-Kotonoha kept taking advantage of his confusion.

Part of which was her accusation against Sekai in the final episode, starting with the accusation that she manipulated Setsuna. I don’t take that at face value, nor do I believe the psychotic delusion Sekai later had seemingly confirming it. Both Women are mentally unstable at this point. But it’s Sekai’s I see as being temporary insanity, while Kotonoha makes more sense to me as being a mere unleashing of what was always there.

Then there is Kotonoha’s accusation that Sekai faked the pregnancy. We saw when Sekai came to the conclusion she was pregnant, alone by herself, not possibly acting for anyone. Now it could be she had a false alarm, which still makes Kotonoah’s accusation wrong. But the conclusion that there was “nobody in there” is based on the word of a psychotic teenager with no medical training who wants to see proof of what she’s already convinced herself. We have no way of knowing if she even cut open the right internal organ. Rather we are looking at Kotonoha seemingly from the POV of the dying fetus.

Perhaps this is the advantage of my being sober and alone as I watched it. I’ve read Paul Feval’s John Devil which has a comparably fake twist in it’s ending.

Vrai also describes the ending as if one person snapped and killed everyone else, but in fact the two people who died were not killed by the same person.

I rather liked it, it has flaws, but I’d consider it a good dramatic Tragedy.

I hope my thoughts were insightful.

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