If You’re Team Edward, You Like Gay Men
I know, I know, the title to this sounds like a Twilight bashing statement. And don’t worry, we’ll get to that, eventually. But for now, let’s concentrate on the fact that a recent article in Esquire actually made the claim that the Twilight series, in fact, the entire current vampire craze, is “because young straight women want to have sex with gay men.”
Edward, the romantic hero of the Twilight series, is a sweet, screwed-up high school kid, and at the beginning of his relationship with Bella, she is attracted to him because he is strange, beautiful, and seemingly repulsed by her. This exact scenario happened several times in my high school between straight girls and gay guys who either hadn’t figured out they were gay or were still in the closet. Twilight‘s fantasy is that the gorgeous gay guy can be your boyfriend, and for the slightly awkward teenage girls who consume the books and movies, that’s the clincher. Vampire fiction for young women is the equivalent of lesbian porn for men: Both create an atmosphere of sexual abandon that is nonthreatening. That’s what everybody wants, isn’t it?
Whoa, whoa, whoa, wait, back up here. Let’s address this bit by bit, okay?
First of all, yes, there is something to the vampires as a metaphor for homosexuality theory. Vampires for the most part are known for having fangs. The vampires feed by penetrating a human with their fangs and draining their vital fluids. Note the key word there: penetrating. Penetration.
LIKE WITH A PENIS.
Sorry, just had to get that out there. Yes, some psychologists read the fangs and feeding as a metaphor for penetration and therefor sex. Which is part of why we read vampires as sexual in the first place. Even going as far back as Bram Stoker there’s the possibility to read in homosexual subtext:
But at that instant, another sensation swept through me as quick as lightning. I was conscious of the presence of the Count, and of his being as if lapped in a storm of fury. As my eyes opened involuntarily I saw his strong hand grasp the slender neck of the fair woman and with giant’s power draw it back, the blue eyes transformed with fury, the white teeth champing with rage, and the fair cheeks blazing red with passion. But the Count! Never did I imagine such wrath and fury, even to the demons of the pit. His eyes were positively blazing. The red light in them was lurid, as if the flames of hell fire blazed behind them. His face was deathly pale, and the lines of it were hard like drawn wires. The thick eyebrows that met over the nose now seemed like a heaving bar of white-hot metal. With a fierce sweep of his arm, he hurled the woman from him, and then motioned to the others, as though he were beating them back. It was the same imperious gesture that I had seen used to the wolves. In a voice which, though low and almost in a whisper seemed to cut through the air and then ring in the room he said,
“How dare you touch him, any of you? How dare you cast eyes on him when I had forbidden it? Back, I tell you all! This man belongs to me! Beware how you meddle with him, or you’ll have to deal with me.”
This trend continued on until authors like Anne Rice and Poppy Z. Brite took the subtext and made it flat out text. While in the past it had been male vampire biting male victim = male pentrating another male = teh gay sex, those authors among others made it male vampire having sex with male vampire =teh gay sex.
Now, in more current media, True Blood makes several seemingly direct correlations between vampirism and homosexuality. In fact, Stephen Moyer, one of the show’s stars, has suggested he’d like to see a sex scene with his character, Bill Compton, and fellow vampire Erik Northman, played by Alexander Skarsgard. And Joss Whedon, writer/creator of Buffy: The Vampire Slayer has admitted in a commentary that two of his male vampires, Angel and Spike, have at least experimented with each other in the past.
HOWEVER, claiming that Twilight addresses that issue? That’s your problem. First of all, the claim that Edward is “repulsed” by Bella isn’t true. Edward ACTS repulsed by Bella, however it is because he is concealing his extreme desire for her. Edward wants to bite Bella…Edward wants to penetrate Bella.
Um, and can we take a second here and examine the idea of “he’s gay so he’s repulsed by women?” That’s just flat out insulting to gay men. While you’re at it, why don’t you throw in some more “proof” that Edward is gay: he uses hair product, dresses well, doesn’t seem too into sports…it’s all bs stereotypes.
Also, there is the part where the homosexual overtones of vampirism rely on the fact that the vampire feeds off of male humans. Which Edward clearly doesn’t. He feeds off of animals. Which means a better analogy is that Edward is into beastiality.
Let that sink in for a second.
The sexual politics of Twilight are an interesting topic, don’t get me wrong. Edward insists that he won’t bite Bella until they’re married. Just one bite and you’re turned into something that needs to bite others all the time to survive. Vampire Bella is so pure and magical she can control herself in regards to biting. Now, go back through and imagine that instead of biting, you’re talking about having sex. Intriguing, no?
However, the idea that Twilight is homosexual friendly is laughable. Because while we see a number of relationships portrayed, they are all male/female. We see two relationships that are infact a child with an adult in an arranged marriage situation, which is written off as perfectly normal and healthy (one of the two couples is even named in a reference to Lolita, a book about adult/child relationships…but, um, it doesn’t exactly portray those as HEALTHY). But at no point are we shown a male/male or female/female situation.
And one cannot discount Stephenie Meyer’s own politics. We know she is a devout Mormon and she has said that she tithes. Which isn’t a big deal until you consider the Mormon church’s stance on homosexuality. “The Mormon Church will not bow to popular opinion that asserts because ‘they were born that way’, gays and lesbians should be permitted to live a homosexual lifestyle.” In fact, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints not only actively preaches against homosexuality, but went on to donate more than $190,000 to Pro-Prop 8 campaigns, which lead to gay marriage once again being banned in the state of California.
So yes, there’s a lot to be said about gay vampires. But Twilight is hardly a shining example and the idea that it’s popularity is due to straight girls wanting to bang gay guys? Ridiculous. I mean, I’m assuming there’s got to be a reason people like those books, but since we’ve ruled out being well-written, interesting plot, captivating characters, drugs laced into the ink they’re printed with, hypnosis, something in the water and girls wanting to have sex with gay men, the search for that reason continues.