Contex Paper. Gender Norms in the Twilight Series This article is a book review of the Twilight Series books and its underlying theme of gender conformity, which is reinforced via traditional concepts of femininity and masculinity. The series has passive and weak women who need protection from violent and strong men, including the lead female’s mother who is erratic and harebrained and, therefore, needs a husband to take care of her (Hayes-Smith 78). Moreover, the article also identifies how the series shows women as competitors, while also mentioning that men treat women as property to act out their dominance, including fighting for the affection of women where the latter has no say in the matter. In addition, victimisation of women in the series is not seen as a problem as long as the partners are intimate with one another. Indeed, the article claims that some of the actions in the series should be considered sexual assault but, because the characters are intimate, violence against the female is not objectionable. Finally, the article also notes how the series suggests that women accept subordination as long as they are in love, concluding that the gender norms reflected in the series are harmful to young women (Hayes-Smith 79).
This article connects to the sociological concept of gender construction, which allows society to organise its lives in predictable and consistent ways, specifically by prescribing the ease of interaction and behaviour with people from other genders. When such a normative behaviour becomes rigidly defined as proposed by the article, the individual’s freedom is compromised (Ore 29). This is specifically so where the rigid definitions lead to development of stereotypes, in which negative traits such as insecurity and submission can be used to justify discrimination against members of a specific gender. In this case, the article connects to stereotyping of women in the gender concept, which also relates to sexism or the belief that males are superior to the status of females. Females have less prestige and less power, which connects to the article’s assertion that the female characters in the book are subservient to men. Furthermore, this sexism as identified in the article is perpetuated by male-dominated, patriarchy systems and social structures that cause oppression of women (Lober & Farrell 34). In such social structures, gender roles are structured by a specific script for females and another for males, which is supported by the article.
The reason why this article was selected is because gender representations in popular culture have become one of the most discussed issues for culture critics, especially for feminist commentators. There was nothing surprising about the argument provided by this article. especially since its discussion on gender roles and patriarchy have been discussed at length in the last 20 years. However, on some level, this article does not consider the fascination that young girls and women seem to hold for romance, which, in my opinion, is not merely a social construct. Indeed, despite all the indoctrination that the article claims the Twilight Series is perpetuating, it is important to note that most women still believe that human nature is inherently gendered as I also do. This is the reason why the Twilight Series has been so popular with young girls and women. because it reflects this gendered sensibility. Therefore, although the article contends that the series is perpetuating traditional notions of gender, the fact that there are so many females who adore the traditional gendered relationships and roles in the Twilight Series shows that females are able to separate fact and fiction. In any case, this is a story about vampires and claims that females may not know the different could be construed as stereotyping them as well.
Hayes-Smith, Rebecca. “Gender Norms in the Twilight Series.” Contexts. 10.2 (2011): 78-79. Print.
Lorber, Judith, & Farrell, Susan A. The Social Construction of Gender. Newbury Park, Calif: Sage Publications, 2011. Print
Ore, Tracy E. The Social Construction of Difference and Inequality: Race, Class, Gender, and Sexuality. Boston, Mass: McGraw-Hill, 2013.