What normal looks like

Salon’s analysis of the Twilight books seems to be the source (a source?) for this quote from the author, which I’ve been hearing repeated a fair amount:

Unlike Buffy, Bella is no hero. “There are so many girls out there who do not know kung fu, and if a guy jumps in the alley they’re not going to turn around with a roundhouse kick,” Meyer once told a journalist. “There’s a lot of people who are just quieter and aren’t having the Prada lifestyle and going to a special school in New York where everyone’s rich and fabulous. There’s normal people out there and I think that’s one of the reasons Bella has become so popular.”

Except. Except except except except.

I wasn’t going to post about Twilight again, but I find this notion that the alternative to being Buffy is being Bella deeply troubling.

Because there’s a lot of middle ground between Bella and Buffy. Most girls and women wouldn’t deliver a roundhouse kick in a dark alley, sure–but most of us do have a sense of basic self-preservation, don’t put ourselves into mortal danger on a daily basis (something Bella manages to do even when the supernatural nasties are absent)–and, when the men in our lives fail us, we mourn, but we don’t cease to function.

In the real world, Bella no more represents most of us than Buffy does, for all that it’s reasonable to say they both in some way represent basic desires.

I find the idea of Bella as representative of “normal” deeply, deeply creepy. Bella doesn’t represent me, and she doesn’t represent any of the “normal” girls and women I know, each of whom is strong in her own way, no Buffy powers required.

Women are strong in countless ways, some of them loud and clear, others remarkably quiet, so quiet you can miss them if you’re not paying attention. That’s what normal looks like.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *