Twilight Series: Surreptitiously Supporting HATE

Today I started reading Cassandra Clare‘s wildly popular Mortal Instruments series (often called TMI).  I had heard that it is a great example of YA (young adult) fiction that incorporates positive images of gay characters.  By positive images, I mean that it includes characters that identify as gay without their sexuality necessarily having anything to do with the plot.  It’s just a fact of life just like a million other little facts (e.g., Mom’s a nurse, people ate pizza one night, etc.)  It has the effect of making gay guys like me feel like we are an integral part of the writer’s universe.

While downloading the TMI books, I started trying to think of other YA works that I enjoy that also happen to have positive gay character inclusion.  It was easy enough to name off The Vampire Diaries, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and The House of Night Series…just to start off.  But then I started thinking about Twilight, and I was at a loss.

In searching around on the net, I first found something really interesting (and encouraging) which may or may not be the truth, though it is features in a story from the Dallas Voice.

Eclipse

Does removing Bella stroke your gay agenda?

Supposedly, in an effort to target gay audiences more directly, producers of The Twilight Saga: Eclipse encouraged the marketing team to take some creative license with images used in the campaign — like the example above where a trio shot is reduced digitally so that it appears that Edward and Jacob are having a heated “moment” alone.  Interesting.

I have to say it’s a good idea, IMHO.  I’ll admit that I myself did the same when creating my own t-shirt to wear on opening night to The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 1 (see below).

boys-white-tshirt-front-hr

Forget Bella, guys! Pick me!

So, on the face of it, it seems like Twilight is at least a gay-friendly franchise.  And then the other shoe drops…

I didn’t realize it before (or really care), but Stephanie Meyers is a devout Mormon, and she openly speaks about her practice of tithing to the church.  Ordinarily, I would never be concerned about someone’s faith; however, her being a Mormon, actively tithing, and the timing of things is a real…well…ISSUE.

In case you didn’t know, the law in California which denies same-sex couples the right to marry (called Proposition 8) was passed in 2008 by a narrow margin.  The Mormon church was one of the largest contributors, if not the largest, to the campaign to have the law passed.  Though no one knows the actual amounts, it is estimated that the institution and its members donated about $25,000,000 to the cause — effectively BUYING the law into existence.

ScreenHunter_26 Apr. 26 19.09

Stephanie Meyers is devout in Mormon homophobia.

Given that Stephanie’s income was about $50,000,000/year around that time, it’s likely that she funneled up to $5,000,000 into the church which was then able to use the funds to pass Prop 8.  It hurts my soul to know that my act of buying the books, seeing the movies, and collecting miscellaneous TwiMerch directly funded the homophobic religious group that, at least for now, has denied me the right to marriage.

There is talk that there may actually be another Twilight movie — possibly one set in the future when Renesme has grown up.  I definitely will not be seeing that unless it is somehow produced out of licensing agreements that have already been paid for — and even then I would hate for its success to in some way trickle down into renewed interest in the originals.

How do you guys feel about this?  Do you have examples of feeling your favorite artists have somehow turned against you?  I welcome your comments!

2 Comments

  1. Thanks for this entry. As an aspiring author, I’ve been trying to figure out how to fit characters from many walks of life into my stories. It’s not always easy to write about a character from a certain group when I am not actually part of that group, but I’d like to include gay characters in a positive way in some of my stories as an integral part of the universe.

    As for your question — well, I was disappointed to hear Orson Scott Card’s feelings on gay marriage. I’ve loved his stories for years (“Ender’s Game” especially). Also, out of the artistic arena, I’ve purchased things from a very small business before thinking I was helping out someone, ended up funding a divorce that hurt someone I cared about without knowing it. I was mortified and outraged. But many times so many things are caught up in the money we spend and the things we buy that if we knew where it all went we’d have problems buying anything. It’s a complex web.

    • KTHunter,
      I would suggest, when writing characters that aren’t necessarily totally mainstream, that you probably cannot go very wrong by just writing them exactly the way you write all of the other characters. For instance, to include a gay character, it can be as simple as having him mention how much he misses his mate, Krog, as the warriors sit around the campfire on their perilous journey. He doesn’t need to be effeminate, use special lingo, or otherwise play into stereotypes. That simple bit of inclusion is awesome. And if you wanted to get more adventurous with the storyline, have a gay author like me volunteer to be one of your proofing-bitches. We don’t speak for everyone, but we’ll help you avoid the obvious mistakes. And then finally, the best way for you to know how to write a character is for you to know people who are mental prototypes for that character. Surround yourself with diversity, and it will naturally appear in your writing, no? I’m not an expert author, but these seem to be things that work for me when I include a character from a different race/class/sexual orientation than my own.

      Now, as far as controlling how your money supports bigots, you’re totally on point that you can’t trace every buck you spend. But what if you took the time and effort just to trace the BIG bucks you spend. Take care when choosing a real estate broker, brand of car, university for your kids, etc. You likely can get a clear conscience about 80% of your cash outlay pretty easily, I think. And sure, you can’t sweat the rest.

      Thanks for visiting my blog. I’m both honored and excited!

      Bax

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