For my social justice event I attended Dr. Lesley Grinner's presentation about the aspects of SCWAAMP in Twilight. I am not a big Twilight fan and I probably couldn't tell you the names of all the characters, however I did see the first one when it came out on DVD a while ago and I watched the second one the weekend before this lecture so I would have an idea of what was going on.
Like when we read the article in class that had to do with SCWAAMP, at first I was defensive, I felt I was being blamed for all the atrocities, taboos and social faux pas that every white, christian, straight, American, Able-bodied, property owning man ever committed. But then I remembered class and that it was okay to feel like this, so on and so forth. Dr. Grinner also said something that I really liked, she said this was just showing how SCWAAMP is valued, it is not a personal attack on white people. She also talked about how not all non-SCWAAMP would agree with each other on the issues she discussed. "How do i make this look like the problems aren't my own personal problems with other people," was one of her biggest challenges and where Twilight (or Grease, a pop-american film) filled a void.
This presentation obviously connected to McIntosh's "White Privilege" article. Dr. Grinner went over the how the "white" vampire family is rich, powerful and good looking, which gave Edward, the white, the advantage over Jacob, the native american, in attracting Bella. Edward had that invisible knapsack that included, his high education, similar culture to Bella, the nice cars, money, etc. that allowed him to win Bella over Jacob.
There were also connections to the "Gender and Education" unit we did in class. While Bella has to choose between the two male characters, the movie is no longer about this plain, whitest of white girl's choice, but a competition between Jacob and Edward. Bella is helpless and insignificant at points throughout the story as the two males display their manly attributes. Jacob is muscular, works with his hands (because he's a minority according to Grinner) and appeals to Bella's more primal attractions. While Edward is clean, rich, white, powerful, Christian valued (No sex before, marriage or commitment or whatever) intelligent, educated and of course, he wins her love.
Grinner talked about how this movie portrays the Quileute indians in a traditional, stereotypical way and has created buzz around their tribe, reservation and traditions. All while using their name and they are receiving no benefit, this reminded me of a report I watched on ESPN's Outside the Lines about the controversy over the North Dakota University Fighting Sioux name, as the Indians never gave permission to use their name and they want it back. Couldn't find the video but here is an article.
Grinner also talked about Bella's choice between the rich white boy or the beast, wolf minority. Bella is given the option of picking the rick white boy who has money power and can live forever or the beast, who could be abusive... so obviously she picks the white boy. This portrays, Grinner points out, minorities as abusive, beast-like and the white male as the better, safer option for the female character. This reminds me "Beauty and the Beast" and how she tries to change the beast into the beautiful white boy. Bella couldn't change the beast, so she said "screw it, I'll take the one that already is white, rich, SCWAAMP, etc.