Saturday, April 30, 2011

Social Justice Event: Leslie Grinner, SCWAMP and TWILIGHT

For my social justice event I attended Leslie Grinner's talk on SCWAMP in relation to the popular films of the Twilight saga. During her lecture she spoke about what SCWAMP meant. S-straightness C-christianity W- whiteness A-able-bodiedness M-maleness P-property ownership. She gave examples from the movie about how each of these things were relatable to the Twilight films.

Leslie used this picture in her presentation. The caption says "Twilight: a story about a girls choice between Beastiality and Necrophilia" I found this to be humorous, and true.

She pointed out straightness in the way that for every single relationship that is set up in this film, it is always a match of male and female. She explained how even Bella, the main character asks her father why he isnt with another woman, implying that being in a relationship was really the only locigal way of living. Other points of the straightness was the obvious obsession with Bella. Leslie pointed out that every single guy in this movie wanted Bella, she was their object of affection. She was the new girl in school, nothing very special about her, very awkward, sickly pale, strange, and somehow she was the most popular girl in the school, and the biggest attraction that the males could find.

Christianity is valued in this movie through Edwards character. Leslie points out how Edward wants Bella to stay a virgin until the two of them marry because he believes it is the right thing to do. In the christian way of life saving your virginity for marriage is really like saving your soul in a way, and the irnoy that Leslie points out from this is that Edward wants to save Bella's soul through keeping her virginity, but then he will drain out her blood, kill her, and make her into an immortal life and souless vampire? MAKES SENSE.

Whitness is also an issue throughout this movie. They obviously decided to incorporate other ethnicties through Bellas friends. She has a typical asian friend... school news paper photographer, and his asian girlfriend, a random black friend that almost kills her, and then of course Jacob Black and his family who are clearly of a Native American ethnicity, even could be Hispanic. The Native Americans in this movie are all wolves, beasts if you will, who when enraged turn into their wolf forms. At one point in the film we see that one of the girlfriend of a wolf has already been malled by her boyfriend/fiance, but because this is the life she has chosen for herself its okay. This point also relates to the fact that in these movies Bella is stuck between two men, both who are dangerous guys that could kill her without even meaning to, but she doesn't mind.

Able-bodiedness is shown through the great strength that Bella's love interests have. They are both extremely strong, and fit ( shown through the lack of clothing that all the Native America boys have) and this is a quality that attracts Bella. The only person in this film who is disabled is Jacob's father, an older Native American man who is in a wheelchair.

Maleness is a HUGE part of these films. The fact that Bella is so awkward and really unspecial, nothing great about her, is done on purpose because it focuses the attention on the men in this film. Bella is actually surrounded by men, she lives with just her dad, she has two boyfriends and all the guys in school want her. The main part of maleness in these films comes into play with Jacob and Edward, Bella's love interests. Both are handsome, mysterious, dangerous, dark, not the best pick for Bella but she is drawn to them anyways. All of these qualities are very close to what a relationship going through domestic violence is like. Also the marketing of these films are all about which MAN Bella is going to chose to be with.

Property ownership is a huge difference in Edward and Jacob. Jacob is a simple guy, works with his hands on his car, wears no shirt, lives on a reservation, doesn't have to many fancy things. Edward is a guy who has a doctor for a father, drives a new car every movie, lives in an amazing home, and can fly out of his huge bedroom glass doors that overlook the forrest.

Edward ultimately has more appeal in this movie, in the eyes of Bella, and after breaking it down you can see that his straight maleness, christian values, white skin, super strength, and fancy cars could have done the trick to suck Bella in. Even though Jacob, would actually be a better fit for Bella, considering she doesn't have to die to be with him.

Bella's death is the strongest message in these films. She is willing to die, leave her life behind, let her soul go... all to cater to a man. A man that has to give up nothing, while she has to give up everything.


I can relate this social justice events to the following articles...

Peggy McIntosh "White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack"
In this article McIntosh basically explains what white privilege is and how white people don't usually see that its there. Leslie Grinner is very much aware of white privilege and spoke out about it throughout this whole lecture. She pointed out white privilege with SCWAMP and she pointed it out with Twilight... which all relate to the real world.

Johnson "Privilege, Power, and Difference"

In this article, Johnson speaks out about the differnces in gender, race, social class, sexual orientation, and ethnicity in our society. In this lecture you can easily see how Leslie related all of these differences to the Twilight films because with SCWAMP you exlpore all of these things and you get the understanding of what is happening in our society. You truly can see who has the power, and who has the privilege in this society, and the film twilight shows us this in a very stereotypical way.

Delpit "Other People's Children"

In Delpit's article she speaks about the "culture of power" and how we as individulas need to know what the culture of power is and how fitting into this culture of power can give us the things we need. I see this with Bella's character because in this film the culture of power are the vampires. They are made out to be the powerful, wealthy, successful people in this film, and in order for Bella to get what she wants (Edward), she must become one of them.


  1. That picture was so funny! Leslie Grinner had a great speech and it was great how she related SCWAMP to Twilight.

  2. i never really thought how media plays such a huge part in scwamp

  3. again with the twilight/scwamp meeting.. i really wish i went. im starting to get really jealous of everyone that went!

  4. good connections and analysis, Danielle!