Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Eclipsed by the Knight

The knight in shining armor, dream of many a small girl, and many a full grown girl. We yearn for the fairy tale, the glass slipper, the beast that turns handsome, or Richard Gere climbing a fire escape to whisk us from a life of poverty. A few nights ago I watched the latest Twilight movie, Eclipse. In this movie, for those of you who don't know, Edward and Jake are both fighting for the attentions of beautiful Bella. Both men, although one a vampire and one a werewolf, have only Bella's well being in mind (possibly some other things too!) They both want to protect her from other bloodthirsty vampires that are out to kill her. As preposterous as it may sound, being courted by a dog and the undead, all Twilight  fans have their own opinion, and join team Edward or team Jake. Is it culturally ingrained that we of the female persuasion (I do not speak for all, but if there is a market there must be a problem) must crave a man for protection and support? I will be the first to proclaim myself a feminist, but I also dream of the one kneed proposal, the man whisking me away, saving me from myself and my outlandish rent payments. The dichotomy is strong. I can support myself, I am a strong, independent woman, putting myself through a challenging college while raising a teenager without child support. But I grow giddy when Edward saves Bella from the dastardly vampire Victoria (sorry, team Edward here.) I root for wealthy Richard as he climbs the fire escape to ask Vivian, a prostitute to marry him. Disney and Hollywood perpetuate the myth, but it really started long ago in France. Chr├ętien de Troyes first introduced us to the character of Lancelot in the 12th century in "Erec and Enide." At this time in Medieval France knights were young unmarried men who would terrorize the countryside, raping and pillaging. The knight in Shining Armor was created as a marketing ploy. And a very good one at that. I have fallen for it.  I don't think I am the only one. Twilight grossed 392 million dollars worldwide.

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