CMN 3104 Chapter Notes - Chapter 6: Edward Cullen, Adrienne Rich, Gay Bashing
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Film, Entertainment and Television
6.3 BELLA’S CHOICE: DECONSTRUCTING IDEOLOGY AND POWER IN
THE TWILIGHT SAGA: Leslie A. Grinner
•!The author presents a framework – applicable to any text – that
you can use to help determine the extent to which media content
perpetuates dominant ideologies.
•!Using SCWAMP framework, the author concludes that The Twilight
Saga film series reinforces dominant ideologies.
With all these hype around these films and actors, it is easy to overlook
some of the ideological messages being transmitted to the audiences who
engage with them.
Certainly, The Twilight Saga follows the same formula as so many teen
romance films before it, using rites of passage such as prom and graduation
to maintain the focus on youth culture.
Furthermore, the pervasive cultural story of “Forbidden Love” stands as the
foundation for these films.
But there is an invisible set of ideals (ideology) that guide these films.
Ideology can be defined as a set of beliefs that guide a culture – the most
commonly known and understood values and mores (customs).
Ideology tells us who or what is most valued on our culture, and by
extension, what is the least valued.
Its so pervasive (widespread) that it lies at the very foundation of our
Media can reinforce or resist ideology.
SCWAMP, which stands for Straight, Christian, White, Able-Bodied, Male, and
Property holding, is an intersectional framework.
Intersectional analysis explains that ideological positions are interconnected
These relationships are shaped and impacted by the society in which they’re
Being able to identify the dominant ideologies present in media, and the
ways in which we buy into those ideologies, provides us with a way to either
consciously conform to or actively resist them.
We can become a culture that is more media literate, which will allow us to
be more educated and informed consumers of media.
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The Twilight Saga series is well-suited for this type of analysis, SCWAMP,
because it reinforces dominant ideologies yet obscures this by placing them
within a discourse of teen romance.
APPLYING THE SCWAMP FRAMEWORK
•!The components of SCWAMP in The Twilight Saga can be easily
tested by investigating the privileges and benefits connected to
them, the ways in which they constitute societal norms, and the
consequences associated with deviance from those norms.
•!Straightness / Heterosexuality
o!Evidence of straightness/heterosexuality being most valued in
our culture can be found in the treatment that lesbian, gay,
bisexual, and transgender people encounter on the daily
basis, such as gay-bashing and other forms of discrimination.
o!In contrast, heterosexuality is taken for granted as a normal,
natural part of humanity.
o!Adrienne rich refers to this phenomenon as compulsory
o!When we meet people, we often assume that they are
heterosexual, and treat them accordingly.
o!Heterosexuality is the hegemonic norm in The Twilight Saga
(as it is in so many other films), with the primary relational
focus being on the forbidden love between Bella and Edward.
o!But these films also convey compulsory heterosexuality by
having every primary character either involved with,
pursuing, or avenging the death of a heterosexual partner.
o!Although vampires have long been conceptualized has having
bisexual identities, the vampires in these films are definitely
o!Certainly there are numerous ideological positions rooted in
non-Christian religious beliefs.
o!However, we continue to conduct life in the US according to
the Christian calendar.
o!In film, Christian-based moral tales underpin almost every
o!The consequences for not conforming to a Christian ideology
can include living with a poor reputation because of sexual
practices or other choices of individual morality.
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