Sunday, November 25, 2012

Edward Cullen is Not Gay

In the late nineteenth century, the two main tropes for Vampire sires were:

1. Lesbian Vampire seducing innocent young girls to ruin.
2. Male Vampire, also seducing innocent young girls to ruin.

Le Vampire de John William Polidori

It occurred to me after getting educated on Vampire fiction in my late twenties (after I’d already been sired) that according to some definitions, I got ‘em both, as an innocent young girl pre-ruination.

Hey, there are plenty of people who believe ethical siring is an oxymoron, and that may never change. Although maybe Charles is off the hook, since Cathy’s the one who actually sired me. He was more of a siring enabler; really, depending on what the hell you insist siring is a metaphor for.

One interesting thing I’ve noticed is that people usually still assume Charles is the one who sired me. And I’ve gotten some fun responses over the years from the more conservative human members of our community after I set the record straight:

1950s: “Oh. I see. Well, you are vampires, what did I expect? If you’re already damned you may as well get magnificently damned, right?
1980s: “Oh, fuck. Oh right, you guys are immune to that, right? Right?”
1990s: “Oh, hey, that’s cool. You know, that’s you guy’s choice, and I totally respect that. What you guys do in your bedrooms is perfectly fine – there is nothing wrong with that as long as you don’t shove it down other people’s throats.”
2010s: “Holy shit, you’re a lesbian! That’s awesome!”

Nicely done,  ~Bilesuck on deviantART - you got the expression just right. 

Indeed, 1950s-2010s. As we all know, bisexuals still don’t exist, omnisexuals are just something they made up for Torchwood and to piss off conservatives (that’s just a bonus, man), and of course, siring is exactly like sex. Who doesn’t grow fangs and start drinking blood after sex? I know I do now – so I guess that means everyone does. It’s logic!

Also, sex makes you immortal.

If Twilight fan reactions are any indication, my conservative hosts are by no means distant outliers.


If you spend any time reading Team Anti-Twilight screeds against Edward Cullen, it doesn’t take too long for people to start calling him gay.

Well, he’s not.

Here’s how I know: he never expresses any sexual attraction to men. Or does anything sexual with men. Also, he expresses sexual attraction to women in his interior monologue, and has sex with women. Homosexuality is defined as exclusive attraction to one’s own sex. If you express attraction to the opposite sex, you cannot be gay, and if you never express any attraction to your own, you cannot be bisexual.

You kissed a girl?! That is so gay!

See, I think this is a pretty solved issue, but no. As it turns out, there is a multitude of ways you can be gay without actually being gay.

The unmistakable airtight case:

1. Edward is sparkly: Sigh. Folks, sparkling is a biological trait for Meyer’s Vampires. Applying body glitter to look ‘fabulous’ and naturally producing body-glitter, as part of a skin disease really can’t be judged by the same standards.

Fun fact: guys who were not gay have worn body glitter. When your hasty generalizations keep getting trampled by hordes of outliers, it’s time to let them run you down.

Set 'em straight, Eddie Izzard. 
2. Edward is pretty: Ah, yes. Prettiness and homosexuality are genetically correlated in men. I love Imaginary Genetics. Or maybe it’s just that gay men spontaneously develop prettiness after puberty once they realize they’re attracted to men, to suit them in their gay dating lives. Magic Biology is fun! Or maybe pretty men realize women will never want them because women only like ugly guys (as is evidenced by the obsession over men like Robert Pattinson in real life – clearly it’s only gay men that are into him), and thus ‘choose’ to be gay, which is totally a conscious choice. Pseudo-sociology is even more fun!

Also, prettiness is a biological trait for Meyer’s Vampires and all other Mary Sues. What are they, a Species of Gay?

3. Edward is thin: Nothing burns calories like homosexuality. Is it because of all the gay sex? Which is weird; if these stereotypes were any indication, you’d think gay men didn’t even have sex. They just sit around and sparkle together while dressing nice and writing poetry. I mean, if they didn’t even need gay attraction to be gay, where’s the sex?

Also bears and chubs don’t exist – gay men only like skinny guys or want to be skinny guys. To suggest otherwise is to suggest diversity of the kind liberals have invented as an insidious plot.

4. Edward is stylish: Fun fact – in the early 20th century (and most throughout most of Western culture before and after), men were encouraged to dress nicely. It didn’t make them ‘gay’ or anything (well, ‘gay’ meant something different back then). If Edward were somehow frozen in his 1910s perspective, you’d think he’d be pretty flabbergasted by the macho culture ‘men are slobs’ ideal. Also, he should wear hats.

I take it back. All men before the 1980s macho culture were gay. Look at Teddy Roosevelt.

Fierce big game hunter, and tough-as-nails politician. 
5. Edward is well spoken: He is? Okay, I’ll play along. Did you know that in the early 20th century the idea of a good woman writer was still controversial, and we were still using goddamn male pseudonyms to make a damn sale? Yeah, the ‘verbal skills are for women’ phenomenon is pretty modern, too. It’s almost like it’s a cultural construction or something. As is the idea that gay men are women.

6. Edward hates Jacob, which means he’s attracted to him: Yes. You know what? All my friends go through a stage where they hated me and tried to kill me before accepting my awesomeness. In fact, Cathy and Charles both teamed up to destroy my life and torture me before declaring me their beloved poly partner. It’s how all courtship works, and is a necessary stage in all romance.

So well drawn. 

Edward also threatens to kill Jacob on multiple occasions. He actually toyed with the idea of slaughtering Jacob’s entire tribe in Midnight Sun. And they fight all the time, usually over Bella. Abusive dominance games are exactly like love and attraction, and that is something normal and healthy people think. Also, guys paternalistically fighting over a women like a prized possession aren’t misogynists, they’re secretly into each other.

Stop following us, Freud. Don’t make me get my zombie hammer.

I'll show you 'penis envy.'
7. Edward was a virgin before he met Bella: Yes. Virginity is a sign that you like having sex with men. See, I’d think that not having sex for a hundred years would be a sign of being, um, asexual (or traumatized, or religious, etc.). But no. Apparently the only explanation is closet homosexuality.

We’ve already established that bisexuals just don’t exist. I guess asexuals don’t either. Also, men never voluntarily stay virgins. Entire religious and spiritual philosophies have been built around abstinence, but it has never happened in recorded history. No – even men who know that having sex with women WOULD KILL THE WOMEN (which is true for Vampires and human women in Twilight) cannot abstain from sex. Such is the male sex drive that it trumps all moral concerns and overrides every other personal conviction. Which is why prostitutes in the real world are respected professionals with waiting lists of hundreds of people every single night and promiscuous women are considered the world’s greatest humanitarians.

We all have testosterone and oxytocin, goddammit!

Whenever I hear people say that stupid ‘Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus’ cliché as a segue to the opposite gender stereotypes way of thinking, I want to say “Could you guys make it any more obvious that you’re talking about weird space aliens that don’t exist?” I also want to ask: “Which planet do you think gay people are from?”

One of the interesting things here is that a lot of these very same critics actually accuse Meyer of homophobia in other areas, like not including any openly gay characters. Yeah, a lot of them are otherwise pretty liberal.

And some of them have even imagined the existence of critics like me, and have preemptively asserted that they are not homophobic for saying these things about Edward. No, Meyer is. She’s the one perpetuating gay stereotypes by making Edward not a straight stereotype.

Yes. They’re using gay stereotypes to diagnose someone with homosexuality in the absence of any actual homosexual behavior – but they’re not perpetuating or validating gay stereotypes. I’m sure some of their best friends are gay, and they asked those gay friends, and those gay friends didn’t mind, too.

Hey, why stop there? You know what – Emmett Cullen is gay. I know, I know – he’s all ‘big’ and macho and weightlifting and sarcastic and aggressive and making fun of Edward. Don’t you see – he’s a bear! He’s big, he’s hairy, he likes hunting, and wrestling – bear. Rosalie is just his beard. Anyway, when Emmett goes blood hunting, his favorite animal to hunt is a grizzly bear, so clearly he’s trying to tell us something.

Carlisle Cullen and The Twilight Saga: The Official Illustrated Guide Photograph
He looks like Joseph Smith. 

Also, Carlisle is gay. Esme is also just a beard. The first guy he sires is a pretty teenage boy – totally the move of one of those depraved homosexuals they warned us about on TV during the 1950s that totally exist. Edward was your ‘companion’ Carlisle? Snort – you are you kidding? Men don’t have friends; just people they hope to have sex with (ask any Pick-Up Artist). Also, siring is exactly like sex.

Rosalie’s gay, too. Don’t let all that femme ‘world’s hottest woman’ thing fool you – she’s a lipstick lesbian. I mean, when she was eighteen, she didn’t even care about marrying the guy her parents wanted her to marry for social reasons – she just wanted a baby. And all lesbians want kids, and all girls love being practically sold into marriage. Plus, she likes fixing old cars, and straight women don’t do that, they get men to do it for them. And hey – she went to college and studied electrical engineering, medicine, astrophysics, and business – straight women just study liberal arts, which are inferior. She’s a lesbian. That’s probably the reason she hated Bella all those books – she was into her. Animosity is always attraction.

Gay couples. 

Also, Alice is gay. She has short hair, for one thing. And look at how she’s always hugging Bella – clearly indicative of sexual intent, because women never do that under any other circumstances. I guess she’s a lipstick lesbian though, what with the whole fashion plate thing.

As for Esme, um – I don’t know; she’s so underdeveloped as a character she could be anything. Oh right – she wasn’t into any guy after she met Carlisle that one time, but really that means she just wasn’t into guys and is a lesbian.

Jasper’s tougher, what with his highly manly psychopathy, but he does wear designer clothes and is also really pretty, so there’s no hope for him either.

The werewolves are easy – they’re a bunch of shirtless guys hanging out together. They’re all gay.

Wow. In one page we went from a book with no gay characters to a Cast of Gay. And I didn’t even get to all the reasons Bella, her mother, and her father were gay.

And here’s the best part: Edward used to hunt men and then torture them, who turned gay in response to his gay Vampire bite. Aw. Not only were they criminals, they died gay, too. And now he’s infecting everyone with gay with his gay presence, because the level of gay grows with age.

No, wait: this is the best part: the Cullens are rich. And gay. And we have no idea where all their money went, except towards all of their gay interior designing in their gay house, and gay clothes. I bet they were using it to fund the homosexual agenda. Think about it – the gay agenda has only gotten steadily worse in the twentieth century, and that’s when the Cullens were sired. It wasn’t the Progressives because we failed at everything according to practically everyone today, but now the Cullens and their ilk have won and everything is gay gay gay through gay osmosis of gay!


Homophobia is like any other form of paranoia. You’re afraid of something enough, you start seeing it everywhere – even ‘guilt by faint association’ can be enough.

I understand. Really. Some of my best friends are homophobes. Or were, anyway. I’m old – there were people in favor of gay rights when I was young, but they were just as closeted as the gay people. Well – we’re out and proud now, folks.

Obviously, I’m not actually interpreting the ‘Edward Cullen is Gay’ phenomenon as anything resembling an argument. It isn’t. They’re just making fun of him. They’re making fun of him by using homosexuality as an insult. I know a lot of people are under the impression they can insult people by calling them gay while somehow not implying homosexuality is bad, but every one of them who isn’t lying is wrong.

Folks – Meyer did not intend for Edward to be gay. She wrote him as, gasp, a non-macho straight male lead. What with Twilight being a formulaic vanilla straight romance novel with a female protagonist and all, Edward being heterosexual is pretty much central to the plot. It’s no minor detail. If she did intend for Edward to be gay then, yes, he would be a gay stereotype. But if you’re saying that someone can unwittingly write gay character despite clearly writing a straight character – that’s you.

How do you make a drawing look airbrushed?
Now it’s true – Edward is a stalker. And an abuser. And frankly, he fits a lot of the criteria for Antisocial Personality Disorder. And Meyer didn’t intend any of that, either. But those are real conditions with real documented symptoms, and you can make a diagnosis. Diagnosing homosexuality by using anything other than, um, homosexuality is endorsing homophobia in every way, shape, and form.

Part of the ‘pretty men are gay’ thing is a denial of female sexuality. If anyone thinks a guy is hot, it must be another man, because why would women think that? Part of it is projection – if you notice a guy is hot, well, are you gay? Better accuse him of being gay, just to be on the safe side.

Mainly, though, the Edward Cullen is Gay phenomenon is pure old-fashioned gender policing. It’s not coming up with a list of behaviors straight guys don’t do, but can’t do. Homosexuality is just a bogeyman synonym for ‘not manly,’ in a culture where men are taught to hold ‘masculinity’ as the ultimate ideal. Femininity is essentially a contaminant, and gay men have been so poisoned by it they have the same sexual preferences as women. Not too long ago, that was practically a mainstream belief in psychology.

Give me five reasons why that isn’t implying that women are inferior, and the first ten don’t count. Also give me ten reasons why this attitude is actually socially useful or non-injurious to the psyches of millions of men and women, and the first fifty don’t count.

Say it, brothers and sisters. Forever. 
When I was growing up, we had the Cult of Domesticity (i.e. True Womanhood). Here were the basic ideals:

1. Piety – Translation: That’s one hobby that won’t interfere with housework.
2. Purity – Translation: Sex is for men only, somehow, even when they do it with women.
3. Submissiveness – Translation: Get Out of Argument/Reciprocity Free Card for men.
4. Domesticity – Translation: Your home is your cage.

And of course, they were just as afraid that liberating women would somehow emasculate men. Back in my Suffragette days, I got to plow through loads of delightful comics like these:

Wait until she votes for a liberal.

I guess masculinity is a limited resource, and voting is manly because it’s manly. Also, men should not love or care for their own children.

Well, we’ve certainly made progress. But we still have gender boxes full of junk that people desperately want to be true for some horrible reason. It’s more than obvious that people already know what it’s in them, too.

Today, the misogynists who are trying to enforce it aren’t conservatives trying to keep things the same; they’re reactionaries trying to bring things back to the way they used to be. I was there. The least I can do is put up a road sign, or something.

Misogyny and misandry have always been natural allies. You put women in a box; men get a complementary box. If you think in terms of opposite genders, you can’t have it any other way than that: they all get put in boxes, little boxes. Well, brothers and sisters, I say burn the boxes like the artificial boundaries and good fuel sources they are. Be whoever you want to be, have whatever hobbies, clothes, and personal expressions you want, and let everyone else do the same goddamn thing without fear of your superlatively lame reprisal. Stop wondering whether the hell they’re masculine or feminine, and stop pretending those terms mean anything.

Sadly, this means you’ll also have to give up the bad jokes, like randomly accusing pretty Vampires of homosexuality or treating homosexuality as something random pretty Vampires ought to be ashamed of. I understand. I’m a comedy writer, and there’s nothing worse than laying down a joke and getting a room full of awkward, angry stares as your reward. But it’s not always everyone else’s fault. If society’s growing, comedy should grow with it. Or you’ll turn into Krusty the Clown telling TV dinner jokes while dressed like an Asian stereotype.

It wasn't funny the first time, Krusty. 

Image sources in order of appearance: