Last week I attended a social justice event hosted by Leslie Grinner. She is the creator of the SCWAMP theory. To refresh ya’ll memory, SCWAMP means Straight, Christian, White, Able-bodied, Male and Property Holding. She defines this as an outline to view the ideas that is presented through the media. For example, the hit saga “Twilight”, Grinner notices S.C.W.A.M.P.
Straightness: Heterosexuality is a norm in this film just like other films
Christianity: Edward best embodies the Christian ethos. Ironically, vampires are soulless and damned creature.
Whiteness: Whiteness is valued and standard superiority. Bella is the whitest person in this film and desired by boys of every racial group. The Volturi family are the most powerful vampires in the world, resides in Italy, all white and they don’t even look Italian.
Able-bodiedness: Creatures with superpower means physical abilities is valued. It is all about saving Bella. Jacob’s father, Billy, is the only physically disabled person in the film.
Maleness: They story is two guys fighting for one girl. Bella basically gives up everything to have a relationship. Edward is able to remain in his nuclear family unit and does not require sacrificing anything as Bella must do to be with him.
Property Holding: Twilight is heavily inscribed with class. Bella family is a working class and Bella chose Edward whom is high class.
In relation to the social event, in Johnson’s article, “Privilege, Power, and Difference”, she believes that privilege, power, and difference need to be talked about. That was what Grinner did in her presentation. Grinner notes that Edward is seen as a privilege white individual who comes from a wealthy family. His family is made up of vampires. I think Grinner said all of the vampires are wealthy. The Volturi family in Italy is another example of wealth. In the other hand, you have Jacob whom is a Native American who is less privileged. You then notice that Bella is attracted to the privileged person.
Another article that relates is McIntosh’s “White Privilege Knapsack”. McIntosh believes that whiteness overpowers all the other races. In Twilight, whiteness hold all the power. Edward’s family and the Volturi family are prime examples of white privileged. Even Grinner notes that Bella, the pale awkward, anemic white girl, walks into the Forks school as the most popular girl. Everybody wants to get to know her. Grinner notices that colored people in the film are portrayed very stereotypically. The Asian male taking photographs was an example Grinner gave. I do not think an Asian with a camera is stereotypical.
Lastly, another article that relates is Christensen’s “Unlearning the Myths That Bind Us”. Christensen believes that there is a secret education. (This is my sister’s opinion and not Grinner’s). With the success of Twilight, media gives off a feeling that Stephanie Meyers is brainwashing little girls in America. It teaches our girls that the only safe sex is sex within marriage and that all other sex is potentially deadly. Bella must wait until she is married and have become a vampire in order to have. Of course, Bella wants to have sex before she marries Edward, but sex with Edward will kill her since he is not human and she is just a weak human being. She becomes pregnant and it almost kills her. (Do not ask me how I know this…my sister told me!) It’s a hidden message but I think Meyers didn’t mean to put it in. In addition, I remember that Grinner said that the book give off a feeling that domestic violence is okay. She said that the Native American girl, Emily received a hideous scar from her lover yet she still love him.
This social justice event made me think of how SCWAMP plays a part of media represents itself. Everything you see in the media has a hidden message.