From Bloodlust to Drug Bust
By The Betch on December 12, 2012
This week we will be discussing something that I and the rest of the YA lit world like to call insta-love. What do you ask is insta-love? It’s when a betch sees a hot guy giving her a smoldering look of passion and it’s all like love at first sight. One could compare this to instant coffee: you skip a couple of steps and get the same results. It’s nothing new that insta-love is a predominant trope found in YA lit. But what drives these characters to run into the arms of their lovers? Can we really label this as “love”? Do authors set their readers up for failure?
Unless you have been living under a proverbial rock or go to Berkeley and live under a literal rock, you know that every betch wants to marry #57Prince Charming. Insta-love sets its readers up for failure because it instills false hope in something that does not exist. Teens are led to believe time and time again that Charming will approach you and instantaneously fall in love with your awkward self. Reality check – this is not the case. Guys do not notice the clumsy, plain girl in the corner and rarely do they ever admit their burning love for you. I’m not saying that there aren’t exceptions to the rule, but YA lit is contributing to years of self-loathing in its young female audience.
Yes, to some extent YA lit is wish fulfillment. But if there is not enough reality injected into these stories, its readers will go cray cray. Girls become so obsessed with this unattainable wish fulfillment that they cling to these fictional characters for dear fucking life because let’s be real, insta-love is never going to happen in actuality. Betches have to fill the deficiency in their loveless lives and the only way to do so is through fandom…and maybe eating. Fandom is when readers take an obsession to a scary level of fixation (i.e. Twi-hards who permanently tattoo their bodies with weird shit like apples). The fictional realm enters reality, and when the fictional takes precedent over your real life, we have a problem. If the aforementioned examples fail to prove the damaging effects of insta-love on the female psyche, don’t fret because authors infuse other complications into these insta-relationships.
The insta-love we find in YA lit is nothing more than a product of desire or an addiction to consumption. In Stephanie Meyer’s Twilight, Bella first encounters Edward in the iconic cafeteria scene and his “dark eyes flickered” at hers (19). This gaze is the foundation of their “insta-love” and this is what the reader is supposed to acknowledge as the moment of connection between the two. Edward’s initial reactions to Bella are carnal, primal, and instinctual – he wants to eat her, not love her. Edward displays signs of an addict and tells Bella that she is “exactly my brand of heroin” (268). Now I know what you are thinking and no this is not a case of Ke$ha’s “Your Love Is My Drug”; thisliterally is a case of my blood is your drug. Edward constantly restrains himself from feeding on and killing Bella during all hours of the day. His attraction to Bella is purely based on bloodlust, so why does society not view this as a horror story instead of a romance?
As literary theorist James H. Kavanagh states in “Ideology,” we betches are programmed to believe that any attention from guys is good attention. The little boy hits you on the playground, and we are told that he must like us. Edward wants to eat Bella and her response is “I couldn’t make myself be afraid. I couldn’t think of anything except that he was touching me” (276). Where do we come up with this crap? Kavanagh breaks it down for us and explains that we are all social subjects trapped in a social process called ideology. Ideology “has the function of producing an obvious ‘reality’ that social subjects can assume and accept, precisely as if it had not been socially produced and did not need to be ‘known’ at all” (311). The reason we act the way we do is because we have been unknowingly conditioned to believe in these social norms through media, society, family, Hollywood, etc. without being explicitly taught about it. It’s a complex world we live in: like do I really want this skinny vanilla soy latte, or has society put this idea in my mind?? #147Inception.
Without Edward’s appetite to consume Bella, there is no connection between these characters. Edward’s grotesque desire masks the fact that there is no love in this novel – insta-love is an insta-sham. Authors use substitutes to fill the void of love and these desires include bloodlust, alcohol, drugs, sex, etc. In Brooklyn, Burning, Steve Brezenoff uses music, drugs, and a communal consumption of Coke as a substitute for love. Kid instantaneously “falls” for Felix and Scout because Kid hears them playing music. The electrifying qualities of Felix and Scout’s music lures Kid into an insta-relationship or insta-love.
Insta-love is a made-up construction devised to escape normalcy and without it, there would be no story to tell. YA authors fixate on consumption and desire to substitute for the absence of love in these novels. To make matters worse, writers fail to establish their characters enough before pairing them off in insta-relationships. Thus, betches cannot understand the lovers’ attraction, which in turn alienates the reader and causes obsession (refer back to fandom) because of the unattainable wish fulfillment. Insta-love demonstrates that a relationship of dramatic proportions is necessary, volatile relationships are exciting, abuse is normal, and lack of communication is acceptable. YA authors put the title of insta-love on these relationships to commercialize them and make them consumable for the reader. Just like the characters in the novel, we too are filled with a desire to consume this novel. The fiction pervades our normal lives; betches are consumed, and thus cannot find love for ourselves. Therefore authors set us up for failure.
Think about that. Namaste betches.
#57 Prince Charming aka guy who graduated from Harvard or Princeton undergrad and now attends a prestigious graduate school. (+1 for coming from an affluent family; +2 for descending from a royal lineage)
#147 Inception aka a movie that features the studly Leonardo DiCaprio. Dicaprio can plant ideas into a person’s subconscious and alter the course of his or her life.