December 5, 2012

As college debt continues to explode, as unemployment amongst youngs continues to rise, as unpaid magazine interns wither away on the mean streets of Midtown, we’re going to hopefully see an increasingly nuanced debate about the purpose of higher education in society, and whether or not it should continue to be seen as mandatory for all aspiring citizens. (Short answer: Nope.) Reports like this one certainly won’t help the pro-college side. For her thesis project, Lauren Adkins, a graduate student at UNLV, is planning to marry a cardboard cutout of Robert Pattinson as Twlight‘s Edward Cullen to suggest… something about fandom and sexuality and obsession and gender roles. As she told the Las Vegas Review-Journal, “The fantasy behind it can never be achieved. It’s the ultimate facade.” Later: “I’ve just been trying to figure out the psyche behind it.” Noted and noted. From her website:

This work focuses on the female escapist fantasy in its most popular forms—primarily finding “true love”—and the extent to which it seeps into our real lives. I’ve looked at this fantasy primarily through a pop cultural lens; that is I’ve used film & television’s representations of the love story and female characters in general in an attempt to understand my own expectations of romantic love. Because of personal attachment to and experience with this fantasy or quest, which took a particularly strong hold of me when I discovered the intensely popular Twilight Saga, my thesis exhibition will touch on romantic expectation primarily through the main love interest, Edward Cullen.

The work is also an exploration of the dismissive, vitriolic, and at times violent attitude of the media and and the public at large toward female fandom. Keywords: obsessive, crazy, insane,psychotic, etc.The press coverage I have received following the release of a British tabloid article (Love It!, UK) and online communication in the form of tweets, Facebook comments, and comments on the respective articles’ websites will be included in this analysis.

The bright side, so to speak, is that Adkins isn’t doing it because she’s unconsciously vying to earn herself a spot on True Life: I’m Fucking Craaaaaaaaaaaaazy, Goddamn!. I’m torn between whether it’s counter-productive to tie the motive of one’s work to the negative attention it’s obviously set to receive, because it seems a little predictable and easy to conclude; like, obviously you’re going to gin up some trollish buzz by publicly proclaiming your intent to do something easily mockable were it coming from someone 100% serious. That said, I can’t see a downside to attend a staged wedding between a woman and a cardboard cutout. It’s for art! And entertainment! Best of luck to the happy couple.

Follow Jeremy Gordon on Twitter

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