So I’ve stayed silent on the whole Twilight thing so far because quite honestly I couldn’t really give a crap. The initial issue that many people had with it was the whole abstinence thing and well, I stay away from that as much as possible. The debate, that is, not the act. haha. (just kidding mom)
But seriously, the latest feminist critique had me curious and so I decided to start reading them just because I am after all a sucker for pop culture. And now I get it. I get exactly what is so screwed up about the entire thing and why young impressionable girls everywhere need to get the hell away from that book!!!! Parents, are you listening????
Look, I get vampires. they’re cool in that really messed up blood sucking way. But we think their extra-human strength and their dark brooding is hot for some reason (I wont go into this right now, but it’s worth a mental walk some time.) What I do think goes wrong in this particular case is how clearly it is destroying this girl’s self image, her ability to make rational decisions, heck, her ability to live. It boils down to two words: abusive relationship. Three cheers for abusive relationships! Huzzah!
Now seriously, you have to ask yourself what exactly is sooooo romantic about some dude who could easily kill you so much as kiss you or leaves you bleeding and bruised after “making love”? That’s hot right? (Parents are you listening?) What disturbs me most about the whole character arch is that, well, there isn’t one. It’s like an allegory for domestic abuse that you use to teach kids what’s wrong with domestic abuse. Except that, wait, it isn’t so bad. She loooooves him.
Now I know proponents of the series feel that people like me are taking it way too seriously. Hey, it’s just a story right. It’s just fantasy/sci-fi (or syfy as the cable channel would like us to write it) and any greater (ie lesser) message we derive from it is just taking it too far.
Well, look, call me crazy, but I do actually read for meaning and what the overall message is and some of my favoritest books ever are pretty screwed up in fairly monumental ways, but the point is always something i totally jive with and has made me a better person in some ways. So when a story is so popular and creates the kind of buzz this thing does, I take notice and I start to think about what exactly appeals to people. And this time I have got to put my foot down because it happens to be a hot button for me.
I’m gonna say it like this – no self respecting, mentally healthy woman would EVER appreciate this book. So why are we letting young impressionable girls fill their minds with such weak willed crap without so much as a question mark? You have to ask yourselves, and/or your daughters, why you like this story? What is it that turns you on? Are these characters noble , why or why not? What have you learned from this story? Why does this story excite you and why do you think so many people enjoy it so much? Sounds like a book report, but hey, you should do this for everything you read and see. It will tell you a lot about your personal tastes and what you spend (ie waste) your life on… 🙂
Maybe this is why I appreciate an author like Neil Gaiman so much. Here’s a guy who consistently brings up strong well adjusted characters with distinct traits of valor and courage. his women are usually quite strong and independent, with his men often being the “damsel in distress” – which may well mean he has some gender issues of his own, but at least it’s refreshing to read from a man. There is also this beautiful story in the Sandman series of a kind of abusive relationship btwn the main character Morpheus/Sandman and a nymph. He leaves her in despair and utter ruin and eventually that choice comes back to destroy him and he feels he has to redeem himself for the rest of his “life” – I’m curious if Mr Twilight will ever feel as much.
Now I do think I have to insert a big disclaimer, because I will fully admit I have not finished the books, seen the movies, or read anything more than the wikipedia entries. (Which by the way are pretty detailed and if you look up anything on there be aware of mad spoilage. I learned that the hard way with the book The Reader.) So there could be a major plot development that changes everything and then I will publicly recant above post and eat some humble pie. But someone will need to send me the recipe cuz I lost mine…