Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Why I'm wary of Twilight

More than a year ago, I subjected myself to Twilight and was left feeling a little empty inside. But there was one thought that kept surfacing, reiterated by other people and echoing in my own mind. How healthy is the relationship between Edward and Bella? A lot of people saw glimmers of what could be an abusive relationship. That, in and of itself, isn't necessarily bad. If the purpose is to shine a light on the abuse so young women will avoid similar situations, fantastic.

But that's not the point of the Twilight books. This relationship is "sooooo romantic." Edward is "soooooo dreamy." Rather than warn the readers, "There really are jerks who wish to destroy their partners," young women might be learning that destructive relationships are the pinnacle of romance.

Am I overreacting? Maybe. I haven't read any of the other books past Twilight and I haven't seen any of the movies, so it's hard to judge for myself.

But I'm not the only one concerned. Through a round-about clicking of links, I found this post that elucidates my concerns so much better, by someone who has seen the latest movie:

What Do You See In Him Again?

Just a warning: this rant has a few profanities in it, so be forewarned. But keep this number in mind: 15.

Why is this held up as so great a romance again?


CraftyReader said...

I don't think you're overreacting; I do think these books do establish a potentially abusive relationship. It disturbs me to know that my 13 year old cousin is reading these books and her parents don't care. But they won't let her 16 year old brother play video games because they're violent. So Emmy'll learn all about how to let boys dictate her decisions and Sam'll learn to resent his parents for not letting him have fun!

I know vampire mythology is all about sex/lust/animalistic desire/(in)ability to control ourselves and others. And there's some really well-written YA stuff that deals with this. Meyer tried to take that and not deal with the skeezy aspects of it. Instead she tried to create a teen romance. She ended up with Bella who's torn between 2 abusive men.

I read a lot of stuff when I was a kid that I shouldn't have--I read my mom's Pern books when I was 12 and the first sex scene in those books is dub-con at best and rape at worst. I thought it was romantic and cool. I read Flowers In the Attic when I was 10 and we all know what's messed up about that book. The Harlequin romances I read when I was a kid definitely had power struggle issues within them.

One of my biggest issues with the Twilight books is that teachers and parents don't see the problems in them. And neither do adults who read and love them--they should be old enough to see why Bella is being beat down and why Edward and Jacob aren't heroes.

There's so many other things wrong with the books too--race issues: of course Meyer had to make the Native American characters the truly animalistic ones and the vampires the pure and sparkly ones. Jacob can't control himself; Edward can. Everybody knows the savage native trope. And the creepy pregnancy thing/whole idea that Bella just can't control herself and just wants to sleep with Edward. Let's make the girl the slut!

Sorry; these books get on my nerves.

Nissa Annakindt said...

I read Twilight because I am a fan of vampire books such as the Sookie Stackhouse novels. I haven't read the other books but thought Twilight was good because of the lack of sex scenes....

I think there is an abuse theme creeping through a lot of vampire romance fiction (and romance in general--- too many romantic heroes are at least emotionally abusive.)

I heard that the author of Twilight is a Mormon. So perhaps she is at least trying to portray Christian/Mormon values? If so I do want to support the author and not be too harshly critical.

Your point is a valid one, though. (I'm working on my own vampire novel--- in which romance, thank goodness, cannot rear its ugly head as my vampires lack any sexual impulses.)