Most people in touch with popular culture I guess have heard about this Twilight phenomena – a series of 4 books by Stephenie Meyer ( a good Mormon, not that that’s either here nor there, right?)aimed at teen girls.
My daughter, like all her friends are obsessed with “Edward,” the main character who happens to be a 100+-year-old vampire in the guise of a 17-year-old hottie. For the first time in probably ever, I’ve watched my child sit for hours and read – foregoing msn, Facebook, TV, sleep and unfortunately even homework.
Of course I wanted to see what the hell was going on so I picked one up and tried to read it, but got fed up really quickly.
The writing is bad. Really bad.
So I went along to see the movie this weekend instead.
The story panders to what I think is the most vulnerable and frightening thing about being a teenage girl. Heterosexual girls that age yearn to be consumed by passion. Not a sexual passion, (because for most, that’s still a little scary) but a romantic passion. They want a “man” who will see them as the most special creature in the universe; who will vow undying love for them; who will sweep them off their feet and change their lives; who will want them with an intensity that goes beyond obsession, but who will restrain himself from consummating that desire because he loves them too much.
It’s sick and twisted, but there you go. This is where their fantasies lie. In reality the males they know are skinny, pimply-faced twits who’s main passion in life is trying to cop a feel.
Along comes fantasy fiction. Back in the day, we had Harlequin Romances. The Twilight series follows the same basic formula: Older, wiser, stronger, stunningly gorgeous, in control and controlling man and young, innocent, plain, clumsy girl. She’s smitten. He plays a lot of head games with her for a while – being kind one day and rude the next. She doesn’t know what’s going on until he finally breaks down and confesses that he loves her beyond reason and was only rude to her because he didn’t think he could control himself around her. (I don’t even want to get into that whole issue).
From then on she’s his heart and soul. She can’t live without him. He can’t live without her (or continue being dead forever without her in this case). She wants him and tries to seduce him, but he won’t allow anything to go on between them – it’s not right. She’s happy that he has the strength to know that when she doesn’t. (I told you it was twisted).
Her friends look foolish by comparison, so she doesn’t hang out with them anymore. She doesn’t need her family anymore because they’re only holding her back. Her man is ALWAYS there. Always. He keeps her out of trouble, rescues her constantly, glares angrily at anyone else who looks at her; guiding her into the beautiful, graceful adult she wants to be, but never thought she could be. (Or in Twilight, he’s grooming her to eventually become a vampire and live happily ever, ever, ever after with him)
Edward, the 100-year-old vampire even sneaks into her room at night and sits and watches her sleep (without her knowledge).
The whole thing is seriously creepy. At least we were still able to laugh at Harlequins. The girls on the weekend got really pissed when I laughed at Edward. I was almost lynched in the cinema.
“Would you really want a relationship like this?” I ask dumbfounded.
“YES!” they squeal emphatically.
I certainly did not raise my child like this. But then, I used to think no daughter of mine would be interested in Barbies. Wrong again.
After centuries of struggle out from under male domination am I to believe that females are innately drawn toward submission? Is that why the romance novel/bodice ripper continues to be so fabulously popular even among adult women? Or is this just a teenage thing – their way of coping with their burgeoning, yet frightening sexuality?
And, yes, XUP made it into the finals, so now I have to beg all over again for you to go vote. One last time. CLICK HERE. Cast your vote. I’d be ever so happy.