Thursday, December 3, 2009

The Twilight Saga, part 3

While the Twilight love story no doubt raises a slew of "awwww"s from the majority of the audience, it raises a few very large, very red flags to me. For starters, despite knowing that Edward is a vampire early on ("Say it. Out loud!"), people seem to forget that by virtue of being a vampire, he is actually quite old. Like, over 100 when Twilight starts old. And Bella? 17. Taking that into consideration, Twilight is no longer the story of a teenage boy liking a teenage girl. Rather, it is the story of a 102-year-old man—who has not been with a woman in quite some time, as he makes clear—who breaks into a 17-year-old girl's bedroom to watch her sleep. And for some reason, not only is this not frowned on, the exact opposite happens—people think it is the cutest thing ever. Keep in mind, though: in any other context, this situation would involve people instantly crying "Foul!" and a visit from Chris Hansen.

Why don't you have a seat right there, Edward.
Another red flag is raised by how quickly Bella not only falls in like with Edward, but how quickly after he leaves she starts hanging out with Jacob, and then how much she jumps back into Edward's stone cold hands when he returns. Now, those who know me know that I have nothing against romance and falling for people—in fact, those who know me best could probably retell stories from my past where, romantically speaking, I was even more of a girl than Bella.

strictly romantically speaking
But the way that Bella pines and bounces over/between guys basically establishes her as a girl who not only wants a guy, but needs a guy to be complete. Where that gets scary is when the aforementioned hormonally-imbalanced teenagers read the books and start blurring the line between being able to be with someone and not being able to be without someone. And that is precisely the moment at which girls do utterly stupid things, thinking they will be able to be with their guy again. And that, my friends, is a perfectly normal and healthy mindset which always leads to good results.

Oh, wait...
Perhaps the largest and most crimson of flags (you know, the ones Max Hall hates) comes from Stephenie Meyer's strange double-standard of what it means to be an independent woman—or an independent woman part II, if you are of the Beyonce persuasion. Over the course of the books, Bella travels her obligatory (and textbook) character arc, with each plot point ending in her becoming stronger. Great, right? It would be, except for at the end of the saga, Bella is forced to sacrifice everything about her past, her life, and her beliefs and completely conform to Edward's lifestyle, his family, and his convictions in order to be with him. So in the end, we have a story that supports being an independent girl, as long as you do everything your guy says—including joining the ranks of the undead.

strictly, strictly romantically speaking
Coming up next... the Twilight culture. Or, as I like to refer to it, the Cult of the Virgin (Until Book 4, When They're Married And It's OK).

12th-century history jokes, anyone?


Becca said...

Ah, good ol' To Catch a Predator. Priceless.