Twilight

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Twilight; I'm sure you've heard of it, maybe read it once or twice. Even if you haven't, you probably saw the movie when it came out, with all of the hype about it. If not, then I applaud your ability to complete avoid the current trends in pop culture. The book (and the movie if you want to get technical) is about a girl named Bella. She's a human girl in high school, who happens to meet a vampire when she moves to the town of Forks, Washington to live with her father. Not only that, but she manages to fall in love with said vampire. Now most people tend to see past the flaws of the one they love, but with Edward Cullen and Bella Swan, that's not the case. Not because Bella obsesses over Edward's flaws or the other way around, but because Edward has no imperfections. Stephenie Meyer twists around the traditional idea of the vampire, making them into these unnaturally beautiful creatures that amaze and tempt humans to come closer even when they're sensing danger. Meyer is incredibly creative and deserves all the praise she gets for her imagination. As Bella gets to know Edward, though, things start to get unrealistic.

Edward is the ideal boyfriend. He's got movie star good looks that will last forever, a never-ending supply of money, and he's obsessed with his girlfriend. What more could a girl want? Twilight has made thousands, maybe millions, of girls yearn for their very own Edward Cullen. But the problem is he doesn't exist. Everyone who reads the book says they understand that he's a fictional character, but that doesn't mean that they aren't waiting around for a boy just like him to show up on their doorstep. Those kinds of guys don't exist, though. Edward Cullen is fictitious and so he's allowed to be flawless, but he's getting girls to believe that there is a guy like that out there for them, and that just isn't realistic. There are good guys out there, but Edward Cullen takes that further than is possible. Twilight defeats the purpose of trying to see others as complex beings and realizing that their struggles are just as meaningful as our own. Edward Cullen is causing girls to think about boys in a way that just isn't sensible.

Bella is not the best role model either. She is a great character, or at least she has all of the necessary traits to make her one. She's smart but also clumsy, making her easy to relate to. Her character, though, supports the idea that in our society a girl cannot be truly happy without a boyfriend, which is completely untrue. And yet, because of all that girls hear and read and are exposed to, they get this absurd idea in their heads. There is nothing wrong with wanting to get married, but Twilight takes it to the point where it is a little bit insane. Bella never feels like she is worth anything unless she is around Edward. When she isn't around him, she can't focus or get anything done. How is that a good example? Girls need to know how to be independent and still feel like they have value.

I'm not saying that you shouldn't read Twilight, or put down others who have read and enjoyed it. The plot is excellently thrilling and it's so compelling that you literally will not be able to put it down. I'm just urging you to think carefully about what you read and how you apply it to your own life. People don't realize how much things can affect them and their perspective on the world. Girls need to know that they can be single and be happy. And they also need to know that people are flawed and have differences that should be recognized. While Twilight is a thrilling read, it does not always send across the right message to young and impressionable readers.





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Gossamer said...
Apr. 2, 2009 at 8:44 pm
You're right, you know. Even I get a shred disappointed when I remind myself Edward doesn't exist. But he does have flaws - he's bossy and he wanted to kill Renesmee, remember?
As for Bella's self-esteem issues, she was never really very confident. In fact, Edward actually makes her feel worse by being so perfect. She is clingy, but not everyone in the book is like that. Look at Alice and Jasper, or Charlie, or Carlisle and Esme. They all have or had people they love or loved,... (more »)
 
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