What’s Your Problem, Twilight Series?

Editor:  One of the best things about Jefferson Middle School is that it’s more than simply a place people escape from.  And how many middle schools can one say that about?  Exactly.  Here’s a piece/rant from an ex-JMSer currently at AHS.  

By Emily H.:

Ever since Twilight became popular, there have always been those who dislike it.  In this way, it is like every other thing that becomes popular, some people choose to dislike it and they decide to voice their opinion, some subtly, others not so quietly.

And some of the resultant rants do bring up good points about Twilight not being appropriate for the young, 6th grade girls who make up a huge portion of those reading it.  But people, I read this book in 5th grade.  I was ten when I read about the romantic encounters of Bella, Jacob, and Edward.  And I may be a tiny bit weird at times, but I think I’m doing okay.  There are people who bring up good points why younger girls shouldn’t read these books, that the series is just a huge metaphor for pre-marital sex, and that young girls really do not, fortunately, understand half the stuff in this book.

The author, Stephenie Meyer, has publicly said that these books are all about how when you really love someone, you shouldn’t have sex with them, you should marry them.  I am not against these beliefs, but Bella gets married when she is 18.  She also has a child and turns into a vampire, but that is beside the point.  In the end of Breaking Dawn Meyer has Bella and Edward and their daughter, who ages at an abnormally fast rate, happy and living together as a family.  But what about Bella’s future?  I know is a fantasy book, but there should be some realism to it.  How are Edward and Bella going to make money?  Are they going to live off their vampirish good looks and charm? Because in the real world that wouldn’t work AT ALL.

I am also left wondering:  will Bella go to college and try to further her education?  Because in the last Twilight book Breaking Dawn while all of Bella’s friends are graduating and getting excited to go off to the school of their choice the next fall, Bella is getting fitted for her wedding dress.  And maybe after Bella fights in an epic battle against a secret vampire mafia that wants to kill Bella’s freak child she will go to the University of Washington, but really?  Does anyone really expect Bella to try to further her education, when instead she can go suck blood from a poor, helpless deer?  But one would think she would because she is IMMORTAL for crying out loud!  She is going to have to live for the rest of humanity’s existence and she doesn’t think going to college for four years will help?  Does this send a message to girls everywhere, “You don’t need a good education, you just need a husband and a child, oh and also to be a vampire!”  Because if this is the message girls are getting from it, I am really quite afraid of the society we live in.

Another issue with Twilight is that it is very sexist.  I used to be a die-hard Twilight fan. I even had a Twilight lunch box, but when I look back at what I was reading 4 years ago I am appalled.  Instead of having Bella be a strong female role model, Meyer makes Bella out to be this clumsy, weak, and pathetic girl.  She cannot take care of herself at all.  When Edward comes along and saves her life for the first time she is instantly in love with him.  And when he saves her life countless times throughout the next 3 books, Bella is always left there helpless.  Meyer portrays Edward as a god, and I understand that he is a vampire who can run as fast as a speeding car and can lift 5 times his weight, but can’t Bella at least save herself for once?  It doesn’t even have to be a serious life or death situation, she can just jump out of the way of a speeding car or catch herself before she trips.  This book just reverts back to the views of people 100 years ago, where the man is the head of the household, and all the women does is cook and clean.

In conclusion, I really am not a “Pro Twilight” type of person, but I do feel Meyer gets one thing very right.  Even with all of the sexism, old-timey views, and weird vampire mafia, there is still one thing that rings true throughout the whole series: true love.  I will not get sappy on you, dear reader, and talk about how there is a fish in the sea for everyone, because I do not believe that everyone will find love in their lifetime, and that some people are more than okay with that.  But, if nothing else, Twilight argues that true love will triumph in the end, which may or may not be true, but, if its a lie, it’s the most beautiful lie there is.

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2 thoughts on “What’s Your Problem, Twilight Series?

  1. I would propose that Twilight is offensive in the manner that you describe only when it’s interpreted as some sort of warped treatise on the normative ethics of drinking blood. Personally, I do not believe that that’s the ideal way to interpret the novel series. As much as I detest Meyer’s writing, the books do excel in their intended function, which is (I presume) to provide a pleasant distraction from the woes of life in a middle class suburban household. The Oatmeal sums it up well, as usual. http://theoatmeal.com/story/twilight

    Essentially, I believe that Twilight isn’t meant to inform reality, it’s meant to temporarily divorce the reader from reality. Just as it’s ludicrous to propose that The Hobbit is a terrible novel because dragon slaying isn’t a viable career choice, to criticize Twilight on the basis that it does not depict a realistic post-high school life plan is to miss the point. Twilight’s sole appeal lies in the utter implausibility of what it depicts.

    Criticizing it on the basis of shallow characters and terrible writing, on the other hand, is fair game.

    • Ben: Thank you for your insights…it’s been a while. By the way, if there’s anything you’d like to submit to us over here at the Jeffersonian, we’d love to publish it. I think you know our email address. Happy 2013 and all that….

      –Co-Sponsor Editing Personage

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