Column: 'Twilight' delivers a bad message to women
Nov. 03, 2009
The opinions expressed by The Maneater columnists do not represent the opinions of The Maneater editorial board.
Even if you don't keep up with popular culture, it is impossible to escape the phenomenon of the last couple years that has been the "Twilight" book saga and now movie series.
Usually, I would shrug off this franchise as another Disney-esque cash cow, designed to tug at the desires of the pre-teen to teen demographic and subsequently their parents' checkbooks. But the series has infiltrated older generations, causing college-aged girls to obsess over the fictional Edward Cullen and 30-somethings to tote around the teen-vampire novels as if they were on Oprah's Book Club list.
Not wanting to be behind the curve, I began reading "Twilight" last year before the release of the movie and it was OK. I took it with the proverbial grain of salt, but even so, I couldn't figure out why the novel bothered me so much. Sure, Stephenie Meyer has the writing style of an eighth grader entering a Young Authors competition and I don't think it's fair to excuse her poor writing as a means to relate to a younger audience.
Aside from the melodramatic first person narrative and love interest with no personality, I still couldn't put my finger on why exactly "Twilight" was so overrated until I began reading "New Moon," the series' second installment: Bella, the main character, is a pathetic role model for adolescent girls.
Basically, the series revolves around a 17-year-old girl who falls in love with a boy in her school, only to find out he is an immortal vampire. Fine, even the most cynical of us can appreciate a good love story sometimes.
But the protagonist and her boyfriend, Edward Cullen, are so in love after only weeks of knowing each other, they can't spend more than hours apart. Edward uses sappy lines like "You're my life now," and then sneaks up to her room most nights to sleep over.
As if the first novel isn't enough of an advertisement for teen co-dependency, "New Moon" chronicles Bella's depression when Edward decides to abandon her for the better part of the novel. Hint: When your vampire boyfriend leaves you alone in the woods, he's just not that into you.
Moral of the story? Your teen boyfriend truly means it when he declares his love for you after a few days. And though the young couple doesn't technically have sex until they get married (at age 19, mind you), teen girls might be more naïve in falling for the sappy lines and horny antics of adolescent boys in pursuit of their own Edward.
Or like in "New Moon," if someone breaks up with you, it's perfectly acceptable to pass out in a deserted forest for days because really, life isn't worth living anymore. Although I couldn't force myself to read past chapter eight in the second novel, I hear the rest of the series continues in much of the same, needy manner.
I can understand why many optimistic teen girls are infatuated with the series, but as older and hopefully more mature young women, we should know better. Besides, don't teen girls deserve a role model who can maintain her independence in the face of not only supernatural creatures, but also heartbreak?