Thursday, May 7, 2009

Reflecting on Twilight

The amount of attention that the twilight books and movie have received finally convinced me to watch the movie (I have not read the books). So the wife and I rented it and sat down to watch and I must confess that as a man nearing thirty I did not find the movie very appealing.

So after the movie I asked my wife why this movie/book has such a hold and power with her gender and especially the teenage variety. You see I found the obsessive nature of Bella and Edwards relationship to be, well, creepy. Edward is basically a stalker, sneaking into her bedroom to watch her sleep. Following her to neighboring towns. This is scary behavior. And Bella shows a complete recklessness in her love for Edward. He admits that he is really desirous of her blood and she doesn’t care because she trusts him. But how can she trust him she barely knows him and what she knows should terrify her. I found these things disturbing yet my wife said that there are the central appeal of the books. Women (young women especially) hunger for this kind of all consuming relationship. That 17 year old girls dream about this. (By the way I was a 17 year old boy once, Edward Cullen’s don’t exist)

So my greatest concern is that these books/movies provide a powerful reinforcement of an already unhealthy element of our culture. Many are tempted to turn their relationships into their idol. They see their romantic partner as the thing that gives their life meaning, Bella shows this in her reckless disregard for her own safety, the concerns and wishes of her father, etc. How many people cry out that without this person I can’t go on. When we come to this place in our lives we have an idol and I think that for young people (I’m told that some teenage boys read the books secretly) who are in their first flush of romantic notions this danger is especially potent. And this movie/book is powerful in its reinforcement and development of this idol.

As a father of two young girls I was very concerned about this movie/book so I went through the mental motions of having a talk with them about this book and I found that I simply could not encourage them to read it. It has no redeeming qualities that outweigh the negatives. So I do not recommend the reading of this book or the watching of this movie.

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