Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Your concern is appreciated

Can I start a backlash against a backlash?

I should probably begin with the disclaimer that I haven't read any of the Twilight books or seen any of the movies. My commentary doesn't have anything to do with the actual content of these books and movies, just the discussion about them.

An acquaintance of mine keeps posting stuff on his Facebook page about how Bella and Edward are in an abusive relationship, vampires are creepy and therefore not proper objects of lust, etc. This stuff may be completely true, but I can't help but wonder about a couple of things:
  • Since when did we look to literature for role models on how to conduct relationships? In fact, there was a point after my divorce where I distinctly remember thinking, "Wow, I'm glad I'm not a 19th-century literary heroine, because this is probably the point in the story where I'd kill myself." For the record, I had no desire to do that; I was simply remarking on the all-too-common fate of such women after failed romances.
  • The Twilight series is obviously the first time a bunch of teenagers have obsessed about something. Ever. We didn't see the same thing when Titanic came out or anything. Leif freakin' Garrett, for dog's sake.
So maybe Edward is mean and nasty to Bella, who still hangs on him like a lapdog. A big part of most people's teenage and young adult years is working out their unrealistic expectations of other people, romantically and otherwise. Hopefully these people have models of healthier relationships around them, but if not, I don't think that's Stephenie Meyer's fault. Give people some credit. I don't know anyone who reads, say, Harlequin romances who actually expects to be swept off their feet by some drop-dead gorgeous billionaire.

If the whole thing bothers you that much, save your concern for the fictional characters and redirect it toward actual people in your life. The flesh-and-blood humans might actually appreciate it.

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