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Not a Twi-Mom

One mom's objections to the Twilight saga.

I have a 14 year old daughter, so I am sadly all to aware of such things as the current status of Bieber's paternity suit, the latest antics of the Kardashians and worst of all, Twilight.  What I find most disturbing about the whole Twilight phenomena are the MOMS going nutso for this PG-13 vampire/werewolf/dull as dishrags human love triangle.

I read the books a couple of years ago and saw the first movie, mostly to keep an eye on what it is that my daughter was so fascinated with.  I am glad I did, because those books frankly scare the living daylights out of me.

SPOLIER ALERT (though, frankly they are so formulaic that if you don't see the endings coming, I am a little concerned about you)

The entire book series shows our heroine, Bella, as a constant damsal in distress.  She finds herself unusually attracted to a wise but oddly pale boy who throughout the book saves her from numerous scrapes, all resulting from her clumsiness or bad choices.  Surpise!  This pale boy is a vampire from the turn of the century who loves her so much that he sneaks into her bedroom to watch her sleep at night.  Oh, and can't read her mind like he can most humans, so to also listen to her talk in her sleep.  This is presented to tween girls as a perfect high school relationship.  And we are supposed to think this is OK, because the book tells us that Bella (that naughty human) wants to sleep with Edward, but becuase he is so old fashioned, refuses sex until they are married.  Oh and that apparently pre-marital (vampire) sex will kill Bella. 

Along they way, Bella makes friends with the vampires mortal enemies, the werewolves and a love triangle ensues.  Despite knowing that the wolf isn't going to win, I still rooted for him as it was the closest to a healthy relationship I could see in that book.  Apparently, boys who allow you independence, admire your intelligence and respect your personal thoughts and space are dogs.  Go figure.

The books and movies go on, including an entire 400 page novel of a 17 year old girl essentially sulking over a fight with her boyfriend with the continued theme that girls need to be saved, sex is bad and vampires are sparkly.  I'm not saying there isn't a certain level of entertainment here, but this is certainly not the lesson I want Abby to take away from any book or movie.

This is why I am so shocked at the number of moms going nuts over this franchise.  If any of our daughters had a boyfriend like Edward, we would obtain restraining orders against them.  We scream and yell at the over sexualization of Miley Cyrus, but these adult women are throwing their undies at Taylor Lautner (the werewolf boy for those out of the Twi-loop) who is younger than Miley.

I'm not saying the Twilight franchise isn't fun or entertaining.  It just concerns me that this love story that is being sold to my daughter is what I would consider borderline abusive, and I think that is irresponsible of the author.  Her main female character doesn't save herself until the very end of the series.  Too little, too late.  I let my daughter read the books and see the movies only after I read them myself and could talk to her about all the things I object to in the story.

Fortunately, Abby has moved onto the Hunger Games trilogy.  No discussions needed about the role of smart, strong women there!

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Christine Wolf November 28, 2011 at 12:43 AM
Jennifer, I mistook your "Not A TWI Mom" headline as a reference to Evanston's Two-Way-Immersion (TWI, pronounced twee) program. My three children have been part of the TWI program, and it's filled with plenty of ups and downs. I'm a District 65 TWI mom, but I frequently wonder why. I'm curious if any other readers feel the same as me. As for your TWI reference, I've let my middle-school daughter attend the movie (she's read the series) and we've talked extensively about the plot points. Yes, I think Bella's written as a horribly weak character, but I think there's a lot for astute readers/viewers to gain by her behavior, most importantly 1) how not to act and 2) how not to let others treat you.
Robert K. Elder November 28, 2011 at 01:43 PM
Is anyone else disturbed by her lack of ambition? She doesn't want college, a career, anything to better herself--she just wants Edward. Imagine your high school crush lasting for an eternity. How did yours work out--even two years after high school?
Leslie November 29, 2011 at 06:40 PM
I completely agree with you Jennifer! I thought I was the only person so concerned about this series. I have a 15 yo and if a boy were sneaking into her bedroom I’d call the cops, not what I want my kids watching at all. I’d rather have her thinking about college and a career than a sparkly vampire.
Jennifer Wilson December 04, 2011 at 02:11 PM
Sorry for the confusion-- We had to choose between TWI and a permissive transfer for our kindergartner this year. We took the transfer (4 kids in 4 schools was NOT going to happen!) but I think there are tons of benefits to the program. As far as Bella being an example of what NOT to do, sure, an astute reader can pick that up, but my experience with 14 year old girls (which comprises of both having been one and having one currently) is that they just get so wrapped up in the "romance" of these books, they really don't see the problems. Also, most of these girls haven't had a real boyfriend yet, so they just don't have the experience to compare it to. Thanks so much for your comment!
Jennifer Wilson December 04, 2011 at 02:14 PM
While I agree with you, I should disclose that I've been married to my high school boyfriend for 15 years, so probably not the best angle for my kids! Thanks so much for your comment!
Jennifer Wilson December 04, 2011 at 02:16 PM
I think what really upset me about the whole sneaking in the bedroom was that the character was doing it because he couldn't read her mind and couldn't stand her having private thoughts that he couldn't read. If my husband could hear what I am thinking, there are times that he probably should call the authorities! Thanks so much for your comment!

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