So, Twilight, man. What’s up with that? Here comes the most embarrassing confession I will ever make in this column: I went to see New Moon this weekend. Yes, opening weekend.
It’s not (quite) as bad as it sounds. It was a sociological experiment, of sorts. I went to observe me some tweens, and to see what this sexy glittering vampire business was all about. Also, for the lulz.
Only here’s the thing. The audience? It wasn’t all tweens. There were some grown ass people there, unabashedly wearing “Team Edward” shirts and shushing gigglers (me) like it was their job.
So that was pretty disturbing. But even more disturbing than the old ladies (and the horrible dialogue and the world’s slowest pacing) was the plot up in this piece. I’m sure this has already been written about extensively, but I have thus far steered pretty clear of the Twilight oeuvre, so it’s all used car new to me.
I knew that Stephanie Meyers was a repressed Mormon housewife going into this, and the “vampire biting you = sex” trope is as old as, well, Anne Rice, anyway, but oh my god. Edward, the vampire lover man, won’t “change” Bella, the shy, quiet human girl, until they’re married. And he won’t touch her at all, for fear he’ll lose control. Love me some weird Christian propaganda in my monster movies. [Insert your own zombie Jesus joke here.] (Wow, I can’t believe you just said that. Bad form, my friend.)
The most disturbing part of this whole movie, though, was realizing that bajillions of little girls idolize this Bella girl and want an Edward of their very own. I will admit to harboring some pathetic juvenile crushes in my day, but Edward is not a good guy. He is controlling and scary. Real life Edward would get slapped with a restraining order. Seriously, this relationship is more textbook abusive than any warning scenario you ever read about in health class. Also, man is 109 years old to Bella’s 18 or whatever. Just putting that out there.
At the beginning of the movie, Edward’s brother tries to eat Bella, so Edward leaves Bella “for her own sake,” of course, and she is, like, super depressed for awhile (a long, long while. Did I mention how slow this movie was? Damn). Then she starts hanging out with Jacob, who, coincidentally, turns out to be a werewolf. Putting aside the fact that they made that poor 17 year old actor pack on, like, 30 pounds of muscle, this seems like a better match for her. They’re actually friends, it seems like, instead of “deeply in love” a k a “he tells me where to go and what to wear and who to see.” Even this boy dads her a little bit, but that’s more because girl is dumb as fuck. She goes on this adrenaline junkie kick, because Edward made her promise to “keep safe” or something, so she sees him in her head when she disobeys. Ridiculous. So Jacob seems like the better guy until the movie gives us this little gem.
Jacob is a member of a werewolf pack, of course. And they all congregate at Sam’s girlfriend’s house. What’s this? She has a giant scar on half her face? Oh, it’s because he got mad and morphed too close to her? But it’s OK, because she forgave him, and they lived happily ever after, right? Oh, spousal abuse, ain’t no thang. Battered women should just forgive and forget. I am, of course, being sarcastic/please don’t kill me, Women’s Resource Center.
I just want to shake this Bella girl. Get her some therapy. And I want to shake the entire Twilight fan base. I get it, man. Bella’s all shy and quiet and she likes to read, and you totally identify with her, but c’mon. Maybe we read, I dunno, Jane Eyre? I mean, Mr. Rochester is also problematic, but at least that shit is well written.
Seriously, though. It frightens me that little girls are idealizing this kind of relationship. My little brother is 14 and got dragged to this movie by his “NOT my girlfriend.” Apparently, she’s like super into it. And while I’m always happy that the kids are reading or whatever, this just seems like an alarming trend. Our generation’s badly written fantasy series was empowering, at least. And Hermione was the smartest one!
The state of the yout (no h on purpose) today, man. Oy, I am so old.
Elana Dahlager is a junior in the College of Arts and Sciences. She may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Nutshell Library appears alternate Tuesdays this semester.