Thursday, December 11, 2008

Obsessed and Addicted

When I first heard of the Twilight series, I balked at it. I laughed at the movie trailers and anyone silly enough to go and see it.

Women I respected began to read these books, and I must have slightly let my guard down.
Then, two of my best friends willingly went to check out the movie. And loved it, not to mention the main vampire character: Edward Cullen. 

My wariness dropped even more. These were smart women, so I knew it couldn't be that bad (even though we definitely don't have the same disdain for chick flicks.) I agreed to see the movie based on the fact that they gave me a free ticket to do so. It was the only way I could be convinced to do it. And I did it.

And thus began the inevitable sucking into the Twilight Zone.

We watched the movie Friday night. I read the first of the four 500+ books in 5 hours Saturday. Sunday brought book 2, plus a second showing of the movie. Monday, feeling less than eager to work, I did the urgent work and saved the rest for later, reading the 3rd book instead. And finally, the 4th book was finished on Tuesday.

I woke up Wednesday morning, in a very blue mood. To say I had an obsession, an addiction, seemed like an understatement. The world seemed a little less colorful that day. I had been pulled into this fantasy world of vampires, werewolves, and perfect love. We had planned to go see the movie a 3rd time Wednesday night (who can resist Rob Pattinson's dreamy pale face?) but about halfway through the day, I hit the brick wall of reality.

Every girl I've known to read this series has become completely involved in these books (read: they have become her life for as long as it's taken to get through them.) While some may be able to obtain a safer distance than others (specifically, me), almost all of us read roughly 2200 - 2400 pages in a mere 4-7 days. Work, laundry, friends, God - all went forgotten. The only important thing was Edward (or Jacob for some). We became ensnared by this fantasy world. We were told lies and believed them. (SMART WOMEN!)

It's not just that Edward taps into the longing desire for perfect love that can only be filled by God - it's also that even this relationship with this Edward that seems so... perfect... is incredibly unhealthy. Jealousy, sneaking around, spending all their time together, forced sexuality (Jake, not Ed), etc is being pushed onto women. girls.

It really IS porn for women. It sells the lie that this is what love really is, when it's in no way representative of LOVE. The gaudy replica of the truth. It always sells SO well, and we never figure out why.

All of the people I know who are reading it are over 20 (adults) and its taken us a while to even realize how crazy we've become. But what does this say to the 12-17 year old girls, at which the book is specifically aimed? How can they be taught the reality of the world + healthy relationships by these books? Impossible. It's blinding.

Melissa also made an interesting point about the setting: the fact that we are asked to suspend our beliefs about reality in regard to the vampires and werewolves also makes it much easier to suspend our disbelief in the relationships as well. "It's okay that Edward is extremely drawn to Bella's blood and wants to kill her: how romantic!" Just insane. You are asked to believe that Edward's main draw to Bella is based on just a few things: her blood (#1), the fact that her mind is blocked to him (curiosity doesn't keep a relationship rolling very long), her klutziness, and her beauty.

For a 110+ year old vampire, I'd expect a bit higher standard. 

I realize that I might sound overboard or crazy. Maybe this series of books plays into my insecurities more than others. Maybe others can maintain their distance. But even so, there is something very distressing about the obsession with this series.

About Me

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I live amongst the dragons and the warriors of the 21st century. I surround myself with both the peasants, the aristocrats; the knights and the maidens. For a long time (now quite in the past), I wove the structure of my life around the mold others saw for me. I've since learned to live for God and myself. Freedom comes and goes as I remember this lesson of mine. But my life is MY life: a series of events and remembering such. And this, this beautiful montage, is why I wake up every morning. God willing.