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Twilight’s Eclipse Gives Hope to the Boring and Uninteresting

December 14, 2010

Okay, so there are many confessions I have to make before you read what I have to say about Eclipse.

1. I have not read the Twilight books.  Instead, I know the story because my friends have and talk about it in front of me.

2. Of the movies, I have only watched most of Twilight and Eclipse but missed New Moon entirely.

3. I personally have a fascination with vampires and have been since I was pretty young. I love vampires.

On to a little analysis…

I am not the first to notice that the heroine of Stephanie Meyer’s Twilight series is unbelievably boring and pathetic. For those of us who fight for women’s rights it is personally offensive to have a leading female character who literally has nothing going on in her life. She has no interests, hobbies, or points of view. She becomes a person only after she meets Edward and basically opens her head and lets him dump in everything he knows since he’s what? Hundreds of years old? And please, oh please do not let me get started on Edward.  If you have ever known a woman who has gone through an abusive relationship you know that Edward is DEFINITELY abusive.  Here is a list of behaviors Bella might have to ask herself to see if she’s in a relationship with an over-controlling partner:

From the little I’ve seen of the movies, Edward fits FOUR OUT OF FIVE of these. Well, actually he does at one point disable her truck so FIVE OUT OF FIVE.  While I was watching Twilight with my niece, I had to constantly turn to her and say “If a boy ever does that to you, run and call the police.” His watching her outside her window is particularly scary. For real, for all the young women reading this: IT IS NOT ROMANTIC, IT IS EFFING SCARY.

Which bring me to the point of this post.  Why is it that we as a society have come to believe that this behavior is indicative of love? That millions of tweens and housewives have become completely obsessed with this series goes to show that it’s definitely feeding into some fantasy of romance.  And this is not the first time we’ve seen this.  Did you know that the song “Every Breath You Take” by The Police was meant to be a song written by a stalking ex-boyfriend? The band was pretty shocked when it was interpreted as a romantic ballad. The lyrics are:

Every breath you take and every move you make
Every bond you break
Every step you take, I’ll be watching you
Every single day and every word you say
Every game you play
Every night you stay, I’ll be watching you
Oh can’t you see you belong to me?

Chills down the spine man. Chills down the spine.

The song and the Twilight series seem to evoke a belief that love is an inexplicable feeling that just…happens. It is powerful and overwhelming and it makes you believe that you cannot live without the other person.  Like a typhoon of positive and warm emotion. Without that feeling, you are simply settling.  I once had an anthropology professor (shout out to Prof. Fessler!!) who told his 400 person class that love definitely feels like a drug, even in the sense that it incapacitates you to actually accomplish other things.  This euphoria does not last long, otherwise nothing would ever get done.

What these movies and songs leave out is the process of love: finding a person with whom you have many points of connection, working to make room in your life for the other, finding ways to work through inevitable conflicts, and keeping the relationship going strong with new experiences and activities. According to psychologists who study love, relationships move through a very delicate process in which no one OWNS the other person. It is mutual. And it is awesome.  But it does take time and effort and a few times to fail at it in order to learn how to do it right, and none of these are popular in our current society.

In short, the Twilight series is the “lose weight with no effort” of love. Bella doesn’t have to do anything or say anything for the guys around her to mysteriously fall over themselves for her. She doesn’t even need to have anything interesting to say.

Sorry folks, but at some point you’re going to have put in the work. And just like all those slim-down without trying infomercials, people are getting rich off this stuff (I’m looking at you Steph Meyer) and I for one refuse to provide one, red cent.

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