I promised a rant on the one bitch I have about the Twilight books. Today, you get it. I know…I know…two posts in one day. Sheesh…
But first, let me tell you what I really LIKED about the Twilight books. It’s the same thing I like about Disney/Pixar movies:
The story might be for/about kids, but they’re written in such a way that adults get a whole lot more out of them than kids do.
In the case of Twilight, there are no graphic sex scenes. Period. None. Hell…Bella and Edward don’t truly “get their groove on” for real until the last book, for cryin’ out loud. But their love story is the point of the whole series. And believe you me, baby, my heart was a-flutter well before the first book was done.
Because the story is written with a less-is-more attitude about graphic depictions of a love story. Our imaginations are our strongest aphrodisiacs, my friends…and I think too many authors (teen and adult fiction alike) have forgotten that.
When I think about my daughter reading the Twilight series, I realize she’ll be reading it through the filter of anticipation, not experience. And her heart will flutter just like mine, but for different reasons. She, at 10, doesn’t have the first clue what it feels like to have mind-blowing sex with someone you love inside-out, upside-down and sideways. I do. She’ll “fall in love” with Edward or Jacob for very different reasons than her mama is slobbering at the thought of those two. And that’s just as it should be.
Which brings me to the reason I won’t mind if she doesn’t read the Twilight series: Bella is not the model of self-esteem I want to see PDD following through her teen years. I mean, really, Bella doesn’t truly “get” any of her worth until the damn last chapter of the last book.
I get that fiction writers need to create conflict. I get that they need to create drama. And human relationships – particularly among teenagers – are full of both, for sure. But give me a royal break, will you please all ye fiction writers out there who insist on making your heroines subjugate themselves and their self-worth to the point of ridiculousness, all in the name of love.
Having been a teenage girl myself (though, admittedly, it was many eons ago) I know that low self-esteem and low self-worth run rampant in that demographic. Some of us carry that crap right on into adulthood with us, until we wake up one morning feeling like we’ve been dipped in wet cement and hung in the corner to dry, our coating of protective self-loathing is so thick. Bella would not ring true as an American teen without some of that going on in her head. I get that.
But does it have to be EVERY conclusion she draws as to why this or that happens? Every single time?
That is the one bitch I have with the Twilight series. Stephanie Meyer wore Bella’s insecurities out before the first book was done…and then kept on, and kept on…until I wanted to reach into the pages of the book and give Bella a slap like Cher gives Nicolas Cage in “Moonstruck” and scream, “Snap out of it!”
And this very thing is why I don’t read romance novels anymore. They’re unhealthy, IMHO.
I get that many women read them for “escape”. I get that. But I can name a few names of women who read them and substitute them for reality.
I hate to break it to some of you romance fans, but no man is going to “read your mind” and see how much you love him while you’re busy denying your attraction to him, much less your devotion, and come chasing you down to declare his undying love and sweep you off your feet into the happily ever after. Just ain’t gonna happen in real life.
Will a man pursue you despite your foibles? Uh, yeah. Duh. Will a man love you despite your imperfections? Uh, yeah. Double-duh. But will a man put up with you and your incessant “less-than” mentality forever on end? Not only no, but good God, I hope not!!
I know a couple whose marriage is, was and likely always will be teetering on the edge of emptiness largely due to the wife waiting on the husband to act like the Romance Novel Hero, and anything less than that leaves her disappointed. But will she speak up and say what she wants? Oh no…he’s supposed to read her mind and just give it to her.
There is a concept I learned the first week of computer programming school all those many years ago that applies to just about every aspect of life:
Garbage In = Garbage Out
I’m pretty sure Bella would have been just as interesting, maybe even more so, if she’d been a little less self-loathing and a little more self-aware. And she’d have been a whole lot more ‘real’ an example for PDD than the default, “I’m so worthless I don’t see how Edward could love me” that played until the last few pages of the last book.
Maybe Stephanie didn’t see Juno yet…