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Shining a little ‘light’ on ‘Twilight’

I recently read an article in Ms. Magazine entitled Taking a Bite out of Twilight by Carmen D. Siering, an assistant professor of English and women’s studies at Ball State University in Muncie, Ind.

I found Siering’s analysis of Stephanie Meyer’s book Twilight very interesting.  One that I’m not sure many of the young girls, mothers and educators whom have read Twilight got – one of anti-feminism.

Do a quick Google search for “twilight book review” and you will find a myriad of reviews ranging from one extreme to the other.  One thing that seems to be a common thread of many of the reviews is that Twilight is an easy read.  It is.  Which is also a big reason for it’s popularity.  During a time when people read less and less (we have become a culture of the Internet) Twilight isn’t complicated or challenging… I do not mean any disrespect to the book’s fans, but it is what it is. 

I am from the school of thought that as long as you’re reading… something, that’s all that matters.  If I was reading a magazine or the newspaper while my son was a baby, I read it aloud to him.  It didn’t matter whether he understood it or not.  So if Stephanie Meyers inspired teenage girls (and boys) and their mothers, to read – kudos to her.  However, is Meyer’s Twilight series, easy to read or not, detrimental to our daughters?

In Ms. Magazine – Siering shines a light on the dark side of Twilight… exposing the character Bella, a seventeen-year old girl, as weak and with no will of her own.  And although the book encourages abstinence (I applaud Meyers for this) it shows the character Edward (a vampire) being the one in control of Bella’s sexuality. 

Edward is portrayed as Bella’s protector.  One one hand this seems heroic, but I can’t help but see him as a bit over-protective and frankly, stalkerish. I do agree with Siering’s point of view of Edward’s all encompassing “love” of Bella.  How many times have you heard of girls/women in relationships with guys that want to be with them 24/7 and alienate them from their families and friends?  Many females mistakenly interpret this as love.  They think the guy loves them so much that they want them all to themselves.  NOT always the case girls – sometimes they want to be “in control”.

Siering points out that Bella appears to NEED someone to take care of her – she is incapable of taking care of herself.  This message is the opposite of what we (should) teach our daughters.  We want girls to grow into strong, independent women.  So is the Twilight series sending the wrong message to girls?  Siering thinks so.  You can find an excerpt of the article at Ms. Magazine.

Moms, have you and/or your daughters read the Twilight books?  I would love to hear your views on the books and on Carmen Siering’s article in Ms. Magazine.  Please leave a comment and share your opinion.

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