The Twilight Impulse

My thoughts and impressions of the Twilight Saga, written by the fabulous Stephenie Meyer


Hey, I'm a massive Twilight Fan, and thanks to my friends being fed up with having to listern to my non-stop chattering about Twilight, i decided to create a blog for myself to just vent and document my twilight obsession!! I'm current studying journalism and have aspiration to become one, so why not write about something as awesome as the Twilight Saga!!

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

USA Todays article "Adults fret that 'Eclipse' lacks good role models for teens"

I know that this is criticising Twilight, but i found this really interesting. As much as i love the saga, i totally agree with everything they're saying. This is USA Today's article:

"By Maria Puente, USA TODAY

The Twilight Saga: Eclipse is at the top of the box office, but as teenage heroine Bella Swan moves inevitably toward marriage with a vampire, some wonder if she's such an exemplary role model for the girls who follow her adventures in the hugely popular books and movies.

It's a rerun of an old debate: Can pop culture — books, movies, music — influence the behavior of impressionable teenagers, and in the case of Bella, is that a good thing or a bad thing?
REVIEW: 'Eclipse' is fairly anemic.
And, for that matter, are teens really all that impressionable? After all, they've been reading Romeo and Juliet for 400 years.
Bella, for the few who have avoided the Twilight tidal wave, is a teenager who's so in love with an undead guy that she's ready to give up everything to be turned into a vampire so they can spend eternity together. Adding some urgency to the situation is the fact that Edward Cullen, her vampire love, is reluctant to have sex outside the bonds of matrimony.
Christine Seifert, a communications professor at Westminster College in Salt Lake City who has studied Twilight online message boards and fan fiction sites, says that the saga is strongly Mormon in tone and that a subset of Mormon culture prefers that girls marry young and start families. She says the abstinence message is so strong it could be labeled "abstinence porn," designed to convince teens that sexual self-denial is actually sexy. Will it work?
The author of the Twilight books, Stephenie Meyer, is a devout Mormon who says about Bella on her website: "I never meant for her fictional choices to be a model for anyone else's real-life choices."
Nevertheless, the three movies so far and the four books in print make some parents nervous about whether the saga is appropriate for younger teens, even aside from the vampires. Twilight, it should be noted, was No. 5 on the 2009 list of books challenged or banned from schools and libraries, according to the American Library Association.
'Virtuous' messages
Kristy Campbell of Marin County, Calif., a non-Mormon mother of five and a columnist for, says she won't let her 9-year-old read the books but she's OK with her 17-year-old doing so, as long as Mom and Dad help explain "the fiction in the fiction." She worries that Twilight over-romanticizes teen sex and marriage, creating unrealistic expectations.
"I'd like to see Edward and Bella one year into their teen marriage living in their parents' basement with a screaming toddler, no college plans, working at a 7-Eleven and wondering where the fun went," she says
Kathryn Darden, a Christian freelance writer on arts and entertainment for several online publications who has written about Twilight, says there are some "virtuous" messages in the saga, but "I've never recommended it for (unsupervised) teens — it needs to be read by parents and discussed first."
Amy Best, an associate professor of sociology at Virginia's George Mason University who studies teens and popular culture, says adults do tend to get "a bit panicky" when teenagers invest too much in a particular character, and there's a long list of characters who have been "troublesome" on some level. But she says the "emulation model" is not followed by all teens, even the obsessed ones.
"We should recognize that teens develop complicated relationships to media and for some it may inspire a particular trajectory for action, but for others it's also an opportunity to work through ideas," she says. "Listen to them and don't assume what messages teens are drawing from" Twilight or any other book or movie.
Indeed, ask teens if they take Twilight seriously enough to imitate Bella and eyes roll. Hello, there are vampires involved; of course it's make-believe!
"It's kind of a special situation — it's a fantasy novel," says Michelle Pan, patiently, calling from summer camp. She's 17, founder of a popular website, (about 300,000 hits a month) and the author of a new book of fan talk, Bella Should Have Dumped Edward: Controversial Views & Debates on the Twilight Series. "I don't think (fans) will be influenced; for most readers, there's a clear distinction that this is fantasy and separate from their real life."
The fans who gab about Twilight on Pan's website and in her book are more interested in discussing such questions as, "Would the series be as intriguing if Bella picked Jacob (the werewolf) over Edward?" and "Which vampire special talent is most useful?" They also discuss the creepiness of "imprinting," which is what Meyer says happens when shape-shifters such as werewolves encounter the person they're destined to be with.
The adult spokeswoman for Pan's publisher, Karma Bennett of Ulysses Press, isn't so sure she likes the idea of a man choosing his life partner with just a glance, and some of the fans in Pan's book agree. But others have no problem with it. One girl, identified as Dayi, 19, of Georgia, even says she wishes everyone could be imprinted because it would make finding a soul mate easier and might curb the wayward behavior of men.
Melissa Click, a communications professor at the University of Missouri and co-author of a new book about the fans, Bitten by Twilight: Youth Culture, Media, & the Vampire Franchise, says the media have treated Twihard teens shabbily, making fun of them and wringing hands over the intensity of their love for Twilight. But she says the teens she has interviewed are savvy and not so easily manipulated.
"They're smart, and to assume they can't decode messages is itself an anti-feminist message," Click says. Critics who complain that Twihard teens are "out of control, aren't they stupid, gosh, we need to protect them — well, they don't say that about Iron Man fans."
The faithful are divided
But even some of Meyer's fellow Mormons aren't thrilled about Twilight: Deseret Books, a Salt Lake-based Mormon church-affiliated chain of 38 bookstores throughout the West, removed the books from store shelves last year at the request of customers, although the books are still available by special order, says spokeswoman Gail Halladay.
"Many of our customers were upset and felt it was not appropriate content for the targeted audience," she says. "We needed to accommodate our customers. It was a business decision."
Meanwhile, conservative Christian organizations that sought to ban the Harry Potter books because they're about wizards and witches are divided about criticizing Twilight.
Roberta Combs, president of the Christian Coalition of America, which called for a ban on the Potter series, says she's considering a similar campaign against Twilight because even though it's pro-abstinence, it's also pro-vampires.
She says vampires are definitely not good role models, and she blames Hollywood.
"We can let our voices be heard, and anytime you do that you have an effect one way or another," Combs says. "These Twilight books are very disturbing books for family values. Teen marriage is not the standard, but the part that is more troubling is the vampire. It's just not normal for young people to idolize a vampire."
Says Gordon Robertson, CEO of the Christian Broadcasting Network, which condemned Harry Potter for fear that the books would inspire young people to try casting spells: "Rather than prohibit access, use it as a talking point" with your teens.
Twilight has questionable stuff (such as Edward's stalkerish behavior toward Bella), Robertson says, but it's mostly harmless "romantic escapism" that teens are smart enough to put in context with the help of parents.
Darden says one reason for the division is that witches are specifically condemned in the Bible, while vampires are not even mentioned. Still, "many Christian readers shy away from things that are demonic, and (they think) vampires are demon," she says.
But Darden defends the suitability of at least the first Twilight book for older teens (with parental guidance) because its themes are "faith-based," and the characters talk a lot about their souls.
"Edward refuses to turn Bella (into a vampire) because he's concerned about her salvation, he thinks being a vampire is equivalent to being damned," she says. "He puts her well-being above all else, and that's a strong positive message. Teen culture is too often getting the opposite message from Hollywood."
Not everyone relates
Not every young woman yearns for a vampire of her own.
Jenn Petti, 26, who works at a hotel in Colorado Springs, has read all the books and saw the first movie. She thinks Bella is pretty lame.
"How is her being a role model even up for debate?" Petti scoffs.
Bella is "co-dependent," willing to abandon her friends to be with "an immortal sparkly male," Petty says. (Meyer's vampires have skin that sparkles like diamonds in the sunlight). "She has no sense of self and only sees her worth as Edward's girlfriend, which is why when he breaks up with her, she spends almost the entire second book moping."
Petti says teen girls may aspire to the kind of relationship Bella has with Edward, but she's not convinced they'll run off and get married and start making babies too young.
"Girls relate to the fantasy," she says. "It speaks to that part in most girls of wanting to be a princess, wanting something crazy and magical to happen.""

It's so interesting...


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home