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Friday, August 29, 2008

True Love Waits - Twilight

FCC66EBE-20D8-481F-B448-C25E9359CC6B.jpg

I just read, True Love Waits, by Donna Freitas in the Wall Street Journal, an editorial about the Twilight vampire romance series.

She made some good points about the Twilight Series and the sex involved. I've read the first one and though no one "does it" the book is hot with anticipation.

Freitas argues that this book encourages girls to be abstinent and helps them understand they can have fulfilling romantic relationships while demanding respect from boys.

It's a compelling argument. In theory, it's one I'd like to hop on board with.

Don't do it. It's hot not to do it. And I remember - from being a teenager - how hot it is not to do it, just to fool around, to make him chase me. It really is much hotter not to do it. (Ironically, it's so hot not to do it that it makes you want to do it.)

Except that it doesn't account for the language in the book that struck me as exactly the same dialogue we hear from battered women and victims of teen relationship violence.

Not a small problem when you consider that around 20% of our teens have experienced teen dating violence.

"He couldn't help it," is what Stephanie Meyers argues is an acceptable reason for Edward to want to kill and harm Bella, the heroine. It's not just acceptable, it's romantic.

Battered women and codependent women (women in relationships with addicts) use this excuse in real life, as a "valid reason" to stay and take more abuse from someone who declares his "love" for her and his simultaneous inability to treat her with respect.

The question is - Is it valid?

The reason they don't "do it" in the first Twilight book - is that he's godlike strength "would crush her fragile, delicate, vulnerable body."

Oh, and his vampire instinct makes him literally want to kill her. He wants to so bad that he can barely touch her. The smell of her makes him think "lunch," the same way I feel jerks who catcall think of us - "lunch - meant for my consumption."

Hello, that's not the language of patient, abstinent, sweet and touching young love. That's the language of power and violence.

Meyers pretends Bella has power over Edward because he claims that being near her drives him out of control (wanting to kill her) that he can barely contain himself. But, existing in a pretty state and smelling good is a pretty passive power.

He has POWER and CONTROL- because he gets to choose whether to kill her or not. Lucky for her he doesn't - no matter how much she wants him to - until the 3rd or 4th book. Bella's death was another mingling of erotic and passionate love meets violence and pain. My cousin read me that part over the phone, "Isn't that great writing? Such a powerful description."

Yeah, of battered woman syndrome - not of true love.

This is not the language I want to use to make my daughter demand respect and maintain abstinence.

This is the language that makes victims of girls and women. It makes them believe that being a victim is romantic. In real life it's not at all romantic.

It's a distortion of love - not True Love.

A man who expects me to not to violate my own sense of self-preservation to win his love actually loves me. We need to stop being confused about that.

If I have to give up my self, my abilities, my life, my safety, my sense self-preservation to be with him - that is most definitely NOT true love. Those are all red flags.

You know another connotation of the word Twilight is a distancing from feelings surrounding reality - they used to put birthing mothers into a semi-coma called Twilight Sleep. This way they could participate in the labor, but without awareness or feeling.

Not my idea of healthy love.

I had to learn these lessons the hard way. God willing my daughter won't have to.

Should most of the issues in this series, or any of the red flag language, come up for Ainsley I hope her first and only instinct is to RUN FOR HER LIFE AND NEVER LOOK BACK.


I, quite ironically, am wishing Edward the Vampire Boyfriend was mine. I have a rare genetic condition called Hemochromatosis. Basically, my body doesn't get rid of iron as it should. Iron is poisonous, especially in the liver where it sits in my body. The only treatment is for me to be bled.

I really need one pint of blood removed from my body every week for the next while. Hot and passionate Edward would be a lot more fun then the phlebotomist at the lab. My husband, he's pretty great with the dishes - but, he hardly ever offers to suck my blood. And unlike, Bella, that would really be an asset in a mate for me.


Oh, and if you're going to buy the books to read - to make sure they are or aren't appropriate for your daughter (you probably should since all the girls all over America are talking about it) feel free to buy them here to support these Empowering Girls: So Sioux Me book reviews.

Twilight (The Twilight Saga, Book 1)

New Moon (The Twilight Saga, Book 2)

Eclipse (The Twilight Saga, Book 3)

Breaking Dawn (The Twilight Saga, Book 4)

The Host: A Novel

For more in-depth reading about how using romantic language and imagery really turns into violence against girls and women read these:

Battered Woman, Do Not Stay

Gossip Girl & Date Rape

Dating Violence

Sharpton Protests Ant-Girl Lyrics

Empowering Girls: Twilight, Female Crack Cocaine

How Falling In Love is Addictive

9 comments:

Mim said...

I've been trying to decide whether to bother reading the Twilight books, a number of my younger friends are positively gushing about how wonderful they are. Now I'm beginning to be pretty sure I don't want to.

I probably will read them though. There was a customer in the bookshop I work at last week asking about the suitability of the books for her daughter. I don't like having to answer a question like that without knowing first-hand what I'm talking about.

Tracee said...

Mothers should probably read them if they are being discussed among their daughters and friends.

What's baffling to me is why mother's are on board with the message. Why don't they see the mingling of danger and violence? Or do they just not see the helpless language and lack of self-preservation instinct in Bella as a problem?

There are probably some women who hope that for their daughters.

I'm just not one of them.

Carol Saha said...

My older daughter was in a violent relationship. I figured she was going to either end up dead, in the hospital or in jail. She ended it, finally realized it didn't have to be that way and she deserved better.
My niece is in an extremely violent marriage now, in the same area as my KK. My niece's husband got violent with KK. Very violent. KK has nothing to do with either of them now. She says she left that life and doesn't allow anyone in her life that behaves that way. Their story is that it was KK's fault. She provoked him.

Manager Mom said...

OK - I need to disclaimer that I have not yet READ this book but am planning to - but I found your review, and the points and issues that you raised - to be fucking brilliant.

I will revisit this post after I read the book

Alex Elliot said...

I don't have daughters, but now I'm totally curious about these books. As a feminist who has two boys, I still think it's important to be aware of these types of books because if they're that popular that the girls are talking about them at school and the boys are hearing about them (and perhaps reading them too)I want to know about them.

Jen said...

Good points. I just bought the first one. Gonna see what all the hype is about. Plus I need a little "hot-n-steamy" in my life right now. God, knows I'm not getting it with the puking kids crazy work schedule husband.

Tracee said...

I guess I'll have to read the other three books so I'll have a firm foundation for my theories.

Remember buy them here to support the cause. (And so I can afford the other three books!)

mrs. blogoway said...

You crack me up:-)
You gave me a hard time on my blog for keeping OK! Magazine in business and now you have links to sell these ridiculous vampire books on yours? Pretty funny.

I agree Bella's character perpetuates a victim mentality. I'm not sure why people are crazy for these books? I thought the writing was horrible.

Tracee said...

I see your point :), but its Research Crystal. I would never finish reading the series if not for research about how it impacts girls. I thought it read like a formula victim romance novel - not usually how I spend my reading hours. But, since they are flying off the shelves . . .Uh, maybe I won't read them. I'm wishy-washy on it.

Friday, August 29, 2008

True Love Waits - Twilight

FCC66EBE-20D8-481F-B448-C25E9359CC6B.jpg

I just read, True Love Waits, by Donna Freitas in the Wall Street Journal, an editorial about the Twilight vampire romance series.

She made some good points about the Twilight Series and the sex involved. I've read the first one and though no one "does it" the book is hot with anticipation.

Freitas argues that this book encourages girls to be abstinent and helps them understand they can have fulfilling romantic relationships while demanding respect from boys.

It's a compelling argument. In theory, it's one I'd like to hop on board with.

Don't do it. It's hot not to do it. And I remember - from being a teenager - how hot it is not to do it, just to fool around, to make him chase me. It really is much hotter not to do it. (Ironically, it's so hot not to do it that it makes you want to do it.)

Except that it doesn't account for the language in the book that struck me as exactly the same dialogue we hear from battered women and victims of teen relationship violence.

Not a small problem when you consider that around 20% of our teens have experienced teen dating violence.

"He couldn't help it," is what Stephanie Meyers argues is an acceptable reason for Edward to want to kill and harm Bella, the heroine. It's not just acceptable, it's romantic.

Battered women and codependent women (women in relationships with addicts) use this excuse in real life, as a "valid reason" to stay and take more abuse from someone who declares his "love" for her and his simultaneous inability to treat her with respect.

The question is - Is it valid?

The reason they don't "do it" in the first Twilight book - is that he's godlike strength "would crush her fragile, delicate, vulnerable body."

Oh, and his vampire instinct makes him literally want to kill her. He wants to so bad that he can barely touch her. The smell of her makes him think "lunch," the same way I feel jerks who catcall think of us - "lunch - meant for my consumption."

Hello, that's not the language of patient, abstinent, sweet and touching young love. That's the language of power and violence.

Meyers pretends Bella has power over Edward because he claims that being near her drives him out of control (wanting to kill her) that he can barely contain himself. But, existing in a pretty state and smelling good is a pretty passive power.

He has POWER and CONTROL- because he gets to choose whether to kill her or not. Lucky for her he doesn't - no matter how much she wants him to - until the 3rd or 4th book. Bella's death was another mingling of erotic and passionate love meets violence and pain. My cousin read me that part over the phone, "Isn't that great writing? Such a powerful description."

Yeah, of battered woman syndrome - not of true love.

This is not the language I want to use to make my daughter demand respect and maintain abstinence.

This is the language that makes victims of girls and women. It makes them believe that being a victim is romantic. In real life it's not at all romantic.

It's a distortion of love - not True Love.

A man who expects me to not to violate my own sense of self-preservation to win his love actually loves me. We need to stop being confused about that.

If I have to give up my self, my abilities, my life, my safety, my sense self-preservation to be with him - that is most definitely NOT true love. Those are all red flags.

You know another connotation of the word Twilight is a distancing from feelings surrounding reality - they used to put birthing mothers into a semi-coma called Twilight Sleep. This way they could participate in the labor, but without awareness or feeling.

Not my idea of healthy love.

I had to learn these lessons the hard way. God willing my daughter won't have to.

Should most of the issues in this series, or any of the red flag language, come up for Ainsley I hope her first and only instinct is to RUN FOR HER LIFE AND NEVER LOOK BACK.


I, quite ironically, am wishing Edward the Vampire Boyfriend was mine. I have a rare genetic condition called Hemochromatosis. Basically, my body doesn't get rid of iron as it should. Iron is poisonous, especially in the liver where it sits in my body. The only treatment is for me to be bled.

I really need one pint of blood removed from my body every week for the next while. Hot and passionate Edward would be a lot more fun then the phlebotomist at the lab. My husband, he's pretty great with the dishes - but, he hardly ever offers to suck my blood. And unlike, Bella, that would really be an asset in a mate for me.


Oh, and if you're going to buy the books to read - to make sure they are or aren't appropriate for your daughter (you probably should since all the girls all over America are talking about it) feel free to buy them here to support these Empowering Girls: So Sioux Me book reviews.

Twilight (The Twilight Saga, Book 1)

New Moon (The Twilight Saga, Book 2)

Eclipse (The Twilight Saga, Book 3)

Breaking Dawn (The Twilight Saga, Book 4)

The Host: A Novel

For more in-depth reading about how using romantic language and imagery really turns into violence against girls and women read these:

Battered Woman, Do Not Stay

Gossip Girl & Date Rape

Dating Violence

Sharpton Protests Ant-Girl Lyrics

Empowering Girls: Twilight, Female Crack Cocaine

How Falling In Love is Addictive

9 comments:

Mim said...

I've been trying to decide whether to bother reading the Twilight books, a number of my younger friends are positively gushing about how wonderful they are. Now I'm beginning to be pretty sure I don't want to.

I probably will read them though. There was a customer in the bookshop I work at last week asking about the suitability of the books for her daughter. I don't like having to answer a question like that without knowing first-hand what I'm talking about.

Tracee said...

Mothers should probably read them if they are being discussed among their daughters and friends.

What's baffling to me is why mother's are on board with the message. Why don't they see the mingling of danger and violence? Or do they just not see the helpless language and lack of self-preservation instinct in Bella as a problem?

There are probably some women who hope that for their daughters.

I'm just not one of them.

Carol Saha said...

My older daughter was in a violent relationship. I figured she was going to either end up dead, in the hospital or in jail. She ended it, finally realized it didn't have to be that way and she deserved better.
My niece is in an extremely violent marriage now, in the same area as my KK. My niece's husband got violent with KK. Very violent. KK has nothing to do with either of them now. She says she left that life and doesn't allow anyone in her life that behaves that way. Their story is that it was KK's fault. She provoked him.

Manager Mom said...

OK - I need to disclaimer that I have not yet READ this book but am planning to - but I found your review, and the points and issues that you raised - to be fucking brilliant.

I will revisit this post after I read the book

Alex Elliot said...

I don't have daughters, but now I'm totally curious about these books. As a feminist who has two boys, I still think it's important to be aware of these types of books because if they're that popular that the girls are talking about them at school and the boys are hearing about them (and perhaps reading them too)I want to know about them.

Jen said...

Good points. I just bought the first one. Gonna see what all the hype is about. Plus I need a little "hot-n-steamy" in my life right now. God, knows I'm not getting it with the puking kids crazy work schedule husband.

Tracee said...

I guess I'll have to read the other three books so I'll have a firm foundation for my theories.

Remember buy them here to support the cause. (And so I can afford the other three books!)

mrs. blogoway said...

You crack me up:-)
You gave me a hard time on my blog for keeping OK! Magazine in business and now you have links to sell these ridiculous vampire books on yours? Pretty funny.

I agree Bella's character perpetuates a victim mentality. I'm not sure why people are crazy for these books? I thought the writing was horrible.

Tracee said...

I see your point :), but its Research Crystal. I would never finish reading the series if not for research about how it impacts girls. I thought it read like a formula victim romance novel - not usually how I spend my reading hours. But, since they are flying off the shelves . . .Uh, maybe I won't read them. I'm wishy-washy on it.