Typing Faster

December 29, 2009

For The Twilight Obsessed

Filed under: Features, Kvetch, Twilight — petertypingfaster @ 5:00 am

I’ve tried to watch Twilight. I really have. If you work in this industry it’s important to be aware of what’s hot, and when a franchise earns umpteen million dollars, you know it’s something you should see.

But I just can’t do it.

These movies are flat out terrible. They’re poorly written. Poorly acted. And, having only been able to sit through twenty odd minutes of the films, poorly directed (alright…maybe passably directed).

I have a high crap threshold, but these movies are torture, and, frankly, life’s too short.

With the movies out, I turned to the books, with about the same level of success. Again, I have no problem reading crap (I’ve read some Dan Brown for example, even if I forgot it all twenty seconds after putting down the book), but man this stuff is bad. And we’re talking bad like “I’m not sure it’s even written in English bad.”

The long and the short of it, is that I’ve tried. I really, really have. But Twilight I just don’t get.

I don’t get why it’s so popular. I don’t get why young girls (and women!) wish that they were Bella Swan. I don’t get the whole Team Edward versus Team Jacob. I just don’t get it.

Thankfully I’m not alone.

Sick of hearing about The Twilight Saga: New Moon yet? Me too! But you know who’s not? Teenaged girls. They’re still eating up the story of Bella Swan alternating between listless moping and dangerous thrill-seeking — plus occasional flirting with the werewolf next door — in the absence of her emotionally abusive vampire boyfriend.

Not surprisingly, some adults watching the record-breaking movie aren’t so impressed. “Sitting in a sea of girls twittering and swooning at the phenomenal acting skills of Taylor Lautner’s torso,” writes “Odd Girl Out” and “The Curse of the Good Girl” author Rachel Simmons, “I found myself praying quietly for a scene where Bella paints, or sits on a bus with the debate team, or does something unrelated to obsessive, self-destructive pining. And I began to wonder how we could talk to girls about this film.”

Broadsheet
Wednesday, Dec 2, 2009 15:03 EST
Why not Team Bella?
How to talk to girls who are obsessed with the self-destructive heroine of “New Moon”
By Kate Harding

Sick of hearing about “The Twilight Saga: New Moon” yet? Me too! But you know who’s not? Teenaged girls. They’re still eating up the story of Bella Swan alternating between listless moping and dangerous thrill-seeking — plus occasional flirting with the werewolf next door — in the absence of her emotionally abusive vampire boyfriend.

Not surprisingly, some adults watching the record-breaking movie aren’t so impressed. “Sitting in a sea of girls twittering and swooning at the phenomenal acting skills of Taylor Lautner’s torso,” writes “Odd Girl Out” and “The Curse of the Good Girl” author Rachel Simmons, “I found myself praying quietly for a scene where Bella paints, or sits on a bus with the debate team, or does something unrelated to obsessive, self-destructive pining. And I began to wonder how we could talk to girls about this film.”

Simmons, an educator who specializes in raising girls’ self-esteem, lays out what parents and teachers are up against. “Among the cringe-worthy morals of this story: When you’re in love, the only thing that matters in life is your man. If you get dumped, your life is over, so feel free to act suicidal to get him back. Even if he tells you he never wants to see you again, manipulation and game-playing are effective ways to get his attention. Your friends are only ornaments; just kick them to the curb when he comes back.” The marketing campaign for the movie pits “Team Edward” (the vampire) against “Team Jacob” (the werewolf), but as Carmen D. Siering wrote in Ms., “few young readers ask, ‘Why not Team Bella?'” That’s because the whole point of Bella’s existence is earning the suffocating love of supernatural hotties; even if you think her obsessive devotion to Edward might waver in the face of were-love, you know you’re never going to see her throw them both over to stand on her own two feet. (In fact, given that her only noteworthy quirk is clumsiness, she can’t even be trusted to do that literally without male supervision.) And yet, seemingly every girl in the country under 16 — to say nothing of grown women — wishes she could be Bella. Fantastic.

And really that’s my biggest problem with the entire franchise, its lead character is absolutely unforgivable. Do women actually want to be like this girl? What am I missing here?

…”I think the Bella Swan character is so appealing because, from what I can see, she’s stripped down to the core emotions an adolescent girl feels: excluded, lovestruck, and misunderstood. In adolescence things are experienced in extremes; it’s either yes or no, black or white. It’s difficult to find the gray or the nuance. The fact that Bella experiences things in such extremes — she has to give up her soul, he’ll kill himself if she’s dead — lights up a girl like a Christmas tree… developmentally speaking, that is.” Okay, that makes sense. But still..Are there no better current pop culture offerings for today’s girls to hang their tortured souls on, or does “Twilight” really speak to them in a way I just can’t fathom? “This is a generation raised on Bratz, cell phones and low-rise jeans,” Simmons explained. “They’ve been told that being empowered is about shopping, looking sexy and being catty. In ‘New Moon,’ you don’t see a single kid texting and there is barely a sassy remark. The ‘Twilight’ saga ends up being a refuge from the ‘mean girl’ behavior that girls supposedly love to pay to watch.”

Well, yeah, Bella’s not mean, I’ll give her that much (although Team Jacob might disagree), and I can appreciate the desire for an alternative to vicious social power games. But then, that reminds me of another favorite from twenty years ago, “Heathers,” which skewered mean girl culture (and certainly hit on the extremes of adolescent emotion) with brains, black humor, and a heroine who’s not sorry to see her manipulative, homicidal boyfriend blow up at the end. Maybe after worried parents have finished going through Simmons’ suggestions for discussing “Twilight,” they should try arranging a screening of that. The female protagonist swears, drinks, has sex and kills people, sure, but I’d still pick her as a better role model for teenaged girls than Bella Swan any day.

Amen to that. Let’s bring Heathers back. Screw Twilight.

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1 Comment »

  1. You can add my blog to the list if you want too. I absolutely agree with you. Twilight is crap. I mean, is it necessary to go through torture to find so-called “love”. And Vampires do. not. sparkle. Worst part is, I read that they’re giving superman a makeover. Turning him into a brooding, I-don’t-give-a-damn kinda fellow, like the gaytard in twilight. They’re making him wear a hoodie. Oh c’mon. Superman is super not because of his attire, but because of his attitude. This sucks. I truly hate twilight for this and hate isn’t even a strong enough word.

    Comment by akshaysworld — November 1, 2010 @ 7:42 am


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