The suspect morality of Twilight

twilightMissN discovered Twilight in 2006 when we were in London. We were looking for books to read while we were away and she bought it, not knowing anything about it or imagining it was going to be the next Harry Potter.   No-one else had heard of it then.  She read all 4 of the series (quite a few times!) before she tired of them (or grew out of them).

Here is a speech she recently gave ( a one minute persuasive speech) to her English class:

Today there is an epidemic in which teen girls are taken over and cannot be saved. This is called the ‘Twilight’ anomaly. In all likelihood there are some of the afflicted among us. I am speaking with sympathy today to those people, as there is but one cure: to realise that Twilight is not the meaning of life.

Let us look at how Stephenie Meyer foists questionable morals on young impressionable girls. She debases love into physical attraction, describes marriage as a means of having one’s selfish desires satisfied, encourages sexism, and makes abusive relationships seem the norm.

Over the whole book of Twilight, Edward’s beauty is mentioned 165 times and yet Edward’s personality as a means of attraction is only mentioned four times. A questionable ideal to be displaying.

Bella, not content with Edward promising to be with her for a lifetime, insists on being changed into a vampire and gets married to him only to ensure that immortality is in store for her. Her persistence in the matter of eternal life could equate her to Voldemort.

Sexism and inequality in relationships are displayed as the standard in this piece of immoral literature. Bella is displayed as “weak” and constantly needing male protection. Edward is constantly controlling Bella, and will not let her see certain friends of hers. This gives the two protagonists an uneven, abusive relationship. In addition, Jacob forcibly kisses her, causing Bella to believe that she is in love with him. This is a depiction of a weak female mind, which is a male chauvinistic belief.

So, despite the terrible plot, plastic characters, and the fact that there are very few original concepts in the series, there are the damaging effects that it has on the teen society. To the diseased with this horrible ailment, I seriously recommend a healthy dose of good literature.

Like Jane Austen…

Should we be discouraging our girls from immersing themselves in Twilight?

Anyone want complete set of the Twilight series?

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13 Responses to “The suspect morality of Twilight”

  1. Kelli Says:

    And here I was thinking I was the only person who thought these books to be bad – the writing isn’t terrific, they certainly do nothing for the empowerment of women & Bella would have to be one of the most annoying lead characters I have come across. And they way her parents are portrayed as well….superficial nonsense. I was reading these thinking they are just a vampire version of the Sweet valley High or Sweet Dreams books I read as a teenager.

    Love Miss N’s thought process & her ability to put this into words.

    And in saying all this, I have read the first 3 & would like to read the 4th only so i can finish what I started. But so glad I didn’t waste my book buying budget on purchasing these.

  2. Jenlou Says:

    I have read all four (bought the last one coz I didn’t want to wait to read a copy from the library, more fool me).

    Well done to Miss N who has shown amazing maturity in her insights into this book. I hope you got the highest mark you can get for that. I will definately be sharing this with a friend whose daughter is reading the series at the moment.

    Which Jane Austen book do you think is the best?

  3. wjcsydney Says:

    She did get full marks. She has some gifts in public speaking.

    I Like Persuasion the best. Then P & P and Mansfield Park equal, then S &S and Emma equal. Northanger Abbey the least.

  4. Teresa McNamara Says:

    I am so proud of Miss N! I will use her words when I am speaking to parents about Twilight. Please tell her from me that she rocks!

  5. Sharon Says:

    Well done Miss N.

    I have read books one and two, but grew tired of it and never finished the series.

    Steph (my 16 year old) is immersed in them, and although the concepts are a little worrying I attribute her with enough common sense to know that these kinds of relationships are not healthy. And to be honest, I’m just glad she is reading.

    I’m confident that the example shown to her by us (her parents) over the past 16 years will over ride the fantasy of a vampire book. I don’t think we need to get too bent out of shape and need to give our young people some credit for their own common sense and insight. And trust that we have brought them up to think for themselves and form their own opinions.

    Sharon.

  6. wjcsydney Says:

    Sharon, I think the issue is balance and perspective. If parents are discussing relationships with their teens (watching movies together is an ideal opportunity to do this) then the kids will develop a balanced view of what a healthy relationship is. Sadly too many kids form their view of “love” from the media, from television and from Hollywood.

  7. SandyCarlson Says:

    That’s quite a persuasive essay!

  8. Mistress B Says:

    I didn’t like the relationship dynamics in it myself and have in fact challenged my teenage twilight obsessed daughter over them, but I sometimes wonder if as adults we may perhaps get too caught up in things that kids just don’t see in the fiction they read.

  9. masachisticlamb Says:

    Seriously???

    I am twenty three years old and an avid reader of the Twilight Saga. While I do not think the books are the best things ever written I do see alot of hidden messages.

    Have you considered that the Vampire lust is symbolic of the lust for sex? If you read the entire series you will see that nothing sexual hapens until after they are married.

    Stephenie talks about having to sacrifice Bellas family to be with the man she loves. In the end there is a comprimise made so that she can still have her family and the man she loves. What is wrong with that??

    The “love triangle” Between Bella and Jaccob is actually a lesson about deciding what would be “easy and simple” versus something “passionate and hard”. Bella had to make choices.

    I dislike the fact that so many young girls think that Bella should be with Jacob. I try to have a civilised conversation with them about the fact that Jacob continuously manipulates Bella but they dont understand.
    I’m not saying that Bella is an angel and never manipulates Edward or Jacob believe me she does but I think its important for tht to be seen.

    I could continue but I wont because at the end of the day its just a story. This story has revived young people reading shouldnt we be greatful for that??

    Finally… WILL PEOPLE STOP COMPARING TWILIGHT TO HARRY POTTER? THEY HAVE NOTHING IN COMMON.

  10. Anja Says:

    I’m not a parent, and I will always bow to the opinions of parents in matters like this. What I do find with books that are hugely popular, they can be a springboard for discussion. They might actually help soften the lines with tricky subjects that mothers and daughters could feel uncomfortable approaching with each other.

    I’m not a fan of censorship in any form. I don’t see anything wrong with the books. I find the mainstream media more troubling.

  11. Nancy Says:

    That is greatly done N

    We have just started reading the series. Miss K has decided that it is such a popular book because it has what every teen girl wants… a boy totally obsessed with them. It pulls in to human desires of belongness. I love reading books with my kids. Gives great chances to chat about how people see the world.

  12. corymbia Says:

    Applause – well said.

  13. Fcgggfgjlftss Says:

    Quite honestly, I think this reads too much into the book. I think it’s meant to be a story for enjoyment, no evil motives, just something interesting to read. To assume that the writer wanted to convince all these girls to do wrong is a little over the top.

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