I love it when kids read. Nothing makes me happier than when one of my kids picks up a book and goes to that magical place that only literature can take you.
Dragons or wizards, space travel or the southern states. It doesn’t really matter just so long as you get transported there, just you and those pages. It can be for 30 minutes or three hours. It’s just you and those friends you just made.
That said, there was something about the Twilight series that rubbed me the wrong was as soon as it hit the shelves and I couldn’t put my finger on it. I was overjoyed when my son tried to read it and announced “This is stupid” and promptly returned it to the library.
As I heard more people talk about the series I figured I simply had distain for the concept of sparkling vampires and the main female protagonist who “is relatable”. That’s because she is an emo teenager who whines about her life and waits for some guy to fix it for her. She is like every hormonal, emo teenage girl, who ever was, ever will be, ever, ever, ever!
Then I saw ads for the movie and I was thinking “Wow, there is something seriously wrong between this Edward guy and his chick Bella” and I heard people say “Edward is so intense”. Ladies, I’ve had intense and it’s just that. Intense. Nothing long term fun about intense. It stays that way.
I’m not one to find something that angers me and further research why it angers me so I just left it at that. I found more series that I could enjoy with my kids (Harry Potter, The Hunger Games) and I was happy with my mutually shared world. Till I was on Pintrest today. Then I found a picture stating that the relationship between Edward Cullen and Bella Swan meets all fifteen critera for an abusive relationship under the National Domestic Violence Hotline. I was gobsmacked.
While I didn’t doubt it I was off to google anyway because I hadn’t read the books/seen the movies and I found that somebody had been kind enough to do the research for me.
Kar3ning had gone to see New Moon and had noticed similarities between the relationship and the list. She compiled a list and posted it to her livejournal. It went viral and I found it today. Holy shitballs Batman (also: a better catch than Edward Cullan and he’s hella emotionally unavailable)
“According to the National Domestic Violence hotline, these are some signs that you may be in an emotionally or physically abusive relationship.
Does your partner:
* Look at you or act in ways that scare you?
* Control what you do, who you see or talk to or where you go?
“Stay away from the werewolves. I love you.”
* Make all of the decisions?
* Act like the abuse is no big deal, it’s your fault, or even deny doing it?
“If I wasn’t so attracted to you, I wouldn’t have to break up with you.”
* Threaten to commit suicide?
“I just can’t live without you. In fact, I’ll run to Italy and try suicide by vampire if anything happens to you.”
* Threaten to kill you?
On their first date.
These are some more signs of an abusive relationship.
Has your partner…
* Tried to isolate you from family or friends.
Bella doesn’t have time for anyone else!
* Damaged property when angry (thrown objects, punched walls, kicked doors, etc.).
* Pushed, slapped, bitten, kicked or choked you.
Does tossing her through a glass table count?
* Abandoned you in a dangerous or unfamiliar place.
“We’re breaking up. And I’m leaving you in the forest.”
* Scared you by driving recklessly.
* Forced you to leave your home.
She had to run away with him to flee from the other vampires in the first movie, and she had to drop everything and run to Italy in the second.
* Prevented you from calling police or seeking medical attention.
Check. Even in the hospital, nothing is a big deal.
* Views women as objects and believes in rigid gender roles.
Well, they are Mormon… (I know, I know, cheap shot.)
* Accuses you of cheating or is often jealous of your outside relationships.
Now I’m pissed. According to the NDVH, “If you answered ‘yes’ to even one of these questions, you may be in an abusive relationship.” This list is fifteen.”
All. Fifteen. Checked. Off!!!
That my friends is no small feat!
What really chokes me is that this book is geared for teens. That’s right, teens. Just as girls are striking out on their own and learning to form their own romantic attachments, we as adults are handing them books and movies with this relationship model for them to swoon over. Wait… What?
Lets look at the two other book series I mentioned. (**spoiler alert**)
Harry Potter: Hermione Granger/Ron Weasly – Total intellectual, not traditionally attractive, constantly saves her best friends asses with her brains (best friends being guys). When her love starts losing his shit and leaves she gets upset, leans on her best friends shoulder and then sacks up and keeps on with her mission to, oh you know, save the whole damned world. When her love returns, she gives him the stink eye and makes him prove that he won’t bugger off again.
When Ron starts to get buggy in the wods when hunting Horcrux’s, he removes himself from the situation (in the way of compleatly fucking off) and later returns and actually works on things instead of just expecting Hermione to be thrilled he’s back because he’s him and she’s a chick.
Her love, Ron, doesn’t get jealous that her BFF is a guy. He gets jealous over other guys she’s interested in before they’re an item but not over her friends. “Oh, your friends with The Chosen One. The one all the other wizarding girls get squishy over? You swear you’re just friends? O.K. That’s cool. You know why? Because I trust you.”
They spend years growing together and becoming friends before becoming an item and finally when they do it’s based on respect of each others strengths and weaknesses.
The Hunger Games: Katness Evergreen/Peeta Mallark/Gale Hawthorn – Oh Katniss. Did you ever get the short end of the stick. Born in a dystopian society, your father dies in a mine explosion sending your mother into a catatonic state leaving you to care for your younger sister when you, yourself are still a child, living in poverty. It’s enough to crush anyone. Not you though. You learned to hunt, trade and you even made a friend named Gale who is apparently very handsome all while finishing school. Good for you!
Thats right kiddies. Katniss stepped up! She cared for her family when her mother couldn’t and her father passed away. She became a very proficient hunter and provider. All that changed when her sisters name was called for The Hunger Games. A series of games where children kill each other for the entertainment of The Capitol and to keep the lowly districts in check.
Our gal Katniss won’t have it though, not her… She volunteers in place of her sister because Katniss is a protector and fighter by nature.
It’s in the Hunger Games that she befriends Peeta. Through her trickery they both manage to survive a game designed to only have one survivor. So she’s smart too. Thats awesome!
Later we find out that her defiance to the Capitol made her something of a symbol to a budding rebellion.
As she suffers with PTSD, she is caught in a love triangle with her long time friend Gale, her new friend Peeta and she is forced to fight/be the face of the rebellion.
Both Gale and Peeta know that she will have to choose between the men she has conflicting feelings for, but she doesn’t focus on that right now. Not our Katniss… She has bigger fish to fry, like saving her country from the psychotic strangle hold of the Capitol and its President Snow.
When she does finally choose Peeta, Gale bows out quietly and take to protecting a distant district as to lick his wounds and not interrupt Katniss’ new life.
These two, strong female characters considered, I wonder why, WHY any person in their right mind would permit the Twilight series through their door if there are children in the house.
My son turns 11 this month (*note: he has always been advanced with his reading, like his mama) and he’s starting to notice girls. I am so very, very glad he decided that sparkling, abusive vampires and the obsessive, addle minded emo chicks who love them was, indeed “stupid”. I’ll bet the girls he eventually dates will be too.