Time to provide some perspective. I am posting extensively on The Twilight Saga. Why?
The Twilight Saga is an international sensation, but unlike other recent blockbusters (for example, the Harry Potter series), this fan base tilts very, very heavily towards females. (One fan site listed a ratio of 31 registered females for every male, and I would venture to say it may be optimistic about the number of males.)
Clearly, this is tapping into a perceived need in young ladies and some not-so-young. For example, this is from the Twilight Moms website: “DO YOU THINK YOU ARE THE ONLY ONE whose life turned upside down when you read Twilight? Is your house a disaster with piles of piles of laundry in every corner and stacks of dirty dishes at record breaking heights? Have you imagined your husband is a vampire (or werewolf) and suddenly have the libido of newlywed again? Do you convince yourself that “cold cereal” makes a perfectly wholesome dinner? Is the pizza delivery boy now on your Christmas card list? Are your children free to run a muck as long as no one comes too you bleeding . . .(too badly)? Oh, you feel guilty, but that’s not enough! You still can’t tear yourself away from the book and damned be the consequences! The good new is- YOU ARE NOT ALONE! Fans of the Twilight Series in OUR STAGE of life (whether you’re a mom or not) now have a place where we can gather unashamed of our irrational obsession with vampires and werewolves.” see http://www.twilightmoms.com/About.php). The tagline for their website is “The hand that rocks the cradle rules the world”. Here are a group of grown women who wish to gather unashamed to indulge an obsession that prevents them from fulfilling their daily duties. How must their husbands and children feel? And what kind of example is this setting for young girls? There is something deeper here that needs to be examined.
I maintain that Twilight, in essence, taps into a particular vulnerability in women and then provokes a certain obsessive response. Bella, the protagonist in The Twilight Saga, expresses it very well here:
“Here in his arms, it was so easy to fantasize that he wanted me. I didn’t want to think about his motivations now – about whether he acted this way to keep me calm while we were still in danger, or if he just felt guilty for where we were and relieved that he wasn’t responsible for my death. Maybe the time apart had been enough that I didn’t bore him for the moment. But it didn’t matter. I was so much happier pretending. I lay quiet in his arms, re-memorizing his face, pretending…” Bella in New Moon (p. 490)
Unfortunately, girls grow up in an environment today where there is an increasing obfuscation of their beauty and worth. Purity, graciousness and loveliness are not words commonly associated with young ladies today. No doubt the years of effort on the part of organizations like Planned Parenthood are paying off – young women are being sexualized at such an early age that they have no time to be formed in virtue. In her recent book Chosen and Cherished, author Kimberly Hahn writes, “Behavior fit for a prostitute a century ago now parades across the TV screen: sex with anyone, seductive dress, undignified conversation. In contrast, consider older women you would describe as having godly womanliness. I see in my mother and other older women the following qualities:
a beauty that is attractive and radiant, not seductive and gaudy
a demeanor that is well-mannered and dignified
a disposition that is gentle and mild yet firm and respectful
a posture that is self-possessed and peaceful rather than frantic
a manner that is kind, warm and winsome rather than demanding
a spirit that is sacrificial rather than attention getting
an attitude that is lighthearted about things in general while holding convictions deeply
a heart that is responsive to her spouse and husband without being slavish
The list could go on.” (p.37/38)
We have experienced a drastic decline in the formation of godly women, but of course, nothing that happens to women happens in a vacuum. The entire culture is suffering from an acceptance of the crass as the norm. The explosion of internet pornography use among men and boys is but one indicator. Women and girls can feel like they are in a constantly competitive environment – and the competition is digitally altered images with no needs. Real women are growing increasingly insecure for simply being real. A growing number of girls long to be loved and yet consider themselves so unworthy of love that they truly will do anything and settle for anything to avoid abandonment. The Twilight Saga does absolutely nothing to combat this disturbing trend. In fact, it capitalizes on it very effectively.
Hahn goes straight to the root of the problem facing young women today and makes a very simple statement of fact: “Whether or not you feel precious, God says that you are precious because he made you and he is redeeming you.” She tells a story called “You Are Mine Twice”, in which a little boy whittles a toy boat, loses it one day and then rejoices to find it once again, for sale in a shop window. Even though the shopkeeper insists that the boy pay for the boat, it is no obstacle to him in his quest to possess the boat once more. He reclaims the boat, saying “Now you’re mine twice: First I made you; then I bought you back!” (p.11) Hahn compares this to the love of God for each one of us. The cure for our broken hearted daughters is not to surrender them to a culture that can do no more than apply a topical pain killer to their woundedness. The surface appeal of the eroticism found in The Twilight Saga does just that, and by doing so wounds more completely. The wounds already inflicted by the culture are exacerbated when young women are accompanied on a deeper descent into a spiral of use. These books merely extend the pornographic mentality of which they are both victims and willing participants. This is not the conduct of a young woman who sees herself and others as precious children of God. The only cure for young women today is to lead them into a deeper encounter with Jesus Christ, the Love they are yearning for, Who desires them in spite of their imperfections, Who longs to be one with them, Who will make them whole and from Whom they can never be separated. Ave Crux, spes unica!