I’m not a mother, but I do work with tweens and teens. I’m already very protective of them, and have often wondered how it would feel for a mother to deal with the things I deal with.
One such example – just in case the title of this post didn’t give it away – is the entire Twilight-mania. While I enjoyed reading the story, there were some parts which were a little unsettling and I often wondered how mothers of tweens and teens feel about this entire thing.
I haven’t talked to many mothers (yet), but those I have spoken to seem, oddly enough, totally unconcerned about the mania and how it might sweep away their daughters’ newly acquired rationality (yes, tweens and teens are rational, don’t get me started on it now).
Then I found this: Ode to Edward: One Mom’s Dissent.
I first became aware of Stephenie Meyer’s “Twilight,” a couple of years ago, when I read on a tweens’ blog-hosting site how a number of pre-adolescents would JUST DIE if they couldn’t get more Edward. I read how they LOVED HIM, and cried when they read about him, and thought of his cold lips as they snuggled their cold-sided pillows. And I recall thinking, “What the…?” And I went Googling to see who this guy was, both for the benefit of my daughter and of my young clients. I read reviews of a book that included descriptions like “seductive,” and “intensely passionate.” And it wasn’t long before I started hearing from my then-10-or-11-year-old that her friends were “obsessed” with Edward. Based on the reviews I read, and the fact that I became aware that Twilight was the hottest fiction book on college campuses (no good reason that a book that appeals strongly to 20-year-olds would be suitable for 10-year-olds, I reasoned), I told my daughter she had to wait. At least until I could read the thing and know what the mania was about.
I’m used to being outside the mainstream. Truly, I am. But I’m just scratching my head about the intelligent, responsible, thoughtful parents who think this series (there are three more after Twilight) is a good idea for their children. I’ve read the first two books. I liked them. My daughter asked me, “Did you fall in love with Edward?” I had to think about it. Meyer has a very engaging, even seductive, writing style. I finally answered, “No, but if I were twelve, I would have.”
My biggest concern is that girls with no template, no precedent for romance, take Edward, and Bella’s and his relationship, as something for which to aim. And there’s evidence (message boards, media interviews, Twilight merchandise sales) that indeed, they do. Again, here is a “boy,” about whom the girl’s parents can’t know much; every time she’s in his presence, her life is in danger; the “love” that they share is based initially on his powerful urge to kill her and consume her blood; he stalks her, always watching her — as she has a private moment on a hike in the woods, as she lies in bed sleeping at night. This doesn’t creep her out; to Bella, it’s a sign of love. The two are entirely consumed with one another, to the exclusion of any friends or social life, except that which is required to placate parents.
Read the rest of this excellent post (trust me, it’s well worth the read!) here.