You all knew this was coming. After the debacle that was my initial reaction to teen movie Twilight last year, I just had to go watch the sequel, and review it. The things I do for you people.

Over the past year, the Twilight thing has become a joke with me.  The article remains one of the most read posts in Skepchick history and I am regularly inundated with emails, tweets and comments about some of the strangest stuff that has come out of the Twilight franchise.

I went into the movie fully expecting it to be awful. I was actually looking forward to writing a snarky, funny review, with lots of jokes and mockery of the fans of Twilight and their ilk.  I came out of the movie less smug. I remembered why I had written my original review in the first place. This movie made me sad and angry, just like the last one. Come along on the sparkly adventure to find out why, after the fold.

Hundreds of thousands of teen and tween-aged girls tuned in this weekend. New Moon broke the record for a single-day opening at the North American box office, earning $72.7 million across the United States and Canada on Friday alone.

SPOILER ALERT: If you don’t want to hear about the details of the ‘plot’ (a kind word…), don’t read any further.

When we last left our heroine, Bella, she was dancing with Edward, the 108-year old vampire who could barely kiss her without being consumed with bloodlust and refused to turn her into a vampire herself because she deserved better.

Eddie and Bella are still together at the start of New Moon. Still broody, still hot for each other, still unable to do anything about it. Bella is obsessing over her age and her looks. She turns 18 at the start of the movie and is having nightmares about slowly aging while Eddie remains eternally young and beautiful. She continues to ask Edward to turn her into a vampire and he continues to refuse. Edward, you see, is worried about Bella’s soul. He considers himself damned and doesn’t want the same fate for her.

He has other worries. After an incident where Bella gets a paper cut and the blood drives one of the other Cullen boys into a violent frenzy and he tries to eat her (not making that up, really), Ed decides that perhaps being a human living amongst bloodthirsty monsters may not be the best lifestyle choice for young Bella.

So he leaves. Of course, Bella has no choice in this. Big Ed tells her he’s leaving with his family:

“I don’t want you to come”

They don’t intend for that line to have a double meaning, but it does…

Bella is devastated, of course. She mopes for months and starts having nightmares that she can’t explain. She weeps, she grumps and generally acts like a teenage girl who’s been dumped for the first time.  She also blows off her family and friends, becomes distant and uninterested in anything. She is nothing without Edward but an emo wreck in plaid.

She discovers that if she puts herself in danger, the adrenalin rush makes her hallucinate Edward being there, trying to stop her. Actually, I’m not sure if it is a hallucination. I guess it’s possible Crazy Eddie’s actually stalking her in some supernatural way, to keep an eye on her. Either way, it’s screwy because Bella decides her only option is to put herself in danger as much as possible.

Enter Wolf-Boy, a.k.a. Jacob. Jacob is just about the only thing that makes this movie worth watching, and that’s because he looks like this:

Rawr.

After two movies of pasty and sparkly, Abs… I mean… Jacob is certainly a pleasant diversion. Jacob is an old friend of Bella’s and he’s filled out in wonderful ways. He and Bella get closer, as he helps her rebuild some junk motorbikes. Bella feels better! She has a boy to provide her with a personality and worth again! Yay!

Except, like every other male in this series, he has a DEEP DARK SECRET. (I’m looking forward to the 4th book when we find out that Bella’s father is secretly a leprechaun). Jacob reaches adolescence in a hot, biceppy way, and with it comes the realization that he’s a (dah.. dah… dahhhhhhn….) WEREWOLF.

(Aside: I spent most of the movie after the werewolves showed up going “WHOOOSAGOO’BOYDEN? WHOOO’SA GOO’PUPPYWUPPY? HMMM??” I’m a dog person. I can’t help it. The bigger the dog, the more likely I am to call it a puppy. And these puppies turn into hot-bodied brown boys! All of a sudden, there was not THING ONE wrong with this movie….Ahem.. Ok… except for the evil.. let’s get back to the evil…)

Ok, so… let’s recap. Sparkle-tits is gone. Hot Dog is in. The only problem is, Jacob now has the same problem Edward did. He’s scared he won’t be able to control himself, will get angry and hurt Bella. He introduces Bella to his wolfy pack, the leader of which, Sam, has a human fiance who he attacked in a fit of random rage. The girl still bears terrible scars on her face.

This particular scene was very disturbing to me. And it wasn’t because for some reason the wolves were eating GIANT muffins. (Why muffins? Why GIANT muffins? What the hell?)  When Bella and Sam’s fiancee meet, they refer to each other as the “Wolf Girl” and the “Vampire Girl.” Because I always want to be identified by the male in my life, right? It’s only logical. Please refer to me as “Phlebas Girl” from now on.

Also, Wolf Girl is a textbook case for domestic abuse. She’s horrifically scarred by Sam, but HE LOVES HER. He didn’t MEAN to hurt her. Ugh. It’s awful.

Finally, in one of her adrenaline/Edward-seeking moments, Bella jumps off a cliff. Yep, attempted suicide. Healthy, no? Jacob saves her but not before the Cullen clan sees her jump in a vision and thinks she’s dead. Eddie, in a fit of despair, decides to expose himself as a vampire to humans and therefore kill himself. (There’s a whole big vampire council thing… I won’t go into it; it’s dull).

Bella rushes off to save Edward and, to nobody’s surprise, succeeds. With Edward in place, she has a purpose again; she knows who she is. There’s a whole implausible scene in Italy where she saves him, gets threatened by the Vampire council and survives by offering her own life for Edward’s. It’s not all that important except for two key points: First, Bella is mostly impervious to various vampire ooky powers. They can’t read her mind and Dakota Fanning can’t psychically inflict pain on her. Second, Edward’s sister, who can see the future (and isn’t apparently held back by the same issues that the other vamps are when it comes to Bella), foresees that Bella will be a vampire someday.

In the end, Edward and Bella get back together. He tells her he never wanted to leave her and she forgives him instantly. They return to Forks where they have an encounter with Jacob. The boys have a pissing contest over Bella, Bella tells Jacob not to make her choose, because she loves Edward and will always choose him. Jacob turns into a wolf, almost attacks Edward, then growls and grumps off, presumably to drown his sorrows in a week’s worth of Beggin Strips and Scooby Snacks.

Bella is “happy” to finally have her way. (I think she’s happy. She doesn’t give a lot of facial or emotional cues to help us out.) She’s going to be just like Edward! And be with him forever. And, although Edward still isn’t happy about Bella losing her soul and being damned like him, he grudgingly agrees to eventually turn her. But simply having her forever isn’t enough. In the last lines of the movie, Edward asks Bella to marry him. Because, you know, there’s always the chance that in spite of the fact that she’s willing to give up her life and her soul, that she might still leave. Why buy the bat when you can have the blood for free, and all that?

I maintain: The Twilight series is dangerous. Not because Bella is a brainless, empty, shell of a female character. I don’t have a problem with weak women in the movies. What bothers me is that this tripe is being sold not just as normal but as DESIRABLE. As something that women should aspire to. Young girls around the country are debating whether she should choose Edward or Jacob. Which abuse is better? He’s insanely jealous and stalks me or he can barely control his anger and may physically abuse me at any moment?

In my last review, I compared Twilight to the fairy tales of my youth. Little Red Riding Hood (stay on the path) and Cinderella (work hard and your prince will come) and all the fantasy stories that tried to put women in their place. I was wrong. This series is far worse than anything I was exposed to. The messages behind Twilight? Be weak, let your man protect you. Be careful, don’t get him angry. If he hurts you, it’s your fault. Abuse is part of life. Accept it. If he really loves you, he’ll try not to hurt you but don’t be surprised if he does. You probably deserve it. You are nobody without your man, so don’t bother trying.

This was a terrible movie, with a terrible message. All the hot werewolves in the world can’t change that. But should you stop your daughters from watching it? If they’re eager to watch it, probably not. But know thine enemy. Let them watch it but talk to them about it. Use it as a teaching experience. How often do you get such a prime opportunity to explain what the term ‘dysfunctional’ means? :)

Masala Skeptic

Masala Skeptic

Maria Walters (a.k.a. Masala Skeptic) has spent a lot of time in ‘furrin parts,’ including Hong Kong, Trinidad, and Pittsburgh. Although her passport is from India, she’s spent most of her adult life in the United States. She currently lives in Atlanta and has an unhealthy affection for science fiction, Neil Gaiman and all things Muppet.

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193 Comments

  1. Avatar of bug_girl
    November 23, 2009 at 11:20 am —

    “Sparkle-tits”

    LMAO!

  2. Avatar of Jen
    November 23, 2009 at 11:27 am —

    “Why buy the bat when you can have the blood for free?”

    OMG, Maria, this made my day.

  3. Avatar of exarch
    November 23, 2009 at 11:33 am —

    Aw crap, next come the fan-girls …

  4. Avatar of w_nightshade
    November 23, 2009 at 11:37 am —

    I am a father. My daughter is only 2, but this will rear its ugly head one day.

    THANK YOU FOR WRITING THIS POST.

  5. Avatar of virginskepchick
    November 23, 2009 at 11:38 am —

    good-puppy-uppy….Maria you are soooooo wrong…lol….

  6. Avatar of andyinsdca
    November 23, 2009 at 11:42 am —

    Somewhere I read a review of this movie that had a premise that the chick becoming a vampire (who to let suck her blood, when to do it, etc) was all an allegory for her losing her virginity….

  7. Avatar of Kimbo Jones
    November 23, 2009 at 11:47 am —

    @bug_girl: Seconded.

  8. Avatar of James Fox
    November 23, 2009 at 11:47 am —

    Rock on Masala!! Growing up I spent two weeks every summer in Forks visiting my grandparent’s. It was a fun place back in the day when everyone had a job and the trees were tall until they fell. Now aside from the pathetic mooney tourists Forks is full of unemployment, alcoholism and domestic violence. Funny how art can reflect real life sometimes.

  9. Avatar of sharonf
    November 23, 2009 at 11:49 am —

    Saw it with my 11yo daughter and her 13yo friend. She’s reading the books and enjoys them so wanted to see the film too. I knew what to expect and don’t hate it as much as you but realise it has some seriously messed up messages. But the girls know that; we’ve spoken about how wrong it is to fall for someone who could kill you and how silly to think about nothing at all except the boy you’ve fallen for.
    I liked the council bit; made me think of Tony Blair as head vampire (as explained at the end of my post about the film and other stuff.)

  10. Avatar of Jen
    November 23, 2009 at 11:53 am —

    @sharonf: I think that’s precisely the way to handle this sort of thing with daughters. My own is only four, so no Twilight problems yet, but I’m sure we’ll get to that point. Forbidding them to read/watch something won’t work, but talking to them to make sure they realize what’s going on there is so important. Unfortunately, I doubt if all the fangirls have someone who does that for them.

  11. Avatar of Elyse
    November 23, 2009 at 11:58 am —

    Bella and Edward had to get married so Bella could receive the same health benefits and stock options that the other vampires get. Otherwise she has to wait out the 90 year probationary period AFTER she gets bit.

  12. Avatar of phlebas
    November 23, 2009 at 12:01 pm —

    One thing Maria didn’t mention was that the AC wasn’t working well. After about 30 minutes of a theater filled with heavy tween panting (actually, not just the tweens once Shark Boy took his shirt off), our cries of “Christ, I’m in hell” took on a second meaning.

  13. Avatar of w_nightshade
    November 23, 2009 at 12:05 pm —

    ALSO: The SECOND-best review of Twilight ever (right, Masala?) can be found in several parts at http://www.read-weep.com (it’s like MST3K for books).

  14. Avatar of Steve D
    November 23, 2009 at 12:07 pm —

    OK, I tried googling this but didn’t get anywhere. Is it ever explained why they sparkle? What’s the mechanism? Too much phosphorus in the diet?

  15. Avatar of Tim3P0
    November 23, 2009 at 12:11 pm —

    @Elyse: if only poor Bella was written smarter so she could realize that if she would only give in and let a Canadian Wolf-Boy hump her leg, she would get a green-card and free Health Care and spend her days chasing and fetching hockey-pucks. But apparently the CWBL (or the Canadian Wolf Boy League) aren’t abusive self-loathing pricks like the ones ALL girls seem to only fall for. Le Sigh…

  16. Avatar of Peregrine
    November 23, 2009 at 12:13 pm —

    @Steve: They sparkle because Stephenie Meyer wrote a vampire book without ever seeing more than 5 mins of a vampire movie, or doing any basic research on the vampire mythos aside from what’s available in Wikipedia. In other words, she pulled it out of her ass.

  17. Avatar of James Fox
    November 23, 2009 at 12:20 pm —

    @Peregrine: Wow, pulling sparkly things out of your ass. Now that’s a plot twist.

  18. Avatar of Peregrine
    November 23, 2009 at 12:23 pm —

    @James Fox: It would certainly make the movie a whole lot more interesting!

  19. Avatar of Kimbo Jones
    November 23, 2009 at 12:26 pm —

    @James Fox: Things like this?

  20. Avatar of James Fox
    November 23, 2009 at 12:29 pm —

    @Kimbo Jones: I think I’ll wait till I get home to have a peek. ;-)

  21. Avatar of Kimbo Jones
    November 23, 2009 at 12:32 pm —

    @James Fox: Good idea. :)

    Especially considering the comments on that page (and especially considering the one about cats)…[shudder]

    The curiosity is killing you!

  22. Avatar of Outsider
    November 23, 2009 at 12:33 pm —

    What a great synopsis. Now I can battle the legions of twitards here at my job with inside knowledge! :)

  23. Avatar of Vengeful Harridan (Elexina)
    November 23, 2009 at 12:41 pm —

    Have not read, will not read, have not seen, will not see. Thank you for taking the fall for us -and confirming all of my suspicions… Ick, ick, ick.
    Is the treatment of women really any surprise, though, considering the religion of the author? I may be generalizing, but so be it.

  24. Avatar of Rei Malebario
    November 23, 2009 at 12:42 pm —

    Hmm, my pre-conceived notion of these films was that they were probably lame and embbarassingly stupid. And now I learn that they’re all that and evil too.
    I’m suddenly glad I have no children to drag me to see movies like this.

  25. Avatar of Hysteresis
    November 23, 2009 at 12:45 pm —

    The movie was actually infinitely better than the book. I read the first three reluctantly since my sister seemed so into them and was horrified by not just the droning, juvenile writing, but also the whining, whimpering excuse for a female protagonist. I’m tired of weak female protagonists, but Bella’s the first I’ve ever read who tried hurting herself multiple times in order to get a hallucinatory glimpse of her obsession (in the book it was noted she was hallucinating and Edward was not actually there at all, which somehow makes it even worse)! But at least in this movie (I refused to see the first one, but the presence of Jacob convinced me this one would at least have eye candy) we don’t also hear about Bella’s internal and constant lusting after Edward, and her insecurities about herself without the boys. To be fair, people will sympathize with her feelings of worthlessness and emptiness after a breakup, but to define her character by her neediness and not move on is the danger of the message girls might take away from the books.

    On one hand, I think a lot of the female fans of the books just like the idea of having two hot guys devoted to them (I admit not balking at the idea), who don’t make real-life analogies, which would be harmful and dangerous. It’s the impressionable fans that should be warned. My solution? Let’s find the next, more healthy themed and better written series to get readers excited over!

  26. Avatar of killyosaur
    November 23, 2009 at 12:49 pm —

    I keep thinking that it really is about damn time for another BTVS movie.

  27. Avatar of
    November 23, 2009 at 12:50 pm —

    I agree with everything you just said masala. Twilight is shocking, to adults. However, my friend claire who is a super duper literary person. Maintains that the writer has displayed an ability to really tap into those female teenage forbidden love emotions in a very clever way. This is why the series has been so successful. Although she thinks the books are bullshit, they are well written for the target demographic.

    Not my opinion. I would never watch or read the twilight series. But thought some perspective might be useful.

  28. Avatar of Imrryr
    November 23, 2009 at 12:52 pm —

    @killyosaur: I strongly support this idea.

  29. Avatar of Rhettfairy
    November 23, 2009 at 12:54 pm —

    You realize the following sentence pretty much invalidates this entire review: “I went into the movie fully expecting it to be awful.” Why is it you would criticize a scientist for this kind of attitude, but not a skepchick?

    I unfortunately have a meeting to attend, so I can’t go into lots of detail, but I will say this:

    1) What really irritates me is Bella is NOT a “brainless, empty, shell of a female character”. She doesn’t just blindy follow the men in her life. She makes her own decisions in SPITE of what the men in her life want her to do. She’s an extremely strong character.

    2) Oh, and she wasn’t attempting suicide. She was cliff-diving for an adrenaline rush. Says that right in the movie. Still risky behaviour, but it should be pointed out so it is represented correctly.

    Peace,
    Jason

  30. Avatar of teragram42
    November 23, 2009 at 12:56 pm —

    My daughter keeps telling me about Twilight/ Mooning/ whatever it is. I’ll have to read the book now, drat. Spouse thought it was harmless. Am now second guessing his definition.

    Looking forward to asking her about Edward SparkleTits, though! Thanks for that…

  31. Avatar of Elyse
    November 23, 2009 at 12:59 pm —

    Also, I’d like to complain that I tried to give myself the nickname “Sparkle tits” last December and it never stuck. Now the Vampire and his girlfriend get to steal it? Twilight IS bullshit!

  32. Avatar of Vengeful Harridan (Elexina)
    November 23, 2009 at 1:01 pm —

    @Elyse: I’ll lead a charge to call you that as long as everyone refers to me as McHotterpants.

  33. Avatar of IBY
    November 23, 2009 at 1:01 pm —

    Fangirl rage in 3… 2… 1…
    I will be surprised if none of them come and comment.

  34. Avatar of Masala Skeptic
    November 23, 2009 at 1:05 pm —

    @dacy_ebd: I agree. She is tapping into the female teenage forbidden love emotions. I’m just saying that when she gets there, she’s sending them a very bad message.

    Also, for the record, I have not (and will not) read the books. I will only go so far. This review is solely about the movie, just like my original review.

  35. Avatar of Chasmosaur
    November 23, 2009 at 1:06 pm —

    Okay, so I feel the same way about the Twilight series as Masala, and I went to see the movie this weekend as part of a Girl’s Night Out. I went with:

    * My next door neighbor (age: 39), who likes the books and thinks it’s all just so romantic. Normally, she has much better taste in books.

    * Daughter of above (age: 11), who is not an uber-fan, but a pretty big one. She wore her RPattz/Edward t-shirt and was bouncing around in her movie seat.

    * My neighbor from across the street (age: late 30’s). She hasn’t read the books (I read the first and thought they were horrible on many levels), but, hey, Girls Night Out. (Pretty much my reason for going as well.)

    * The above’s daughter (age:15). I always loved this girl, but now I adore her. She went with friends to Twilight last year, and then went again with this group (minus me, who had to bail at the last minute because of flu). She decided this year she wanted to go with us because we were more fun. Because while she thinks the boys are cute, she thinks the Twilight books are stupid (she only read part of the first one and didn’t like it).

    * My neighbor down the street (age: late 30’s). She was wearing her “I love Edward” t-shirt and had actually already seen the movie on Friday. She also thinks the books are great, which surprises me because she has really good taste in books otherwise.

    Now I tried to be good and hold in my snorts, but I wasn’t completely successful. When Jacob explained why he couldn’t be with Bella, I let go with some uncontrollable giggles. Not only is Bella – the klutzy new girl with no real personality of her own – irresistible to all the regular boys, she is irresistible to the objects of her desire who want her but will manfully resist from even kissing her. Fear of sex, much, Stephenie Meyer?

    Actually, the one thing that kept making me laugh was that Bella DOESN’T DRIVE HER CAR! I think she drove it once or twice – otherwise, either Abs or Sparkly-Tits or one of the Other Abs would drive her home and manfully walk back to their home. Can the girl not even say “I don’t need a ride – I’ve got my OWN CAR AND DRIVER’S LICENSE!” ?

    My only consolation was that this was a movie dedicated to the exhibition of the skin of young men, instead of young women for a change. I kept going “woof!”, not “rawr” ;)

    I told my friends – who were a little miffed I couldn’t hold in all my giggles – that they were welcome to tease me about my Buffy obsession. And that I was neither Team Edward or Team Jacob, but Team Angel. ‘Cause while not the healthiest relationship, at least Buffy admitted it and also would kick Angel’s ass around the graveyard on occasion ;)

  36. Avatar of xinit
    November 23, 2009 at 1:09 pm —

    Did you alert your email provider about this new review going live? Many people could be upset if you manage to take down GMail with the flood of preteen complaints you’re sure to get…

  37. Avatar of ZeroAltitude
    November 23, 2009 at 1:09 pm —

    This is the best review I’ve ever read for a movie.

  38. Avatar of virginskepchick
    November 23, 2009 at 1:10 pm —

    The teen and tween fan girls are probably taking another turn at the movies to see “Moon Me Again Sam”
    I declare….and confess I did pant a little at the abs on that kid…so now…they can add cougar fever to the list of evil they distribute.
    Where’s my dog leash…here puppy…

  39. Avatar of Kimbo Jones
    November 23, 2009 at 1:10 pm —

    @Masala Skeptic: I have read them (oh the things I do to myself). You aren’t missing anything.

    In fact, the end – ’cause I guess in between mixed messages and poorly-veiled Mary Sue fantasies, there was some sort of “plot” – was a major letdown dripping with lame.

  40. Avatar of Rox1SMF
    November 23, 2009 at 1:12 pm —

    Thanks for writing this. Now I’ll know better than to spend $10 just to get all riled up by this dreck when some friend attempts to talk me into “escaping in fantasy” for a few hours.

    What I *have* heard about this saga over the past few years has left me with absolutely no desire to read these books or see any of the movies, and less so since (just recently, because I cared THAT little) I found out that Meyer is a Mormon and her beliefs inform the story. Teen marriages ain’t my idea of morality.

    Happily, I’m extra fortunate to have an 18 year old daughter who gets a look on her face like she smells something bad every time she sees an ad or hears someone talking about Twilight. Gawd, I love that kid :D

  41. Avatar of Tim3P0
    November 23, 2009 at 1:15 pm —

    the only bright side to the dreadfulness of these movies is that the worse the writing/cinematography/acting/music/credits/editing/whatever gets, the more fuel and potential hilarity is given to the eventual Rifftrax commentary (which is the only way one should ever see these movies).

  42. Avatar of Gabrielbrawley
    November 23, 2009 at 1:16 pm —

    I guess abusive relationships with older men are just great. This stuff turns my stomach. I have had several conversations with my daughter about this and I hope they are taking. She wasn’t at all interested in this stuff until all her little friends got her into it. She wants to see the movie and I won’t stop her but I will talk to her about how terrible the relationships are and how incredibly fucking stupid and vapid the Bella character is.

    I am thinking that when I am drug to this so she can see it that I will “Scream with horny ecstasy” everytime all the tweens do. This will be funny. I have a very, very deep bass voice.

  43. Avatar of killyosaur
    November 23, 2009 at 1:18 pm —

    @Kimbo Jones: Speaking of lame and Twilight: http://www.comicsalliance.com/2009/11/12/stephenie-meyer-comic-book-twilight/
    Can’t recall where I got this link originally, may have been on this very site. If it was from this site it is worth repeating.

  44. Avatar of Kimbo Jones
    November 23, 2009 at 1:19 pm —

    @killyosaur: That is just about the most hilarious thing ever.

  45. Avatar of Gabrielbrawley
    November 23, 2009 at 1:20 pm —

    I wonder if showings of Twighlight are the new trolling grounds for child molesters.

    “Hi little girl, I’m an older man and I would be happy to lock you into an abusive relationship where you aren’t allowed to make any decisions. I’ll do all your thinking for you because I ‘love’ you so much. Would you like a ride in my van?”

  46. Avatar of Elyse
    November 23, 2009 at 1:21 pm —

    Oh I almost forgot:

    IF U DNT LICK TWILIGHT THEN Y U KEEP GOIN TO C THE MOVIES? BELLS IS AWESUM AND U SUCK MASALA UR JUS JELOUS THAT ULL NEVER B AS AWESUM AS BELLA N ULL NEVER FIND GOOD LUV LIKE BELLA AND ED HAVE Y DONT U C THAT ITS REAL LUV AND THERE GOOD 4 EACH OTHERS? EDWARD WOOD DO NETHING 4 BELLA N THATS Y HE LEFT N SHE LUVS SO MUCH SHE HAD 2 C HIM. IF U EVER BEEN LUVED U WOOD UNERSAND BUT I BET U NEVER BEN ON A DATE B4 IN YOUR LIF HAHAHAHAHA UR A LOOZER!

    ZOMG I LUV AND WNT JACOB SOOO MUCH HEZ SO HOT. HE JUS CANT HELP HIMSLEF BCUZ HEZ NOT A HUMIN N HEZ N ANAMAL. U WOOD SITLL LUV UR DOG IF IT HURT UR FACE BCUZ IT WAS MAD RITE? I NO U WOOD BCUZ UR ONLY LUV WILL B UR DOG CUZ NO 1 WANTS A LOOZER WHO HATES TWILIGHT!!11!!! HAHAHAHAHAHAHA

  47. Avatar of killyosaur
    November 23, 2009 at 1:22 pm —

    @Gabrielbrawley: I think that only works if the older dude looks like Edward and sparkles.

  48. Avatar of Matto the Hun
    November 23, 2009 at 1:22 pm —

    Masala, thanks for a great, smart and funny review. I think I’ll share this on the FB and see what happens.

  49. Avatar of Gabrielbrawley
    November 23, 2009 at 1:23 pm —

    @Elyse: WTF?

  50. Avatar of Gabrielbrawley
    November 23, 2009 at 1:26 pm —

    @killyosaur: You can buy glitter at any Wal-mart. And it is really disgusting how older adults can take advantage of these tween and young teen kids. Most of the adults range from plain to unattactive. But they play on the kids natural insecurities.

  51. Avatar of killyosaur
    November 23, 2009 at 1:28 pm —

    @Gabrielbrawley: Yeah, I get that, but if they were going to use the exact verbage you proposed, I think they have to be a bit better looking than the average Pedophile. Otherwise the standard techniques apply.

  52. Avatar of Rebecca Watson
    November 23, 2009 at 1:35 pm —

    @Rhettfairy: As I said on my Facebook page when you posted that exact text:

    Actually, I WOULDN’T criticize a scientist for that. Everyone has biases and there’s nothing at all wrong with admitting those biases up front…. Read more

    Interesting to (at last) hear a defense of Twilight not from a weeping 12-year old girl clutching her I ♥ Edward pillow and leaning on the shift key.

  53. Avatar of Dale Husband
    November 23, 2009 at 1:36 pm —

    My wife went to the New Moon movie with her mother, her niece and another young woman. They loved it. I couldn’t have cared less, so I stayed home. Plenty of real drama on the internet and to see on TV, including REAL drama on the news.

    I’d like for art to not only imitate life, but to show how life can be better. Is that too much to ask?

  54. Avatar of Blake Stacey
    November 23, 2009 at 1:36 pm —

    @Elyse:

    Whew! Glad we got that out of the way. Let me see, what else do we have to cover. . . Oh! Of course:

    How can people supposedly dedicated to educating women in the ways of critical thinking disparage Twilight?! You’re alienating a large target demographic! This is intolerably poor framing. These might be the first books some of those girls have ever read of their own free will! No, I’m not being condescending. Why are you trying to turn young women off of reading?

    (Not an exact quote, but yes, I’ve heard all that. I find it a little inconsistent to consider books affecting how their audience reads but ignore their affecting how their audience dates; but what would I know?)

    No Twilight thread would be complete without quoting Robert Pattinson on the subject of the character he plays:

    “The more I read about this guy the more I hated him, so that’s how I played him — as a manic-depressive who hates himself. Plus he’s a hundred-year-old virgin, so he’s obviously got some issues there.”

    If I could get a T-shirt with that on it, I probably would.

  55. Avatar of James Fox
    November 23, 2009 at 1:41 pm —

    @Rhettfairy: Prior probability, used in science all the time.

  56. Avatar of Masala Skeptic
    November 23, 2009 at 1:43 pm —

    @Rhettfairy: I admit I wasn’t going in with an open mind. Having seen (and reviewed) the first movie, I definitely had pre-conceived notions. However:

    a) I’m not doing science here. I’m providing an opinion based on my interpretation of the story.

    b) If you think all science is entirely unbiased, you are wrong. Good scientists identify and factor for their own biases through methods like double blinding. So no, I wouldn’t criticize a scientist for going into an experiment with a pre-conceived notion.

    c) Ok, it wasn’t attempted suicide. It was still stupid and done for extraordinarily stupid reasons.

    d) I’ll give you that Bella was stronger in this movie than in the previous one. But her strength was ONLY to protect her man and only when he was on the line. Never for herself. Even the movie tagline was something like “When you have nothing, you have nothing to lose” which implies that she is nothing without Edward. (She may have even said that a couple of times during the movie).

    Sorry, I’m not buying or seeing the ‘she’s such a strong character thing.’ Feel free to enlighten me…

  57. Avatar of DanielMcL
    November 23, 2009 at 1:43 pm —

    Cyanide and Happiness succinctly express my thoughts on Twilight.

  58. Avatar of Mark Hall
    November 23, 2009 at 1:47 pm —

    Had a 33 year old try to defend these books and movies to me as “It’s ok because they’re in love and its an accident.” Wondering if I’m enough of a masochist to read the books to eviscerate them on the library’s blog.

  59. Avatar of Gabrielbrawley
    November 23, 2009 at 1:53 pm —

    @killyosaur: I would be surprised if any pedo would use any come on even close to what I wrote. I was just wondering if this would become a new hunting ground for older adults looking to pick up young girls. Pedo’s go where the children are. And these children will just have sat through two hours of a show that says being involved with someone who is 90 years older than you and abusive and controlling is a good thing. It is what all girls whould aspire too.

  60. Avatar of Mechphisto
    November 23, 2009 at 1:54 pm —

    Well, Twilight is thuroughly clusterbombed. Now, as the father of an 11-year-old girl who’s a voracious reader and curious about this Twilight mania… what are some suggestions for teen/tween anti-Twilight books I can steer her toward?
    Strong and competent, self-thinking female characters?

  61. Avatar of Masala Skeptic
    November 23, 2009 at 1:56 pm —

    @Mechphisto: I’m a fan of the Harry Potter series, but she’s probably already torn through those. Also, Lemony Snicket’s Series of Unfortunate Events are GENIUS and include very smart, competent female characters. A little dark, but a lot of fun.

  62. Avatar of Gabrielbrawley
    November 23, 2009 at 1:56 pm —

    @Mechphisto: Well Harry and Ron would have died any number of times without Hermione. She was the smartest and most able of the bunch.

  63. Avatar of Masala Skeptic
    November 23, 2009 at 1:57 pm —

    @Mechphisto: Oh, also Neil Gaiman’s Coraline and Terry Pratchett’s Tiffany Aching series (A Hat full of Sky, The Wee Free Men). Great stuff.

  64. Avatar of Kimbo Jones
    November 23, 2009 at 1:59 pm —

    @Masala Skeptic and @Rhettfairy: This is somewhat splitting hairs, but from what I remember of the book (I haven’t seen the movie), although she wasn’t purposely committing suicide, she also didn’t care if she lived. If they kept that question mark in the movie, I could see how someone would interpret her actions as a suicide attempt.

    From the book right after she lands in the water:

    “Fight!” he [spectral Edward] yelled. “Damn it, Bella, keep fighting.”

    Why? I didn’t want to fight anymore. And it wasn’t the light-headedness, or the cold, or the failure of my arms as the muscles gave out in exhaustion, that made me content to stay where I was. I was almost happy that it was over. This was an easier death than others I’d faced. Oddly
    peaceful.

    I thought briefly of the clichés, about how you were suppose to see your life flash before your
    eyes. I was so much luckier. Who wanted to see a rerun, anyway?

    I saw him, and I had no will to fight.

  65. Avatar of Rox1SMF
    November 23, 2009 at 2:01 pm —

    @Gabrielbrawley: That would be YouTube gold… please do record it LOL

  66. Avatar of James Fox
    November 23, 2009 at 2:01 pm —

    @Mechphisto: ‘A Wrinkle in Time’ .

  67. Avatar of Jen
    November 23, 2009 at 2:02 pm —

    @Mechphisto: I plug this author shamelessly whenever this subject comes up – Robin McKinley has written some of the absolute best fantasy books with amazing, strong and smart female characters. Look up The Blue Sword, The Hero and the Crown and Beauty. (Oh, and overlook the fact that McKinley is a homeopath. One of those unfortunate things we have to deal with. Her books are still great!)

  68. Avatar of Gabrielbrawley
    November 23, 2009 at 2:05 pm —

    @Rox1SMF: I never even thought of that, it was more as a way to amuse myself. If I am forced into watching the movie I’ll do that.

  69. Avatar of the fat nutritionist
    November 23, 2009 at 2:06 pm —

    This absolutely slayed me. In a good way. Especially the Beggin Strips.

    Also: I agree with the analysis. However, I do also think that the fairy tales we’re raised on are pretty similar (though, okay, not quite as graphic as the Twilight series.) Still, they present twisted relationships with extreme power imbalances as not only *normal* but as desirable and ROMANTIC. Especially if they’re of the unrequited variety. This isn’t so much promoting love and romance, in reality, as it is promoting what’s known in some psychological literature as “limerence.”

    Anyway. I’m high on codeine cough medicine and blabbing. What I really meant to say was: you cracked my shit up. Hard.

  70. Avatar of phlebas
    November 23, 2009 at 2:08 pm —

    @Kimbo Jones:

    That’s directly out of the book?

    Good lord. Meyer makes Dan Brown look like Dostoyevsky.

  71. Avatar of Rhettfairy
    November 23, 2009 at 2:40 pm —

    Okay… maybe not the best analogy in retrospect. I know science can be biased, but I still contend that I hear skeptics criticize pseudoscientists all the time for biasing their experiments in order to find what they want to find. I hear it on the SGU quite often, as a matter of fact. But I digress.

    You’re right. This is a review, not a … Read Morescience experiment. Still, I think going into a movie with a preconceived notion of how you are going to feel about it is definitely going to color your opinion of it. Just like with my kids convincing themselves they’re not going to like a certain food and trying it and – guess what – not liking it. My eleven-year old daughter was destined to love the movie no matter what the quality of the work. I, being further away from the actual target demographic, thought it was decent but could have been better.

    Part of the problem here is my reading of the books is more than likely coloring my opinion of the strength of Bella’s character. I can’t go back in time and objectively watch the movie having not read the books any more than Masala could go back in time and watch the movies having read them.

    As for the cliff diving incident, teenagers make stupid choices. I made at least one or two when I was a teenager, including some that probably could have killed me. It was completely within her character to do it. And, teenagers often feel helpless and out of control… especially when “love” is involved. If she was only saying that Bella didn’t want to live without Edward, I might be able to see your point; however, Edward feels the same way. And Jacob makes quite an ass of himself as well all for what he thinks is love. That’s what teenagers do.

    Anyway… my bottom line is the Twilight Series is not – in my opinion – “hurt(ing) America” just as much as violent video games and heavy metal music; which is to say, not at all.

    Peace,
    Rhettfairy

    (I love having the same conversation on two different boards)

  72. Avatar of loudlyquiet
    November 23, 2009 at 2:49 pm —

    Having gone thru a break up very recently (though I’m certainly not a teen anymore) where on earth were her friends and family to say HEY! Cookie lets go out to lunch. Lets redecorate your room! Lets go to the movies. Lets go to a concert. Up up up!

    Was/Am I heartbroken and wanting to stay in bed? Yup. Have bad dreams? Yup. Have a feeling of hopelessness? Yup.

    Did my friends and family help a lot? Yup. Where were hers? I mean she has a lot of people around her in the first hour of the first movie (I haven’t been able to finish yet so I don’t know if that changes).

  73. Avatar of Kimbo Jones
    November 23, 2009 at 2:52 pm —

    @phlebas: The best is that right afterwards, Bella starts thinking about Romeo and Juliet. Sledgehammer to the face, anyone?

    Again from the book:

    …I thought about Juliet some more.

    I wondered what she would have done if Romeo had left her, not because he was banished, but because he lost interest. What if Rosalind had given him the time of day, and he’d changed his mind? What if, instead of marrying Juliet, he’d just disappeared?

    I thought I knew how Juliet would feel.

    She wouldn’t go back to her old life, not really. She wouldn’t ever have moved on, I was sure of that. Even if she’d lived until she was old and gray, every time she closed her eyes, it would have been Romeo’s face she saw behind her lids. She would have accepted that, eventually.

    I wondered if she would have married Paris in the end, just to please her parents, to keep the peace. No, probably not, I decided. But then, the story didn’t say much about Paris. He was just a stick figure–a placeholder, a threat, a deadline to force her hand.

    What if there were more to Paris?

    What if Paris had been Juliet’s friend? Her very best friend? What if he was the only one she could confide in about the whole devastating thing with Romeo? The one person who really understood her and made her feel halfway human again? What if he was patient and kind? What if he took care of her? What if Juliet knew she couldn’t survive without him? What if he really loved her, and wanted her to be happy?

    And… what if she loved Paris? Not like Romeo. Nothing like that, of course. But enough that she wanted him to be happy, too?

    If Romeo was really gone, never coming back, would it have mattered whether or not Juliet had taken Paris up on his offer? Maybe she should have tried to settle into the leftover scraps of life that were left behind. Maybe that would have been as close to happiness as she could get.

    I sighed, and then groaned when the sigh scraped my throat. I was reading too much into the story. Romeo wouldn’t change his mind. That’s why people still remembered his name, always twined with hers: Romeo and Juliet. That’s why it was a good story. “Juliet gets dumped and ends up with Paris” would have never been a hit.

    Sorry for such a long quote, but it’s so full of fail I couldn’t pick just one part.

  74. Avatar of SteveT
    November 23, 2009 at 2:52 pm —

    @Mechphisto: My 12yo daughter thinks Twilight sounds stupid (maybe picked up my biases a bit there), and is an absolutely voracious reader. I can heartily recommend the Dealing with Dragons series, by Patricia Wrede, for books having strong female leads. For a slightly younger reader, I really like Igraine the Brave, by Cornelia Funke. Both are also quite enjoyable for adults, as well.

  75. Avatar of Mark Hall
    November 23, 2009 at 2:52 pm —

    @Mechphisto: Don’t know if it’s been mentioned yet, but Diane Duane’s Young Wizard’s series (Starts with “So You Want to Be a Wizard”) is a great series with a strong female protagonist and her male colleague. While their specialties are a little stereotyped (he’s good with machines, she’s good with growing things), neither is presented as being the lesser, and it’s Nita’s story, so she’s usually spotlight.

    I’d also add the Prydain Chronicles by Lloyd Alexander as another favorite. They’re centered around a male character, but Elionwy is a strong character, thinking all the princess things she has to learn are stupid, and tends to deal very well with the fact that Taran is a boy, with all the limitations that implies.

  76. Avatar of Masala Skeptic
    November 23, 2009 at 2:52 pm —

    @Rhettfairy:

    Okay… maybe not the best analogy in retrospect. I know science can be biased, but I still contend that I hear skeptics criticize pseudoscientists all the time for biasing their experiments in order to find what they want to find. I hear it on the SGU quite often, as a matter of fact. But I digress.

    Possibly what you hear is that pseudoscientists don’t account for their own biases when running experiments. They design the experiments poorly so that they get the result they want.

    As for the cliff diving incident, teenagers make stupid choices. I made at least one or two when I was a teenager, including some that probably could have killed me. It was completely within her character to do it. And, teenagers often feel helpless and out of control… especially when “love” is involved. If she was only saying that Bella didn’t want to live without Edward, I might be able to see your point; however, Edward feels the same way. And Jacob makes quite an ass of himself as well all for what he thinks is love. That’s what teenagers do.

    I don’t have any debate with that. As I said, I don’t have a problem with characters who do stupid stuff. I have a problem with this being portrayed as actions that we should aspire towards. That these actions are considered romantic and what love is really about, rather than what they are – dysfunctional and stupid.

    Anyway… my bottom line is the Twilight Series is not – in my opinion – “hurt(ing) America” just as much as violent video games and heavy metal music; which is to say, not at all.

    As I said, the key to this (and any entertainment content that kids are exposed to) is context. All I am saying is that parents should be aware that the content of these movies is not innocent and sweet. And that parents should discuss these things with their kids and not assume that they are simple, innocent love stories. Because they are far from it.

  77. Avatar of Kimbo Jones
    November 23, 2009 at 2:53 pm —

    @Rhettfairy: The criticism of pseudoscientists is due to the fact that they rarely take efforts to eliminate their biases. Bias in an experimenter is not the same as bias in an experiment. It’s the experimentation methods they are criticizing, albeit sometimes with economy of language.

  78. Avatar of Laura W
    November 23, 2009 at 2:55 pm —

    My tween daughter wanted to read Twilight last summer, so I bought a used copy and started to pre-read it. I don’t pre-read everything she wants to read, but having heard a bit about the series (and none of it good), I thought I should give it a glance.

    I got about 100 pages in and had to stop. The combination of the insipid lead characters and the insufferably bad writing style was just too much for me. I had a hunch that my daughter would not like it anyway, so I gave it to her and told her to knock herself out.

    About 50 pages later, she looked up and said, “This book stinks. Why would I want to read about a girl who hates herself so much?” And that about sums it up.

    The fact that she hasn’t read the books and has no desire to see the movies makes her a bit of an outcast among her peers. I think she likes it that way. And so do I.

  79. Avatar of limadean
    November 23, 2009 at 2:55 pm —

    @Mechphisto: Try “The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau Banks.” It’s fantastic.

  80. Avatar of Tim3P0
    November 23, 2009 at 2:56 pm —

    sadly, as long as there are impressionable tween-age girls out there for people like Stephanie to manipulate, it won’t go away. There are so many better things for tweens to look up to and swoon over, then abusive blokes (like the Jacob) or selfish moping douchebags (like Sparkle Tits). thankfully there is Maria and her excellent reviews that will maybe open some of those girls’ minds a little bit, and maybe they will begin to realize that emo-dudes watching them sleep is creepy, not sexy.

  81. Avatar of Masala Skeptic
    November 23, 2009 at 2:56 pm —

    @loudlyquiet: She pretty much refuses to associate with her friends. She’s shown as sitting apart from them in school etc. She does try to get out of it by going to the movies with her friends but for the most part, she pushes them away.

    Her dad tries to help with the nightmares but is so frustrated and worried that at one point, he tells her that he is sending her back to live with her mom because he doesn’t feel like he’s able to help her…

    The friend who helps her get over it is WolfBoy.

  82. Avatar of SteveT
    November 23, 2009 at 2:57 pm —

    @Kimbo Jones: That made made me throw up a little in my mouth. Blechh!

  83. Avatar of wall0645
    November 23, 2009 at 2:59 pm —

    Let me start by saying that Twilight was a bad movie. Bad acting and a bad movie. New Moon, however, was better. Slightly better acting, and a better movie all-around, I think. But, still not all that great of a movie.

    However, a few problems with what you said:

    1. The “double meaning” of ‘I don’t want you to come’. I wasn’t aware that writers were supposed to make sure every line of dialogue only had one meaning. They obviously didn’t intend it in a sexual manner, and I don’t see what the problem is.

    2. “Wolf-girl” is not a textbook case for domestic abuse. In case you didn’t catch it, her injuries were an accident. If your significant other accidentally injured you, it wouldn’t be domestic abuse. It would be an accident.

    3. Bella jumping off the cliff was not attempted suicide. I don’t know how you got that at all. Obviously she wanted another thrill to see another hallucination of Edward, and thought that would be thrilling. She didn’t know it was going to be life-threateningly dangerous, since the boys Jacob knew on the reservation did it frequently. In case you didn’t catch it by watching both movies, Bella’s kindof slow sometimes and lacks common sense.

    4. Edward doesn’t ask Bella to marry him because he wants to lay claim on her or something. He does it because he grew up in the 1900s and that’s how things were done back then, and it was his dream to have a wedding with the girl he falls in love with. But I’ll let that misinterpretation slide, because that isn’t touched on until the third book.

    5. Finally, “The messages behind Twilight? Be weak, let your man protect you. Be careful, don’t get him angry. If he hurts you, it’s your fault. Abuse is part of life. Accept it. If he really loves you, he’ll try not to hurt you but don’t be surprised if he does. You probably deserve it. You are nobody without your man, so don’t bother trying.” I really don’t think those are the messages of Twilight. Most certainly not “if he hurts you it’s your fault”, “abuse is a part of life”, or “you’re nobody without your man”. If you ask ANY of the little girls that watch the movies or read the books what the messages are, I guarantee you you won’t hear those responses.

    Not that I care that much about Twilight. I just don’t like seeing a bad analysis go unchallenged.

  84. Avatar of Masala Skeptic
    November 23, 2009 at 3:00 pm —

    @Tim3P0: To be fair, Jacob is never abusive. He is tormented because he is worried that he will lose control and become abusive. The pack leader, Sam, has already lost control at least once and Wolf Girl’s scars are the evidence.

    Jacob’s character is mostly kind, concerned and helpful. He seems to genuinely care for Bella. He has his fits of jealousy as well but he’s not quite as creepy and stalkery as Edward. And he is worried that he can’t control his new powers but it doesn’t stop him from going after Bella, even though he knows he shouldn’t.

    I can give Jacob the benefit of the doubt because he is SMOKIN HOT….er.. I mean because his character appears to want to help and be there for Bella. My problem really isn’t with him. It’s with her.

  85. Avatar of catgirl
    November 23, 2009 at 3:00 pm —

    Trying to analyze a Twilight movie is like trying to analyze porn. It’s just a way for teenage girls (and plenty of older women), to look at a few sexy men for 2 hours, but in a socially acceptable way. This isn’t the first time that vampires have been sexualized. The abusive relationship is a bunch of crap, but is it really any worse than the relationships portrayed in many other teen movies?

  86. Avatar of Anthony
    November 23, 2009 at 3:03 pm —

    Between books by Dan Brown, Sarah Palin and Stephenie Meyer American literature is really being clobbered this decade. It could take us a good century to recover.

  87. Avatar of Vengeful Harridan (Elexina)
    November 23, 2009 at 3:07 pm —

    I wonder if there is a correlation between people who like Twilight and people who believe in 2012 nonsense or who do not vaccinate their children… Because, anecdotally, I see this around me…

  88. Avatar of Gabrielbrawley
    November 23, 2009 at 3:14 pm —

    @Kimbo Jones: Please, I’m begging you. Please stop it.

  89. Avatar of Northernskeptic
    November 23, 2009 at 3:26 pm —

    gah, I forced myself to watch the first movie in a fit of boredom and then had to try (unsuccessfully) to remove that dreck from my brain. I’ll probably watch this one just so I can tear it apart when my friend who it completely obsessed with the franchise changes her name to Cullen on FB again.

  90. Avatar of Kimbo Jones
    November 23, 2009 at 3:29 pm —

    @Gabrielbrawley: No worries, I think I made my point. I won’t subject anyone to more of that nonsense. :)

    @wall0645: In response to point number 3, see my comment above.

  91. Avatar of Imrryr
    November 23, 2009 at 3:32 pm —

    @Jen: I’ll definitely have to second Jen’s support of Robin McKinley! Her female characters are fantastic! One interesting thing that I didn’t learn until recently was that The Blue Sword was actually written as a response to Edith Maude Hull’s The Sheik. The Skeik’s plot was basically: foolish woman goes off to the Middle East for a life of adventure, she gets captured by a Muslim, raped repeatedly, falls in love with him, and it turns out it’s all cool because the rapist isn’t really a Muslim after all, he’s English! Bam, happily ever after and no more adventures for you, young lady! Sadly, they actually made a silent film based off of that book, and women in the audience went crazy for the handsome rapist dude. Obviously, Twilight isn’t nearly that bad, but I can’t help but be reminded of it when I think of The Sheik.

    So needless to say, McKinley’s version is infinitely superior.. Although, I was amused to hear that according to McKinley, Corlath is intended to look like a young Sean Connery. A Sean Connery whose eyes glow yellow when he gets angry, I suppose :)

    And yeah, the homeopathy stuff is disappointing…

  92. Avatar of russellsugden
    November 23, 2009 at 3:37 pm —

    Comming in late to this (and I’ve yet to see either film), but

    1)does anyone else think that Twilight is popular because it reflects society’s current “roles” for men and women rather than influences them. It reasonate with so many people (I’m told adults love it) because it neatly fits in with exsisting norms.

    2) One dumb-ass film, while it might reflect roles in society, isn’t really going to influnece society.

    3) That children’s observations of the way we as men and women act towards and treat one another and the way we socialise “boys” and “girls” generally has a far greater impact than a couple of dumb films. Hell, 99% of TV shows have the same dynamic as betty and edward

  93. Avatar of Elyse
    November 23, 2009 at 3:38 pm —

    @Rhettfairy:

    Really? Not hurting America at all? This is proof that Twilight is, in fact, the worst thing that has ever happened to this country, and arguably anywhere ever in the history of the entire universe:

    http://craftastrophe.net/2009/02/twilight-fan-recreates-bellas-womb-gag/

  94. Avatar of phlebas
    November 23, 2009 at 3:40 pm —

    @wall0645:

    The “double meaning” of ‘I don’t want you to come’. I wasn’t aware that writers were supposed to make sure every line of dialogue only had one meaning. They obviously didn’t intend it in a sexual manner, and I don’t see what the problem is.

    It is possible to get a giggle out of an unintended double-entendre. Saying “I don’t want you to come” when the books are all about the evils of premarital sex is enough to make some people laugh.

    “Wolf-girl” is not a textbook case for domestic abuse. In case you didn’t catch it, her injuries were an accident. If your significant other accidentally injured you, it wouldn’t be domestic abuse. It would be an accident.

    “Oh, it’s not his fault. He just gets so angry sometimes. It’s really my fault. I know he loves me. I shouldn’t make him hurt me this way. I am so sorry for what I did.”

    An accident would be if he bumped into her and she fell down some stairs. Getting angry enough to turn into a werewolf and maul her face is a serious anger management problem, especially when we see other werewolves control their anger. The fact that she stayed with him after that is… troubling.

    But I’ll let that misinterpretation slide, because that isn’t touched on until the third book.

    I smell a mole. You have read the books closely enough to know Edward’s motivations for popping the question, yet you “don’t care much about Twilight.”

    I agree that the messages you’re complaining about are not what Meyer likely intended. But her backwards views of romance absolutely do lead to Bella behaving in precisely the way Maria described. I don’t know if Meyer is equally fucked in the head or if this is an outgrowth of her devout Mormonism — maybe both.

    But you are an apathetic student of the books — what do you think this message is?

  95. Avatar of phlebas
    November 23, 2009 at 3:42 pm —

    @russellsugden:

    One dumb-ass film, while it might reflect roles in society, isn’t really going to influnece society.

    Two wildly popular dumbass films so far, and four insanely popular books.

    How many does it take before it becomes a bad message?

  96. Avatar of phlebas
    November 23, 2009 at 3:46 pm —

    @Masala Skeptic:

    I’m not so sure. Shark Boy does still bust into her house uninvited to “make sure she’s okay.” And he deliberately misleads Edward on the phone into thinking she’s dead, which lead to the mad dash to Italy and any subsequent fallout.

    He hasn’t behaved quite as creepily as Edward, but he’s been controlling and manipulative.

  97. Avatar of Skepthink
    November 23, 2009 at 3:52 pm —

    Masala Skeptic,

    I share your concern as a woman about the movie, but I think men’s concern should also be observed. For instance, we could simply rephrase a paragraph in your review as follows:

    “The messages behind Twilight? Be a brainless mountain of muscles with a six pack and choose your girl to be a psychologically unstable slut. Be dominant, beat her if you can’t help it. If she gets hurt, it’s not that you should have used your brain or exercise self-control in any way (you can’t, all your muscles are trained on the contrary assumption). Abusing is part of what is expected from you to prove that you are a man. Do it. If you really love her, try not to smash her head but, if it happens, just keep training at the gym and give her even more muscles the next time, until she stops complaining. She deserves it, since she wanted muscles. You are only a man if you have muscles and a girl, so don’t bother having a personality.”

    I agree that the message is terrible for women, but since it is no less terrible for men (although in this case you yourself did seem to like all those six-packs, regardless of their being as bad for men as what you denounce is for women), I would simply say that this is just another bad movie where characters are a caricature and where there was nothing else to be expected. I take it to be simply a rhetorical device in the language of movies (e.g. exaggeration or stereotyping. Darth Vader is not plausible, either, but he’s just cool precisely because of being extremely evil -but also with a far richer personality over the series, that’s for sure).

    In fact, that an epic of submission attracts girls to the cinema is the same as any delusion of violent physical dominance (e.g. Alien VS Predator) attracting boys to the cinema.

  98. Avatar of russellsugden
    November 23, 2009 at 3:58 pm —

    @phlebas: I’ve not read or seen them but fluff like Twilight will be replaced by something else next year.

    I was crazy for starwars when I was a kid, but I doubt the relative power positions of luke and lia influenced me that much and there are plenty of popular books/films with similar dynamics; anything by Jane Austin, Wurthering Heights, French 19thC liturature etc etc.

    I doubt Meyers is saying anything new and radical, if anything it’s the “morality” of the past, the sort of thing we see in “classic” films all the time (hell, Dumbo isracist)

    This is a case of art imitating life.

    I suppose if your (not you personally) view on societal relations is based on a reading of media meta-reality (rather than relation to the means of production) then what “happens” in films etc is more important than the everyday interactions between people. How you talk to your partner everyday has more impact than one film.

  99. Avatar of Rhettfairy
    November 23, 2009 at 4:06 pm —

    @Masala Skeptic:

    Possibly what you hear is that pseudoscientists don’t account for their own biases when running experiments. They design the experiments poorly so that they get the result they want.

    I thought that’s what I said.

    I have a problem with this being portrayed as actions that we should aspire towards. That these actions are considered romantic and what love is really about, rather than what they are – dysfunctional and stupid.

    This is a work of fiction, not a self-help book. Where does it say, either in the movie or the book, that this is what we are to aspire? I didn’t think that was the point of works of fiction, usually. Often there are books that try to make a grandiose point about life – I don’t think this is one of those; I think you’re reading too much into Stephanie’s intentions; I’m pretty sure she was just telling a story. I don’t recall ever seeing her in an interview saying “okay, little girls… this is who you want to be.” Correct me if I’m wrong.

    All I am saying is that parents should be aware that the content of these movies is not innocent and sweet.

    So you admit “Twilight is hurting America” is a bit of hyperbole? If parents aren’t paying attention to what their children are reading, it’s not Twilight’s fault. I’ll make the analogy again: this whole Twilight backlash just reeks of the outraged parents when heavy metal music became popular. If your child is so messed up that music or a series of books can lead them to emulate the characters therein, you’ve got bigger problems.

    One final note: Jacob is my least favorite character. I think he’s petty and vindictive and manipulative. She flat out tells him “no” several times, and constantly wants more than Bella is able to give him. That, too me, is NOT being a good friend.

  100. Avatar of phlebas
    November 23, 2009 at 4:09 pm —

    @russellsugden:

    Oh good. It will be a lot easier on parents if they don’t have to care what movies and books their kids are exposed to. I don’t know why everyone seems to think parenting is tough.

  101. Avatar of marilove
    November 23, 2009 at 4:09 pm —

    @Rhettfairy:

    So you admit “Twilight is hurting America” is a bit of hyperbole?

    Are you new here?

  102. Avatar of Masala Skeptic
    November 23, 2009 at 4:12 pm —

    @Rhettfairy and others. I promise I’ll respond to your comments tonight after work. But one thing I want to clarify: The whole ‘Twilight is hurting America” is from my original post, which was, in turn, a nod to Jon Stewart’s comment on Crossfire last year. It was definitely meant to be tongue in cheek.

    http://politicalhumor.about.com/library/bljonstewartcrossfire.htm

  103. Avatar of Rhettfairy
    November 23, 2009 at 4:12 pm —

    @marilove:

    Why, yes… yes I am. I just registered today. I’m a big fan of Rebecca and the SGU, but don’t visit blogs as often as I would like. Rebecca posted this on Facebook, which is why it caught my eye.

  104. Avatar of wall0645
    November 23, 2009 at 4:13 pm —

    An accident would be if he bumped into her and she fell down some stairs. Getting angry enough to turn into a werewolf and maul her face is a serious anger management problem, especially when we see other werewolves control their anger. The fact that she stayed with him after that is… troubling.

    Again, you wouldn’t know this without reading the movie, but Sam (the “abuser”) was the first of this generation of werewolves, and wouldn’t know how to control it by himself. He is the reason the other wolves can control themselves. I would call this an accident. And they even say in the movie it was an accident. Hypothetically, if you turned into a monster and weren’t able to control yourself, and hurt somebody you cared about, you’d call it an accident, wouldn’t you?

    I smell a mole. You have read the books closely enough to know Edward’s motivations for popping the question, yet you “don’t care much about Twilight.”

    I admit I’ve read the books. But there are a lot of books I’ve read that I don’t “care about”. I read them all once, because other people I knew were reading them. Call me a mole if you want but I assure you I am not some Twilight fanboy (are there such males?) trying to stick up for his favorite book. I just don’t like people making conclusions that aren’t supported by the evidence. Call me… skeptical? :)

    I agree that the messages you’re complaining about are not what Meyer likely intended. But her backwards views of romance absolutely do lead to Bella behaving in precisely the way Maria described. I don’t know if Meyer is equally fucked in the head or if this is an outgrowth of her devout Mormonism — maybe both.

    Agreed. Though I don’t think little girls that read/watch this will follow suit.

    But you are an apathetic student of the books — what do you think this message is?

    Hmm. I’m not a big fan of finding “messages” in crappy fiction. However, if there were messages, I’d say… “True love exists” (The smell of Bella’s blood is “special” to Edward, akin to “true love”) or… “friends are important” (Bella’s friendship with Jacob saved her from her depression, and throughout the movie she wants to keep that friendship alive even though she loves somebody else. Very noble, imo) or… “family is important” (Bella constantly cares a lot about her family/father). There is also a lot about being selfless. Bella initially goes to live with her father so her mother can be happy. Stuff like that.

    Let me clarify myself. I don’t think anybody should read these books, including little girls. They are just bad works of English literature. People should be reading stuff that’s better written. But, if people do read these books, I don’t think they’re going to be more susceptible to domestic abuse, or be weaker people. They’re just books. I also am against drawing conclusions that aren’t supported by the evidence. A lot of the stuff complained about was quite a stretch.

  105. Avatar of Kimbo Jones
    November 23, 2009 at 4:21 pm —

    @russellsugden: It’s true that this is a cultural phenomenon that will probably fade with time like anything else, but it doesn’t make the current Cullen-gasms any less disturbing. Rarely before have I seen such bizarre behaviour – people changing their last names to Cullen on FB, people selling/buying products that go well beyond the typical movie tie-in of a doll or poster (thinking specifically of the shadow wall decal meant to portray someone stalking the person as they sleep), girls asking RPattz to bite them, etc. Clearly there’s *some* “effect”, even if it’s temporary.

  106. Avatar of russellsugden
    November 23, 2009 at 4:36 pm —

    @Kimbo Jones: From what I’ve seen it’s been about 1% of the Bru-ha-ha that was caused by Lord of The Rings.

    The biggest popular thing at the moment seems to be a computer game called “Call of Duty” that everyone is banging on about.

    From what I can gather the main problem is that the male/female roles are straight out of hollywood 1920-1980 and because that’s popular with kids (brought up on current TV with it’s identical gender-roles, who knew?) some liberals are getting their collective knickers in a twist.

    As I see it Buffy/True Blood/Twilight is no different from Wendy’s/Burger King/McDonalds. It’s all garbage, slightly differing garbage to suit slightly differing tastes to be sure, but garbage nonetheless. And designed to satisfy an exsisting appetite not something that creates an appetite.

    Oh and what about suspension of disbelief? I’d be more worried about kids thinking vampires are really rather than some vampire who acts like their great-grandfather.

  107. Avatar of marilove
    November 23, 2009 at 4:37 pm —

    @Rhettfairy: Yeah, not everything here is SUPER SERIOUS!, especially in regards to Twilight.

    But for the record, I don’t know how far you’re going to get arguing about how sexist Twilight is (and it is) with a bunch of women who have to deal with this shit every day.

    YOU may not think that a man stalking a woman, or hurting her because he just can’t control himself around her, is abusive, but, I assure you, it is.

  108. Avatar of marilove
    November 23, 2009 at 4:40 pm —

    @russellsugden: Buffy and True Blood are far different from Twilight. True Blood has its own issues with the women, though it’s still world’s better (they have personalities, for one), but Buffy as a character is strong and can take care of herself, unlike Bella. They aren’t really comparable.

  109. Avatar of Kimbo Jones
    November 23, 2009 at 4:46 pm —

    @russellsugden: My point was not about the amount of broohaha, but the nature of it. I don’t recall LOTR having creepy Gollum wall decals that stare at your precious. We’re talking about this specific piece of garbage today – and I don’t agree that they all fall into the same category. That’s the point of looking deeper.

    Also, “liberals”? Come on.

  110. Avatar of gwenny
    November 23, 2009 at 5:06 pm —

    LOL this reminded me of the time my then 14 yo daughter was at a retreat with me and this older man (40s?) kept hitting on her. I came up in time to hear her say, “I consider breaking your arm an appropriate way to say no a third time.” He didn’t bother her again.

    I suspect that even if she were the right age, she would not want to see this.

  111. Avatar of Blake Stacey
    November 23, 2009 at 5:19 pm —

    @Kimbo Jones:

    That’s. . . even worse than I had anticipated.

  112. Avatar of Ali Marie
    November 23, 2009 at 5:25 pm —

    @ Mechphisto

    Anything by Tamora Pierce, but especially her Tortall sequence (Song of the Lioness quartet, Wild Magic quartet, Protector of the Small quartet, Trickster duo, and Beka Cooper series). All of her main characters in that series of quartets follow strong, independent young women. They’re extremely well-written books. Also, all the main characters are about as opposite of Bella as possible. Alanna and Kel (along with Hermione from the Harry Potter series) pretty much defined who I wanted to be.

    Pierce’s other sequence, the Circle universe, is also really good, and three out of the four main characters in that one are girls as well.

    Also, I second @Mark Hall and @Jen about the Diane Duane and Robin McKinley books. Either of those authors have fabulous series, with very strong, independent female protagonists.

    I will admit to having read, and even liked, the Twilight series the first time through. For whatever reason, Meyer’s really got inside my head when I was 14. However, re-reading them was like attempting to re-read the Eragon series. They’re written really poorly. And they aren’t that interesting. I’m not actually sure why I liked Twilight the first time. It certainly wasn’t for Edward or Jacob… I never found either of those ideals attractive.
    Also, I had several other friends who used to love Twilight, but are now disgusted by it the second or third time around. Most of the crazy fan-girls grow out of it, in my experience. I’m not saying that that makes the abuse in the books excusable, but I don’t think that there are as many girls who are going to take Bella as a model for their life.

    Course, I assume that most people are also rational and capable of thought. That may not be accurate.

  113. Avatar of xinit
    November 23, 2009 at 5:51 pm —

    Isn’t the actor who plays Jacob 16 or 17?

    Isn’t there a name for someone in their 30s or 40s who lusts after a teenager?

    I’m just asking questions…. :)

  114. Avatar of phlebas
    November 23, 2009 at 5:55 pm —

    @xinit:

    Isn’t there a name for someone in their 30s or 40s who lusts after a teenager?

    “Dreamer” :)

  115. Avatar of Gibbles T. Chimp
    November 23, 2009 at 7:17 pm —

    I have a good friend who is in her mid-thirties, attractive and super smart (ABAP programmer extraordinaire) but is absolutely NUTS for this Twilight thing.
    She got a chuckle out of this when I sent it to her, and it provides a good synopsis of the books for those of us who will never read them.
    Enjoy:
    http://lucylou.livejournal.com/566295.html

  116. Avatar of Masala Skeptic
    November 23, 2009 at 7:58 pm —

    @wall0645:

    1. The “double meaning” of ‘I don’t want you to come’. I wasn’t aware that writers were supposed to make sure every line of dialogue only had one meaning. They obviously didn’t intend it in a sexual manner, and I don’t see what the problem is.

    I didn’t mean that they intended it in a sexual manner. I meant that the double meaning was accurate and (I thought) sort of funny. Edward doesn’t want her to express her sexuality. She can’t when she’s with him, because he may lose control and eat her and he doesn’t want her to with someone else because… well, you know, the crazy jealousy etc.

    2. “Wolf-girl” is not a textbook case for domestic abuse. In case you didn’t catch it, her injuries were an accident. If your significant other accidentally injured you, it wouldn’t be domestic abuse. It would be an accident.

    Her injuries were the result of her boyfriend ‘losing control’. I’m saying there’s an analogy to be made. Someone mentioned that in the book, it’s clearer that Sam had less training or whatever and so he couldn’t help it. I’m just talking about the way it was portrayed in the movie and it was, at least on the surface, a situation where he lost control, hurt her, and she stayed because he didn’t mean it. It’s not like he accidentally wrecked a car…

    3. Bella jumping off the cliff was not attempted suicide. I don’t know how you got that at all. Obviously she wanted another thrill to see another hallucination of Edward, and thought that would be thrilling. She didn’t know it was going to be life-threateningly dangerous, since the boys Jacob knew on the reservation did it frequently. In case you didn’t catch it by watching both movies, Bella’s kindof slow sometimes and lacks common sense.

    Kimbo handled this one early. I get the adrenaline thing, sure. But she was also deeply depressed and it’s a pretty fine line between dangerous behavior and suicidal tendencies.

    4. Edward doesn’t ask Bella to marry him because he wants to lay claim on her or something. He does it because he grew up in the 1900s and that’s how things were done back then, and it was his dream to have a wedding with the girl he falls in love with. But I’ll let that misinterpretation slide, because that isn’t touched on until the third book.

    Yep, in the movie, it was just ‘marry me.’ I don’t have a problem with marriage; I do have some concerns with a 108-year-old proposing to an 18-year old and it being considered romantic and appropriate…

    5. Finally, “The messages behind Twilight? Be weak, let your man protect you. Be careful, don’t get him angry. If he hurts you, it’s your fault. Abuse is part of life. Accept it. If he really loves you, he’ll try not to hurt you but don’t be surprised if he does. You probably deserve it. You are nobody without your man, so don’t bother trying.” I really don’t think those are the messages of Twilight. Most certainly not “if he hurts you it’s your fault”, “abuse is a part of life”, or “you’re nobody without your man”. If you ask ANY of the little girls that watch the movies or read the books what the messages are, I guarantee you you won’t hear those responses.

    If you asked me about Little Red Riding Hood when I was a kid, I wouldn’t tell you that it an allegory for what happens if you have sex too early. That doesn’t mean it wasn’t an allegory warning women that if you consort with strangers, you’ll get killed and your throat torn apart.

    I am not saying that Twilight is broadcasting these messages. I’m saying that there is an undercurrent of very dysfunctional behavior here that is being portrayed as good and romantic. Edward’s stalking, Sam’s anger, Jacob’s over-protection and jealousy – these are all bad things that are portrayed as a normal part of romance and love. And young girls are easily impressed, as the box office results indicate.

    Not that I care that much about Twilight. I just don’t like seeing a bad analysis go unchallenged.

    I think you care about it more than you say :) And I am happy to agree to disagree…

  117. Avatar of Masala Skeptic
    November 23, 2009 at 8:01 pm —

    @russellsugden: You know what’s funny? You had a similar opinion last year, when I wrote about the first movie! (http://skepchick.org/blog/2008/12/why-twilight-is-hurting-america/#comment-41371)

    I think your opinion that it will blow over in a year would be true if there weren’t 4 books in the series. We’ve got this to deal with for at least 2 more years… :)

  118. Avatar of Masala Skeptic
    November 23, 2009 at 8:08 pm —

    @Rhettfairy:

    I thought that’s what I said.

    I think the distinction is between bias in the experiment vs bias in the experimenter. Good science is about removing bias from the experiment because it’s pretty impossible to remove it from the experimenter.

    I have a problem with this being portrayed as actions that we should aspire towards. That these actions are considered romantic and what love is really about, rather than what they are – dysfunctional and stupid.

    This is a work of fiction, not a self-help book. Where does it say, either in the movie or the book, that this is what we are to aspire? I didn’t think that was the point of works of fiction, usually. Often there are books that try to make a grandiose point about life – I don’t think this is one of those; I think you’re reading too much into Stephanie’s intentions; I’m pretty sure she was just telling a story. I don’t recall ever seeing her in an interview saying “okay, little girls… this is who you want to be.” Correct me if I’m wrong.

    I’m not saying Stephanie Myers is intentionally trying to educate girls. I’m saying the popularity of the movie and the fact that it romanticizes dysfunctional behavior gives a warped perspective of romance.

    Girls want romance and love
    Twilight says romance and love = dysfunctional, abusive guys
    Girls think dysfunctional, abusive guys are romantic.

    I’m aware it’s a HUGE generalization and there are plenty of commenters on this thread who have talked about their daughters who don’t buy into it. I’m saying the popularity of the movies makes me worry that this is happening.

    So you admit “Twilight is hurting America” is a bit of hyperbole? If parents aren’t paying attention to what their children are reading, it’s not Twilight’s fault. I’ll make the analogy again: this whole Twilight backlash just reeks of the outraged parents when heavy metal music became popular. If your child is so messed up that music or a series of books can lead them to emulate the characters therein, you’ve got bigger problems.

    Geez. That’s not what I mean at all. I’m not saying that this movie is going to destroy children! In fact, I encourage parents to let their kids watch it, if they want to watch it. I’m just saying that they should discuss it with their kids as well and make sure they understand what the messages are that are being sent!

    One final note: Jacob is my least favorite character. I think he’s petty and vindictive and manipulative. She flat out tells him “no” several times, and constantly wants more than Bella is able to give him. That, too me, is NOT being a good friend.

    Ok, I’ll buy that. I may be blinded by the hot :)

  119. Avatar of Masala Skeptic
    November 23, 2009 at 8:10 pm —

    @xinit: Person of taste and distinction? :)

  120. Avatar of Jen
    November 23, 2009 at 8:15 pm —

    @Imrryr: Yes, I remember reading McKinley’s comments on the origin of the Blue Sword. She specifically says she wrote it in a half-mad reaction to the ridiculously weak and boring female character of The Sheik. Maybe someone will write something half as good as a reaction to Twilight. :)

    Oh, and another good book with a great heroine – Gaiman’s Coraline!

  121. Avatar of Jen
    November 23, 2009 at 8:26 pm —

    I kind of think it’s a shame that so many readers seem to be missing the humor of this article, because it’s really, really funny. I mean – “I’m looking forward to the 4th book when we find out that Bella’s father is secretly a leprechaun.” Maybe I’m just easily amused.

  122. Avatar of Howard
    November 23, 2009 at 8:33 pm —

    I wasn’t going to comment on this thread, because it’s way outside my areas of interest, but then I remembered reading about Strigoi when it was still in post-production.

    Strigoi is a low-budget indie film from British writer-director Faye Jackson, filmed in contemporary Transylvania with a Romanian cast and crew, and based on the actual Transylvanian superstitions about the strigoi, better known in the West by the Czech word “vampyr.”

    I haven’t seen this movie yet, and it’s still on the festival circuit, so no DVD release that I know of. But from what I’ve seen and read of it, it looks like a nice antidote to the stupid sexy-time vampires of Anne Rice, Stephanie Mayer, and countless imitators. (Also, killer soundtrack in the trailer. I’d watch it just for the music.)

    From the trailer, it looks like there are a few “undead” walking around, although it’s hard to tell. Belief in vampires (strigoi, vurdolak, etc.) is one of the most pernicious superstitions in the world today, leading to everything from the mutilation of corpses to beatings to burning the elderly alive. The film is billed as a horror-comedy, but this could potentially be a vampire film for Skeptics to sink their teeth into.

    (I’d go to Hell for that horrid pun, but, you know . . . .)

  123. Avatar of Masala Skeptic
    November 23, 2009 at 8:34 pm —

    @Jen: Aw. thanks, Jen! It means a lot; you never know how humor is going to go down.

    I am officially bummed, though. One of my Facebook friends had the *best* explanation for the giant muffins and I wish I had thought of it: They’re STUD MUFFINS. HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA….*gasp* HAHHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA….

  124. Avatar of Elles the Vampire Slayer
    November 23, 2009 at 8:57 pm —

    My feelings regarding Jacob in a nutshell.

    Twilight: Pedophilia
    New Moon: Suicide

    It just keeps getting worse.

  125. Avatar of Shadow Of A Doubt
    November 23, 2009 at 9:10 pm —

    @Masala Skeptic: How does Little Red Riding Hood give that message? I’m just struggling to see how granny getting swallowed whole by a strange wolf could mean that! Although I had an English teacher who would have appreciated the sexual interpretation of apparently innocuous stories.

  126. Avatar of Masala Skeptic
    November 23, 2009 at 9:29 pm —

    @Shadow Of A Doubt: There are plenty of sources that cover it but at a high level, it’s the whole ‘don’t stray from the path,’ metaphor which can mean simply don’t go into the woods, or taking it further, don’t stray ‘morally.’ The wolf is a predator, dangerous, masculine etc etc.

  127. Avatar of prettybabies
    November 23, 2009 at 9:45 pm —

    Brilliant post. Thank you for writing it! I think as long as we continue to push back against these messages, we can keep them in check. It’s when they go unquestioned and unchallenged that they become dangerous.

    I saw the movie, and laughed my butt off the whole time.

    Added you to my feed reader. :)

  128. Avatar of Shadow Of A Doubt
    November 23, 2009 at 9:48 pm —

    @Masala Skeptic: Hm, I worry about reading too much into stories. For instance I could claim that one message of the short story “A Sound Of Thunder” by Ray Bradbury is “don’t stray from the path” and by extension…

    But anyway thanks for answering, and I would like to echo the appreciation of the humour in the post.

  129. Avatar of Howard
    November 23, 2009 at 10:56 pm —

    Holy Cow! I’m generally a good person, but on the pretense of being a Good Boy I went to see if there were any illegal torrents of Strigoi out there, so I could provide a review as an antidote to Twilight: New Moon, and there aren’t any. So props to Faye Jackson, et al, for limiting access to this pre-release movie.

    OTOH, I can’t imagine a UK-Romania co-production showing up in my local multiplex anytime soon, and a Region 1 DVD release seems even more remote. Dang. I need to see this movie. Someday.

  130. Avatar of Noadi
    November 23, 2009 at 11:04 pm —

    Great review! If you haven’t read it yet you should check out Roger Ebert’s review of New Moon, I’m not sure who was snarkier you or him.
    http://rogerebert.suntimes.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20091118/REVIEWS/911199998

  131. Avatar of Riayn
    November 23, 2009 at 11:13 pm —

    @Jen: @Mechphist: And if your teen is really into vampires then Robin McKinnley has a great vampire story – Sunshine which is far superior to Twilight. Might be a bit old for tweens though, so might be best to read it before passing it on to make sure you are happy with them reading it.

  132. Avatar of "Other" Amanda
    November 23, 2009 at 11:17 pm —

    @Elyse: Look, alright – you’re already a Skepchick – stop making all the COTW-worthy comments, already!!

  133. Avatar of James K
    November 24, 2009 at 12:03 am —

    A good review Masala, a fun read. I was actually hoping you’d post this since i was hoping to see some fangirl rage.

    Sometimes its better to light a flamethrower than curse the darkness.

  134. Avatar of csljr1j
    November 24, 2009 at 12:27 am —

    @MasalaSkeptic
    I have to disagree with you – the books are much better story than the movies could possibly be; just because the movies allow you to ‘see’ inside Bella’s head, all of her thoughts, not just those revealed in the movie ‘voice-overs’ (if they did the book justice if would probably be a 24-30 hour movie). There is no way you would enjoy the series if you haven’t read the books to get the complete point-of-view. I understand not wanting to bias your review against the movies with ‘prior knowledge’ but I would highly recommend you actually read Twilight and New Moon now that you have seen the movies; to get a full appreciation of the stories.

    And just to state this; I am a guy who read the books and loved them. They are at the core a romance story; a “Romeo and Juliet” set with mythical creatures. As a guy, originally I wanted nothing to do with them, but my sister encouraged me to read them. I was drawn in to the ‘history’ behind the wolves and the vampires – there is infinitely more than all of the ‘lame’ things you pick on in your articles.

    Sorry for being so passionate about this, but I did really enjoy the books and feel your articles do not present the full view of the Twilight universe, just a distorted half-truth from the POV of someone who has only seen the movies, and even then didn’t ‘understand’ them

  135. Avatar of spellwight
    November 24, 2009 at 12:29 am —

    I’d like to point out here (as I did in my own blog) that the actor playing Wolf Boy is only 17 you dirty dirty girls.

  136. Avatar of daedalus2u
    November 24, 2009 at 12:44 am —

    Just to be a stickler for details about the real physiology involved, it isn’t an adrenalin rush, it is the low nitric oxide delusional state.

    If it is severe enough, it is euphoric too. It also primes people (especially women) to attach to whoever “rescues” them, or even to the perpetrator when he stops beating her. That is the physiology behind Stockholm syndrome and why abused women can’t leave their abusers. It is because they “love” him.

    Sorry, I find it offensive too, but your genes don’t care. Our female ancestors who were able to survive and cope with brutal evil males had more descendents than those who did not. Some of them coped by attaching to abusive males. I can’t fault decisions people make in the heat of the moment when they have no other choices. I do fault abusive males and those who tolerate and enable them.

  137. Avatar of gbCerberus
    November 24, 2009 at 1:14 am —

    I’ve already had two arguments with my girlfriend (of 2.5 years) about Twilight and I don’t intend to have another. She’s emotionally attached to the series yet isn’t completely blind. She recognizes that Edward is flawed in some respects, namely ripping out Bella’s car engine.

    I’ve voiced my complaints, strongly, about how the book is anti-feminist. She accuses me of trying to ruin something for her. When I insisted there was emotional abuse thick and throughout the series, she called me emotionally abusive for trying to convince her of my points. Should I just leave well enough alone? Kill her with kindness? Break up with her? (Over Twilight? Pssh.)

    We settled things with the understanding that we don’t have to like the same things. I still don’t see how this accomplishes anything. Yet, I don’t see how fighting with her will affect the cultural impact of the series, which is my real beef.

    I’m just concerned that she’s caught up in it.

    Any help is appreciated.

  138. Avatar of Aristothenes
    November 24, 2009 at 3:29 am —

    @russellsugden: I’d give Buffy another pass. A major portion of that show’s appeal was that it had a cast of such empowered, self-reliant, sensible-in-love-and-war women of multiple sexual persuasions, and it’s kind of become a feminist and LGBT touchstone for just that reason. In fact, a feminist blogger put together a fun little mashup illustrating the huge gulf (one might go so far as to say regress) and finally dealing with that creepy sparkly stalker as they should have : Buffy deals with Edward.

    Sometimes genre fiction doesn’t suck :-D

  139. Avatar of Steve Thoms
    November 24, 2009 at 4:33 am —

    I’m not chiming in on this anymore than to offer a quick anecdote.

    I teach music.

    7 of my students are girls, aged 10-12.

    6 of them want to learn the music from those two stupid movies.

    The other one wants to learn Let it Be and Imagine.

    Guess which 6 students I don’t look forward to seeing?

    (They also went and bought the chord/tab books for the music…..which means I kinda HAVE to learn them now!)

  140. Avatar of phlebas
    November 24, 2009 at 7:10 am —

    @csljr1j:

    So you’re saying that the Bella in the books isn’t a weak-willed woman who can’t function without her man? That she did not want to throw away her whole life for him barely weeks after they met? And Edward doesn’t sneak into her room and watch her sleep, or play his psychological games for her “protection”?

    ‘Cause I think you’re wrong. I’ve only read the first book, and thought the movie was a faithful adaptation. You are the first person I’ve seen claim this second movie is not just as faithful to its source — and if the Bella and Edward and Jacob in the books were so fundamentally different from the movies, the outcry would be deafening.

  141. Avatar of Masala Skeptic
    November 24, 2009 at 7:32 am —

    @csljr1j: That may be the case. I haven’t read the books (although I’ve heard tell that her character is just as milksop in the books…)

    I had a *lot* of people last year tell me that I couldn’t speak to this without reading the books. My point is simply that there are plenty of people, including the Twilight demographic, who will watch the movie without reading the books. The movies should stand on their own and should be able to take criticism on their own because there are plenty of scenarios where it will be watched without the context of the books.

    I’m giving my opinion based on that.

  142. Avatar of Masala Skeptic
    November 24, 2009 at 7:32 am —

    @spellwight: And…? :)

  143. Avatar of Masala Skeptic
    November 24, 2009 at 7:36 am —

    @gbCerberus: If your girlfriend is strong, independent and a critical thinker in most situations, it’s not that big of a deal that she has a weak spot or guilty pleasure for these books. I don’t think it’s a case of you needing to save her from teh evil :)

    If, on the other hand, she hands your relationship in such a way that it mirrors the relationships in Twilight or expects it to, you may have a bigger problem. But it doesn’t sound like that’s the issue.

    I wouldn’t get upset over it; express your opinion, use humor where you can and hold your ground. But honestly, if she’s holding her ground on her opinion in spite of what you think, that’s a positive thing (and not at all what Bella would do) :)

  144. Avatar of Rhettfairy
    November 24, 2009 at 8:19 am —

    @Masala Skeptic:

    Thank you so much for a wonderful, respectful discussion. It was quite enjoyable. Sorry I missed the obvious tounge-in-cheekness of the “hurting America” thing (I loved watching Jon on that show). I was working on no sleep yesterday, so I’ll blame my obtuseness on that. :)

    I’ll definitely have to make it a point to come around here more often. This is a fun forum.

  145. Avatar of Rhettfairy
    November 24, 2009 at 8:28 am —

    @marilove:

    But for the record, I don’t know how far you’re going to get arguing about how sexist Twilight is (and it is) with a bunch of women

    I really wasn’t trying to “get” anywhere. I just enjoy debating at any possible moment. I certainly wasn’t trying to convince anyone that they needed to love Twilight. I save the attempted mind-changing when debating anti-vaxxers and truthers and the like. :)

    YOU may not think that a man stalking a woman, or hurting her because he just can’t control himself around her, is abusive, but, I assure you, it is.
    Really? With the straw man? :P I was not defending any of the characters’ actions (except maybe Bella’s; I still think, as a character, she’s a lot stronger than a lot of people give her credit for). The other poster was addressing specific actions. I was simply pointing out that it’s a work of fiction – no more and no less. And no work of fiction should be taken as a “how-to” book by anyone. Which is where the parents come in.

  146. Avatar of Kimbo Jones
    November 24, 2009 at 8:32 am —

    @csljr1j: I’ve posted some of Bella’s thoughts above. Those were insipid enough and they weren’t even the reams of pages of her going on about Ed looking like a model and being/looking/smelling “perfect”. Oh wait “perfect” is an adjective in the first book. New Moon: I mean they were insipid enough without her going on about how Ed doesn’t want her (despite the fact that he leaves for the very same reason she left her dad in the first movie/book – clue in, Bella).

    The movie is better for avoiding her (i.e., Smeyer’s) thesaurus-less, self-loathing thoughts.

  147. Avatar of Kimbo Jones
    November 24, 2009 at 8:55 am —

    Just reread the passage above – yup, she managed to sneak in “Ed doesn’t want me” there too.

  148. Avatar of Jen
    November 24, 2009 at 8:56 am —

    @Riayn: Wow, I can’t believe I mentioned Robin McKinley’s work as an alternative to Twilight and forgot to mention Sunshine. I guess it was because I was thinking about recommendations for young girls, and Sunshine isn’t strictly a young adult book. But you’re right – it’s an excellent, original vampire story with a great heroine.

  149. Avatar of Rhettfairy
    November 24, 2009 at 9:03 am —

    @Mechphisto:

    It’s been a while since I read it, but I seem to remember The Looking Glass War series being appropriate for 11-ish and up.

    Also, the character of Holly Short in the Artemis Fowl series is one of my favorite female characters of all time.

  150. Avatar of virginskepchick
    November 24, 2009 at 10:16 am —

    wall0645 says:
    Let me start by saying that Twilight was a bad movie. Bad acting and a bad movie. New Moon, however, was better. Slightly better acting, and a better movie all-around, I think. But, still not all that great of a movie.

    I disagree, It was slow and cumbersome and the script was that of a soap opera.

    1. The “double meaning” of ‘I don’t want you to come’. I wasn’t aware that writers were supposed to make sure every line of dialogue only had one meaning. They obviously didn’t intend it in a sexual manner, and I don’t see what the problem is.

    Oh come on! Of course they meant it as a double meaning…are you saying that this script passed executives and censors and no one got that? Nonsense

    2. “Wolf-girl” is not a textbook case for domestic abuse. In case you didn’t catch it, her injuries were an accident. If your significant other accidentally injured you, it wouldn’t be domestic abuse. It would be an accident.

    Oh yeah your mate accidentally turns into an animal and scars your face. You should chance that one more time.

    3. Bella jumping off the cliff was not attempted suicide. I don’t know how you got that at all. Obviously she wanted another thrill to see another hallucination of Edward, and thought that would be thrilling. She didn’t know it was going to be life-threateningly dangerous, since the boys Jacob knew on the reservation did it frequently. In case you didn’t catch it by watching both movies, Bella’s kindof slow sometimes and lacks common sense.

    She did know. She knew that if she threatened her life that Edward would appear. She knew it because Edward made her promise not to be wreckless. Wreckless translates into life threatening.

    4. Edward doesn’t ask Bella to marry him because he wants to lay claim on her or something. He does it because he grew up in the 1900s and that’s how things were done back then, and it was his dream to have a wedding with the girl he falls in love with. But I’ll let that misinterpretation slide, because that isn’t touched on until the third book.

    Hmmmm interesting

    5. Finally, “The messages behind Twilight? Be weak, let your man protect you. Be careful, don’t get him angry. If he hurts you, it’s your fault. Abuse is part of life. Accept it. If he really loves you, he’ll try not to hurt you but don’t be surprised if he does. You probably deserve it. You are nobody without your man, so don’t bother trying.” I really don’t think those are the messages of Twilight. Most certainly not “if he hurts you it’s your fault”, “abuse is a part of life”, or “you’re nobody without your man”. If you ask ANY of the little girls that watch the movies or read the books what the messages are, I guarantee you you won’t hear those responses.

    It is such a subtle message that we convey to youngsters. The toys with which they play…guns and GI joes…BTW isn’t it interesting that GI Joe is always pushed during wars?
    Barbie Dolls that become women who are now seeking to adjust their bodies to look like those dolls 45 years later…..So I don’t buy that these messages go unattended by young minds…if anything they are absorbed by them.

    Not that I care that much about Twilight. I just don’t like seeing a bad analysis go unchallenged.

    I can’t stand not to challenge a challenge…*smile*

  151. Avatar of infinitemonkey
    November 24, 2009 at 10:42 am —

    It me, it seems like the moral of the story is:

    When chosing between two abuses, go with the psychological, the scars are easier to hide.

    What a lovely story. WOMAN! KNOW YOUR ROLE!

  152. Avatar of Rhettfairy
    November 24, 2009 at 12:32 pm —

    @virginskepchick:

    Oh come on! Of course they meant it as a double meaning…are you saying that this script passed executives and censors and no one got that? Nonsense

    Well, I have one of the dirtiest minds I know, and I have to admit that I didn’t attribute that meaning to it at the time. So it’s possible it was just unfortunate writing.

  153. Avatar of Vengeful Harridan (Elexina)
    November 24, 2009 at 12:39 pm —

    “I don’t want you to come”? I’m pretty sure I would have snickered uncontrollably at that. But then, I snicker uncontrollably about pretty much anything that is even remotely an innuendo.

  154. Avatar of Masala Skeptic
    November 24, 2009 at 12:41 pm —

    @Rhettfairy: @virginskepchick: For the record, I don’t actually think the movie intended that line to have a double meaning. I inserted a double meaning to make a point – it was true in many ways. And. it made me giggle :)

  155. Avatar of Pippi
    November 24, 2009 at 1:32 pm —

    I read the book. I read all four books (dear daughter was reading them as well*) and I kept thinking that they HAD to get better…that they WOULD get better, that at least, at some point they would reach the level of “kind of crappy but entertaining” like Steven King books tend to be.

    Trust me, reading the books would not make the movies any better. I do not even see much appeal as a guilty pleasure – but I was of the generation that voraciously consumed VC Andrews novels – now those were some fun and trashy guilty pleasures!

    *The day she said “of course Buffy was better, mom” was accompanied by a HUGE sigh of relief.

  156. Avatar of Bookitty
    November 24, 2009 at 2:07 pm —

    Yeah, I’m late to the party. Sorry, any dip left?

    My niece (13) is one of the major joys in my life. But it wasn’t until she recommended the Twilight series that we became close. Prior to that our twice-yearly emails were polite and perfunctory.

    I went into the series expecting bad writing and vampire goofiness, came out filled with an unholy rage. How dare this twit take the worst from Buffy and turn it into propaganda! It honestly scared me that my niece was mooning over some emo stalker.

    Since then we’ve had many conversations about how a good relationship is NOT dramatic. She’s been so receptive that now we just trash the series for fun.

    I’ll be seeing her later today, she just saw the film and I can’t wait to refer to “sparkle-tits.” Thanks!

  157. Avatar of csljr1j
    November 24, 2009 at 8:22 pm —

    @phlebas
    and
    @MasalaSkeptic
    Admittedly I am not a guy who know much about love – no real practical experience with it; however I have read stories with romance in them – Romeo and Juliet, 12th night, The Odyssey, and many others. In all the ‘classic literature'; Love is painted as a force for which one moves mountains; as in Odyssey when the Greeks go to war with Troy all over a woman (and why Paris took Helen in the first place). Love also sacrifices for the person who is loved; 12th night, Viola falls in love with the Duke and yet still woos Olivia for him. Finally, in Romeo and Juliet, believing his love to be dead, Romeo kills himself; Juliet upon awakening repeats the process – the idea of not being able to live without your love. I have not seen this in real life, but I have seen widows and widowers both act like Bella did in New Moon – retreating into themselves, shunning contacts with their friends; dead to the world in all but fact. I believe this shows that Bella truly loved Edward – not just a schoolgirl crush, but the love two soulmates share, seeing as she was dead to the world for months.

    Also, in the book (not shown on screen except for a brief glimpse and unless you read the book you wouldn’t have recognized it for what it was); when Edward say it will be as if he never existed; the Cullens went through her room/house and removed all evidence of Edward – all the photos of him (not just the one they showed Bella placing in the scrap-book; but all of them – the prom photos, etc…), all the notes they ever wrote each other; the stereo system from her truck because they gave it to her, etc… I believe that would be even more a reason for Bella to just ‘zone out’ of life – even a widow still has the photos of her husband to remember him by; the letters they wrote to each other. It seems to me that Bella’s reaction is completely logical (in the books – the movie doesn’t explain everything)

    @KimboJones I have to disagree with you about those passages you posted – they are elegant and ‘angsty’ like most of the great classics I have read – you can feel Bella’s pain at the thought of Edward having left her. Also, isn’t it true that young women are often insecure about themselves (don’t know since I’m not, and have never been, a girl) – she would find it easy to doubt that Edward could love someone as ‘fragile’/pathetic as her – he is invulnerable to anything except fire; he sparkles like diamonds in the sun (which the movies did not do justice to at all); he has the charm and courtesy of a man from an earlier century (literally), unlike say Mike Newton. Up against him, any high school age woman would probably feel inadequate/not enough for him – I know I don’t compare to him at all, and I’m a guy.

    Sorry to bring this up again; but I do feel like you are not doing the series justice without examining the books – the movies are ok; but they are enriched so much more if you read the books too.

  158. Avatar of Kimbo Jones
    November 24, 2009 at 9:55 pm —

    @csljr1j: The difference here is that Romeo and Juliet is a tragedy, not an idealized romance marketed to young girls.

    Some young women are insecure about themselves, some aren’t – it’s a matter of personality. Anyway, if his presence makes her feel inadequate as a person, is that healthy? Normal? The book unfortunately shies away from exploring these feelings more deeply.

    Right after Bella essentially gives up on life, there is no coherent self-reflection – SMeyer only comes up with a grandiose and superficial comparison of Bella’s situation (R&J) and only for foreshadowing. What would have been more commendable is some reflective analysis on Bella’s current rock-bottom state. And I don’t mean in a boring academic way unsuitable to the intended audience, but a way that conveys a positive and supportive message about break-ups and passionate relationships.

    This character has crippling pathological depression (not a normal response) and SMeyer missed an opportunity to treat that seriously…or even with a little depth. Sure it’s not Smeyer’s responsibility, necessarily, to do that – but it probably would have made her book less trashy and I might have actually been able to recommend it.

    (Yes, I have read all of the books. I don’t criticize what I don’t know.)

  159. Avatar of Gabrielbrawley
    November 24, 2009 at 10:10 pm —

    @Kimbo Jones: Romeo and Juliet were also within a year of age, weren’t in an abusive relationship and was a fucking masterpiece of literature.

  160. Avatar of Indigo
    November 24, 2009 at 10:10 pm —

    2. “Wolf-girl” is not a textbook case for domestic abuse. In case you didn’t catch it, her injuries were an accident. If your significant other accidentally injured you, it wouldn’t be domestic abuse. It would be an accident.
    Let’s say you have a friend, and your friend lends you his car. While you’re out driving the car, the brakes fail and you’re in a bad accident. You survive, and your friend admits to you that there’s no way to reliably fix the brakes – maybe you can drive the car again safely and maybe you can’t, no one knows for sure. Your friend no doubt didn’t mean to hurt you and feels guilty and all that, but that doesn’t mean that if he offers to lend you the car again, you should take him up on his offer (even if he’s very hurt that you don’t trust him). Whether they “mean to” or not doesn’t alter the fact that staying with someone who has physically hurt you in the past and might very well do so again is a bad, bad idea.

  161. Avatar of Gabrielbrawley
    November 24, 2009 at 10:15 pm —

    @Indigo: Oh hell, that is a long way their is an easier way “Baby, I couldn’t help myself. It was an ACCIDENT, you know I love you but damn sometimes you are such a bitch. I don’t mean to hit you, I really don’t I can’t help myself, it was an accident. If you didn’t make me so angry it wouldn’t happen”

    It is funny how the accidents never happen with someone who can kick their asses. Only with people who are smaller and weaker.

  162. Avatar of daedalus2u
    November 24, 2009 at 11:21 pm —

    As a guy who has experienced being in love (and if you are not sure you have been in love, you haven’t been in love, it is very different than loving someone). The relationship doesn’t sound like “being in love” to me. They all sound like pathological dysfunctional relationships, the kind that most people have, but fictionalized because real people don’t act that way. In other words dysfunctional relationships don’t end up happily ever after except in fiction.

    What these tween girls (girls, not women) are imagining, is what kind of hardships they would do for “true love”. In real love, you don’t have to subject yourself to tortuous situations and hardships. Guys (and women) who are capable of actually really loving someone, won’t exploit you the way that these people did. If someone does exploit you, they are a jerk or a bitch and you need to dump them ASAP because they are not going to change. Beauty is skin deep, being an asshole goes all the way to your core.

    When you love someone, you put their needs ahead of your wants. You don’t have “accidents” that hurt and maim your SO. That is so clearly an indication of an abusive relationship.

    In general, when two people have a “good” relationship and one of them dies, the other can get over it and move on in their life. When two people have a pathological relationship; the death of one of the parties is much harder to recover from. The reason is, following a good relationship, the grieving party knows they had a good relationship, grieves for the relationship that they had, and can get over it. Following a pathological relationship, the grieving party grieves for the crappy relationship that they had, but also grieves for the perfect relationship they imagine they could have had if the person had lived, but now because the person died, that perfect relationship can never happen.

    That is the “perfect” relationship that Bella was grieving for when she threw herself off the cliff. Clear proof that what she had was a pathological attachment, not real love.

  163. Avatar of Tina
    November 25, 2009 at 12:05 am —

    I’m going to out myself (to most, but not all) that I enjoyed the books. I think the movies are pretty poor, but I’m picky about casting from books and acting ability.

    I began reading the series knowing that it was written by a Mormon woman, so I had a negative bias from the beginning.

    Just like Maria mentioned, this is hardly different from the “damsel in distress” fairy-tales that I have been raised with. Do they reflect my personal views, or my ideas on romantic dynamics? Not really…. But the Twilight books were readily available to me in a time when I needed a brainless escape, and could get sniffley over an angsty love story. It was perfect for that. Not unlike a home-maker with her soaps or novellas.

    I can’t, and don’t want to, defend Mrs. Meyers’ general writing ability. And I don’t much care for her variety of vampire mythology/fantasy. I, too, noted the vapidity of Bella’s character, and the ridiculous relationship she had with Edward… but I just picked out the parts of the series that I did like, and focused on that…….. like porn, right? ;)

  164. Avatar of csljr1j
    November 25, 2009 at 1:26 am —

    Just one comment about the ‘maiming’ – it is the equivalent of the Hulk (from what I understand; I’ve never read the comic series). The instant you transform, the animal (the wolf) asserts its instincts. Since the transformation is initiated by anger, the wolf is angry as soon as it ‘emerges.’ An angry threatened animal lashes out; it takes a moment of adjustment before the human can assert control over the instincts, and during that instant Sam attacked – not deliberately at all (and not consciously). It’s in the book but they didn’t give the explanation in the movie

  165. Avatar of exarch
    November 25, 2009 at 5:03 am —

    This is fuckin’ awesome.
    Last time, we had teenage girls defending creepy stalker pedophiles who break into your bedroom to watch you sleep “because it’s just oh so adorably cute how much he loves her“.

    Now we have people defending a guy who slapped around his girlfdriend so she had to be hospitalized “because he just couldn’t help himself, he got angry and she was in the wrong place at the wrong time“.

    I wonder f book three is going to find an adorably cute way to make rape somehow seem not bad and actually romantic, you know, because he loves her and deep, deep down she probably wants to say yes.

    It’s baffling how these twilight books are making every form of abuse acceptable, and even desirable. Absolutely baffling …

  166. Avatar of phlebas
    November 25, 2009 at 8:16 am —

    @csljr1j:

    The instant you transform, the animal (the wolf) asserts its instincts.

    And that makes it okay to stay with him? He might get angry about ANYTHING, then kill his girlfriend? “I know he loves me, but that flat tire made him so angry, and he just AIEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE…. *cough*…”

    Besides, WolfJacob seemed to recognize Bella. They all did — walked right past her, even looked at her. That one superviolent wolf found her passed out in the forest, and carried her safely back.

  167. Avatar of meow117
    November 25, 2009 at 8:32 am —

    I am a twilight saga fan, but I certainly recognize your points, Maria. I guess I hadn’t thought about what it might suggest to teens (I’m 30 and have no children… don’t plan to) and hadn’t realized just how much of a hit it was with them until recently!
    From my perspective, I had the ability to identify with Bella, as I had, as a teen, a passionate, nonsexual, love who broke my heart. Bella’s plight was a reminiscence for me. I think the girl-with-no-self-worth-without-her-man is a reflection of the author’s experiences and that of many girls/women. It’s unfortunate, but true. Again, I had never thought about it from the point of view of teaching the impressionable kids, but I just hope they get enough positive empowering input from those around them, and that they are trained/able to think critically like you and make sense of things for themselves.

  168. Avatar of Kimbo Jones
    November 25, 2009 at 8:52 am —

    @csljr1j: Ok, so objectively is the Hulk safe to be around? Isn’t he selfish for seeking a relationship with someone knowing that he turns into a raging beast that would put them at serious risk? I refer you to this episode of Buffy.

    Anyway, not a fair comparison because:

    @phlebas: Later in the books, the wolves are conscious of who they are and what they are doing. They have conversations with each other etc.

  169. Avatar of Kimbo Jones
    November 25, 2009 at 8:56 am —

    @exarch: Wait til book 3… not quite rape, but definitely some “no means no” issues.

  170. Avatar of exarch
    November 25, 2009 at 9:14 am —

    @Kimbo Jones:

    I was in fact joking, but considering the track record of the books/films thus far, it’s actually not surprising …

  171. Avatar of Kimbo Jones
    November 25, 2009 at 10:08 am —

    @exarch: I know I promised not to, but just to back up my point before someone says I’m exaggerating…from book 3:

    “N -” I started to object, but it was too late.

    His [Jacob's] lips crushed mine, stopping my protest. He kissed me angrily, roughly, his other hand gripping tight around the back of my neck, making escape impossible. I shoved against his chest with all my strength, but he didn’t even seem to notice. His mouth was soft, despite the anger, his lips molding to mine in a warm, unfamiliar way.

    I grabbed at his face, trying to push it away, failing again. He seemed to notice this time, though, and it aggravated him. His lips forced mine open, and I could feel his hot breath in my mouth.

    Acting on instinct, I let my hands drop to my side, and shut down. I opened my eyes and didn’t fight, didn’t feel . . . just waited for him to stop.

    It worked. The anger seemed to evaporate, and he pulled back to look at me. He pressed his lips softly to mine again, once, twice . . . a third time. I pretended I was a statue and waited.

    Finally, he let go of my face and leaned away.”

    [shudder]

  172. Avatar of Kimbo Jones
    November 25, 2009 at 10:11 am —

    Although she does punch him in the mouth afterwards, which is pretty satisfying…though she breaks her hand doing it and doesn’t hurt him at all, further illustrating the gross physical dichotomy and preventing him from having any immediate consequence for essentially assaulting her.

  173. Avatar of phlebas
    November 25, 2009 at 10:24 am —

    @Kimbo Jones:

    Later in the books, the wolves are conscious of who they are and what they are doing. They have conversations with each other etc.

    I don’t understand. So during book 2, they aren’t aware of who they are? Why didn’t they attack Bella when they came across her and Laurent? Why did Shark Boy stop when she got between him and Cedric Diggory at the end?

  174. Avatar of exarch
    November 25, 2009 at 10:55 am —

    A little advice for Bella:
    at all times, carry a wooden and a silver stake around …

  175. Avatar of exarch
    November 25, 2009 at 10:59 am —

    @phlebas:
    Why did Shark Boy stop when she got between him and Cedric Diggory at the end?

    Because unlike the hot dogs from sparkle-tits, sharkboy was able to apply some self-control? And a bit of a fish out of water?

    Actually, IIRC padfoot wasn’t exactly in control either. But he did go through great lengths to make sure he didn’t hurt anyone while in his uninhibited state …

  176. Avatar of Kimbo Jones
    November 25, 2009 at 11:01 am —

    @phlebas: Sorry I worded that in a misleading way. In book 2 they are aware, but this is described in further detail in the later books when some of the story is from Jacob’s perspective.

  177. Avatar of Amanda
    November 25, 2009 at 11:05 am —

    @Kimbo Jones: Blergh, that is completely revolting.

  178. Avatar of phlebas
    November 25, 2009 at 11:13 am —

    @exarch:

    Actually, IIRC padfoot wasn’t exactly in control either. But he did go through great lengths to make sure he didn’t hurt anyone while in his uninhibited state …

    Noooooo no no no. Padfoot was completely out of control. He almost ate Harry and Hermione until (I think — it’s been awhile) Buckbeak got involved.

    Thanks for injecting some better young adult books into the Twilight thread :)

  179. Avatar of phlebas
    November 25, 2009 at 11:15 am —

    @Kimbo Jones:

    Gotcha. So that makes things look bad for Wolf Girl, since her dude did have some self-awareness but mauled her anyway.

    Looking forward to hearing the story from Jacob’s POV. I wonder if Shark Boy can narrate with the same flat, listless tone that Kristen Stewart has mastered. (Yeah, she’s going to be a GREAT Joan Jett.)

  180. Avatar of Masala Skeptic
    November 25, 2009 at 11:19 am —

    @phlebas:

    Noooooo no no no. Padfoot was completely out of control. He almost ate Harry and Hermione until (I think — it’s been awhile) Buckbeak got involved.

    Actually, you’re both wrong. Padfoot was 100% safe (well, as safe as Sirius was at the best of times). Mooney was the one who was out of control. Lupin had no control over himself when he turned, which is why he relied on Snape’s potions to prevent him from completely turning every month.

    Don’t be bringin’ in the Potter if you don’t know what you’re talkin’ about, yo… :)

  181. Avatar of phlebas
    November 25, 2009 at 11:33 am —

    @Masala Skeptic:

    HA! Right, right. Mooney, not Padfoot. exarch beguiled me :)

  182. Avatar of exarch
    November 25, 2009 at 11:46 am —

    Also, shark boy and Diggory were never after the same girl. Sharkboy and Ron however …

    I assume were talking about sparkle-tits when you said “sharkboy”?

  183. Avatar of phlebas
    November 25, 2009 at 12:05 pm —

    @exarch:

    No no no. Before he became Jacob, Taylor whatshisface was one of the leads in “Shark Boy and Lava Girl.”

    (And Sparkle Tits and Cedric Diggory were the same guy.)

    Lava Girl was played by a girl named Taylor Dooley, which must have been confusing on set. And now I understand Shark Boy is dating Taylor Swift. He’s got to have a bit of an identity crises by now.

  184. Avatar of daedalus2u
    November 25, 2009 at 12:07 pm —

    The “damsel in distress” fairy tales have a useful purpose. Girls growing up in societies where they had no rights needed to learn coping skills that would let them survive abusive relationships with abusive men. Blaming yourself for your man beating you is a useful coping strategy when you have no other options. When there are no battered women’s shelters, no social services, no police to deal with domestic abuse, no hospitals, no antibiotics, then a woman is on her own and needs to placate her abusive spouse, usually by having sex with him.

    In their historic context, fairy tales that taught women how to survive as a submissive piece of property were very important. In some parts of the world they are still important. When women are killed to satisfy the “honor” of their male relatives, women need to cope with reality as it is, while working to change it for the better.

    I didn’t realize that SMeyers was Mormon. That kind of makes sense. In some Mormon sects Bella would be seen as too powerful and too uppity to be a respectable Mormon woman. Making a choice about sex on her own, and not have it dictated to her by her father or church may be SMeyer’s idea of radical feminism, even if it is a bad choice.

  185. Avatar of exarch
    November 25, 2009 at 1:06 pm —

    @phlebas:
    … Sparkle Tits and Cedric Diggory were the same guy …

    Frak me, you’re right.

    Anyway, I thought sharkboy was Viktor Krum.

  186. Avatar of Invader
    November 26, 2009 at 1:49 am —

    @csljr1j:

    That’s a terrible analogy, The Hulk goes out of his way to protect Betty Ross, while Sam still beats his wife up in his big doggie form.

  187. Avatar of Invader
    November 26, 2009 at 2:17 am —

    @csljr1j:

    That’s a terrible analogy, The Hulk goes out of his way to protect Betty Ross, while Sam still beat his wife up in his big doggie form.

  188. Avatar of backfatbuddies
    November 30, 2009 at 9:27 pm —

    I’ve wondered how they will handle on film the whole Jacob forcing himself on her thing. Among a small group of woman in our late 30’s/early 40’s, we’re talking about how this book is going to finally push us into starting Women’s Leadership programs among Girls. Like at at 12. When it could maybe make a difference.

  189. Avatar of Ben-jammin Radford
    December 1, 2009 at 11:26 am —

    I’m late to the discussion, having been buried under mountains of work, but I wanted to toss in my two cents. I agree with much of the post, with the notable exception of the following premise, for which I see little evidence:

    “this tripe is being sold not just as normal but as DESIRABLE. As something that women should aspire to… The messages behind Twilight? Be weak, let your man protect you. Be careful, don’t get him angry. If he hurts you, it’s your fault. Abuse is part of life. Accept it. If he really loves you, he’ll try not to hurt you but don’t be surprised if he does”

    I’m not sure that the storyline from an obviously fictional vampire movie is being “sold” to young women (and Twilight audiences specifically) as a lifestyle that “women should aspire to.”

    Why would a situation in a movie have any relevance to real life? Does anyone think that young women’s real-life romantic choices are actually being influenced by films like Twilight? If so, where’s the evidence? Why is a vampire film believed to contain any “message” to women or society, any more than a science-fiction film, or any other fictional entertainment?

    I have the same issue with the recent “controversy” over the new film Precious… it’s the story of a young obese Black girl who is repeatedly raped by her stepfather in the hopeless inner city. Critics have complained about its negative, stereotyped depiction of Black families, as sending the wrong “message” to audiences. But, like Twilight, it’s just a movie, just a fictional story. It’s not meant nor intended to represent real life, so it seems to me that blaming it for the “wrong message” is missing the point….

  190. Avatar of Masala Skeptic
    December 1, 2009 at 8:05 pm —

    @Ben-jammin Radford: You’re right. It is fiction and the author and filmmakers aren’t forcing you to believe or think anything. But it is being marketed heavily to young women and it portrays the Bella-Edward relationship as romantic and beautiful and a positive thing.

    And the evidence is clear in the number of girls and women who read and watch this series and hold it as an epitome of what love should be. It is marketed as a great romance or a fairy tale. These stories do have power and influence, and fairy tales do influence our perception of romance and life. (Wonder why I love shoes? Watch Cinderella … :))

    As for evidence, check out some of the Twilight fan sites for plenty of it. Here’s an example I pulled after about 30 seconds of searching:

    Name: Jeena
    Age: 17
    Country: India
    Twilighter since? October 13, 2008

    I live in India. And I had no idea about Twilight, as in what it is and honestly i always hated reading books and thought they were just a waste of time. Twilight movies haven’t been and most probably not going to be released in India, so obviously I was unaware. One day, my friend came up and told me about this movie, And I was like okay. One day,I had nothing to do and i was sitting in the library and came across the magical Twilight. i decided to give a read because my friend had been all mad about it. As i began reading i just went on and on and on and didn’t realize it had been 5 hours in the Library. I finished the book and immediately bought New Moon. I went home and kept reading and reading in my room locked. I must have cried hours when Edward left and Mum thought I was under depression. I finished it in a day and went down and bought Eclipse. I started reading again, in the bathroom, even in the school hiding it away. My mid term was the next day but I had been so mad that i couldn’t just couldn’ t. I kept reading and toatlly was unprepared for my exam and nearly passed and throughout the term i was reading Breaking dawn. I havee seen the Movie atleast not less than 78 times on DVD since it did not release here and I have read the series at least 14 times. But I just keep reading it again and again coz I somehow feel so connected to bella and i don’t care if they don’t release the movies here, I will watch it I don’t know how, but I will. I lovee twilight and I hope one day I will find my Edward.

    You can argue as to whether influences or messages are intentional on the part of the filmmakers and writer. You can argue that the message and the strength of it is very dependent on the individual and I’d agree with it. But you can’t deny that the influence and message is there…

  191. Avatar of Ben-jammin Radford
    December 1, 2009 at 9:07 pm —

    Wow, that young lady needs some, um, help! :-)

  192. Avatar of nanahuatzin
    December 3, 2009 at 11:25 am —

    mmmhhh.. maybe the series need to add a mix of anime….

    In the TV series Inuyahsa, the boy has a dog spirit, and can became dangerous (he kills monsters with his hands for breakfast)… He even has dog ears…

    but in this case, his ex girlfriend put on him a magic necklace…. and gave the power to control it to the heroine of the series.

    So when the girl says “sits”,… he sits !!!

    Also… she has a very hot temper… so she use it often…

    I remember a scene when she throwed a stick and said… “go for it”…

    Inuyasha jumped for the stick, before realizing what he was doing… it was very funny..

  193. Avatar of exarch
    December 4, 2009 at 9:02 am —

    @Ben-jammin Radford:

    Ben, as Maria noted in her response, it didn’t take her that long to find this (perhaps one of the more extreme) example. This type of response to Twilight certainly isn’t isolated. Lots of teenage girls seem to think a twisted relationship like the one in the Twilight is romantic. Certainly, in my opinion, the author believes it to be.

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