twilight-saga.jpgOver at Patheos today, WJK author Elaine Heath has posted a persuasive essay on the troubling messages that Stephenie Meyer’s Twilight novels send to girls and women. Issues Heath raises in her 2011 book The Gospel According to Twilight are:

  • Edward’s controlling and manipulative behavior
  • Rosalie’s rape at the hands of a fiancee who was “overcome with desire for her beauty” (way to blame the victim, Stephenie Meyer!)
  • Jacob’s creepy “imprinting” on the toddler Renesmee, an obsession that in other contexts we would call pedophilia, and
  • Bella’s perennial incompetence

I think that Heath, like me, has a love-hate relationship with the
books: she can appreciate a great adventure story with its beautiful
themes of romance, but cringes at the novels’ underlying misogyny and subtly dangerous messages to girls and women. She writes:

My greatest disappointment with the Twilight series is
Stephenie Meyer’s thematic representation of violence against women in a
way that minimizes and normalizes abuse. No matter how wonderful it is
that Meyer promotes sexual abstinence before marriage, a fact that
elicits praise from many religious leaders about the series, she offers a
terrible message about violence against women at the hands of their
intimate partners. Few of those enamored religious leaders who praise Twilight even notice the saturating theme of violence against women in the novels.

So true. (You can read the rest of the article here.)

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