Vampires have no choice: The Twilight books started a trend that I find utterly disturbing. You see, the vampires in this series had no choice about whether they should live or die. Many of them don’t want to really be vampires and they live this horrible tortured existence, but they are unable to do anything about it. The choice is out of their hands. They must live this way and for the most part, they’re emo and tortured about it. But Bella makes their lives better. She’s everything that they needed. She rescued them from a difficult and miserable existence. She gave them a baby and peace and hope and joy…
Now look at the trends in the YA market. Because of this, there are hundreds and thousands of books out there with a female hero who loves some tortured soul (fallen angel, demon, werewolf, shape shifter, angel – fill in the supernatural appropriately) and ends up ‘saving’ them because she loves them. It’s always been out there, but now, because of Twilight and the phenomenon thereof, it’s everywhere now and it permeates the everyday culture. I’m not sure I want my daughter to think that no matter how bad someone is, she can ‘rescue’ them because choices to be bad are outside their control.
Parental/adult Role Models: The only adult role models in the Twilight saga are the vampires. Seriously – stop and think about it. Charlie, Bella’s father, is never around. He’s always off on his own and barely talks to Bella at all. We know he loves her and all, but he’s not really involved in her life. Neither is her mother – who is repeatedly described as flighty and someone that Bella has actually had to care for. There are no married people in the books who are together – except the vampires. The vampire family who makes sure to care for Bella and show her what love, affection and acceptance truly are.
The books also encourage Bella not to tell Charlie the truth and she does many things outside of what should be acceptable for a teenage girl. These obvious issues (like having a boy sneak in your window every night or having him come to your house when your father isn’t around – and hiding from your father) have already been discussed many times in many other places online, so I only mention them here to bring them up as another point of discussion.
Now outside of the plot issues I have and the concerns with the lessons learned through the Twilight saga, there’s also the issue of Twilight as a gateway drug. Yes, you read that right. A gateway drug. I brought this up when talking to my friends about some of my concerns and then recently, in one of the comments here on Radiant Lit, someone else referred to Twilight the same way. I find it an interesting concept. Stephenie Meyer wrote a ‘mostly harmless’ and clean vampire story that entranced the world. No sex. Not graphic violence. These are a lot of things that allowed parents to be able to share the story with their teens or tweens. But what happens when Twilight ends? When the movie is over and you’re waiting for the next film or looking for the next form of entertainment? There’s tons of stuff out there just like Twilight right? Well, that’s where we see the gateway part of it. Twilight has caused people to look for ‘more’ and subsequently, we’ve had the rise of The Vampire Diaries, True Blood, Teen Wolf, and a ton of supernatural based television shows, films and books; none of which remain as ‘clean’ or ‘pure’ as Twilight. All of them usher in a level of sex or violence or even witchcraft that is unseen in Twilight.
And then there’s fanfiction. If you aren’t interested in ‘other’ vampire entertainment, there’s always TONS of Twilight fanfiction and fanfiction sites. But nearly every single story out there is written for adults. They include vast amounts of pornography (50 Shades of Grey anyone?), violence and even same sex pairings. So if you’re looking for your ‘Twilight fix’ –what will you find to fill that gap?
Relatively speaking, I am aware that Twilight is mostly harmless entertainment. I know that. But I also know that anything Satan can use to reach people, he will. And I do think the fruits of the Twilight phenomenon have proven that even if it were absolutely squeaky clean and perfect, satan is still gaining some momentum with the Twilight fans. Maybe it’s his gateway to other things as well. I don’t know. But I do know that I haven’t missed much since I gave it up. And for those who asked, I didn’t just throw away the books or dvds. I destroyed them. If I feel strongly enough to take a stand that I won’t read it for reasons I think are dangerous, I don’t want to be a stepping stool to anyone else’s downfall. So I didn’t just pack it away or give it away. I made sure that when they were gone, they were utterly and completely gone.
Now I’m curious about what you think. Tell me about your Twilight experience! I’m open to respectful discussion and conversation here. I look forward to hearing from you.