All Vamped Up

Lovesick human klutz-turned-feral badass mama vampire: Bella Swan Cullen

You don’t mind a little self-congratulation do you? I’ve shown towering restraint in the run-up to the final installment of the Twilight series (opening tomorrow!) I held my tongue when Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattinson were recently photographed ohmygod! holding hands again. I did. And I ignored the ugly provocations about a possible financial motive for their reconciliation. (Oh, romantic skeptics! If you had only followed their public persona as a couple – or, I should say, their total absence of public persona as a couple – even half as slavishly as I have done, you would see that the nay-sayers are the “Birthers” of the entertainment industry. But I digress.)

In any case, my excitement about Breaking Dawn 2 will not be denied. For those late to my fetish party, let me summarize my feelings thus:

1)  I have never defended the Twilight series on its artistic merits. Personally, I found the cheesy aesthetics of the books a part of the charm – or at least part of the shtick. But I’m not claiming the series represents anything of literary or artistic value. (That said, Bill Condon and his cinematographer are both Oscar winners, for Gods and Monsters and Pan’s Labryinth, respectively. Just sayin’…)

2)  I think women are just as entitled to tacky, smutty, retro, bizarro, inexplicable, and ‘troubling’ fantasies as men. Moreover, I think teenage girls are entitled to these too.

3)  And this is the key point: we recognize the difference between FANTASY and REALITY. Yeah, we do! We don’t need policing. You don’t have to protect us from our lame and appalling thoughts.

4)  Are you still with me here? The nasty opprobrium about what the Twilight series “says” about women and what it is “doing” to young girls not only assumes an enraging vulnerability of its audience but also misses the things Twilight gets right: getting girls excited about reading; introducing a female character squarely at the center of her own growth; emphasizing the futility and moral bankruptcy of violence (something not a single critic appears to have noticed); engaging in serious topics of interest to a lot of people with X chromosomes, such as loyalty and friendship, unplanned pregnancy, the risks of childbirth, the actual meaning of a wedding ceremony beyond the silly trappings, and other female-skewed themes that are very rarely engaged sensitively on the screen, much less in teenage fantasy films.

And the series has pushed the film industry to make more movies for girls and women.

Blah blah blah….

There’s more (a lot more) here.

About ErikaChristakis

Yale Lecturer in early childhood education/Licensed teacher/Former preschool director and Harvard College house master/some-time journalist. In possession of: unmarketable bachelor’s degree (Harvard, anthropology), semi-marketable graduate degrees (public health, education…). Rewarding career at the intersection of family, society, and schools (including long stint in parenting vortex). Forging a new path to connect all of the above.
This entry was posted in Children/Teens/Young Adults, Entertainment/Pop culture, Women-related and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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