I saw this link on a friend's Facebook profile today and had to check it out. Apparently, this librarian/blog author has an issue with the entire Twilight saga because it promotes abusive relationships, and teen/tween girls everywhere are going to look for their version of Edward and well, we all know that's not going to end well.
The author of the blog post says that he hates the Twilight series because, (and I am quoting here), "I hate them because of the sexual messaging they impart to teens, especially teen girls, robbing them of agency and normalizing stalking and abusive behavior."
Let's back up a bit, shall we?
These are works of FICTION. Edward is a vampire who SPARKLES IN THE SUN for crying out loud. There are werewolves and vampires and well...it's all make believe.
Is Edward possessive, a bit obsessed, a bit crazy, and a bit hormonal? Yes, in fact he is all of those things. He's also fictional. And 109 years old. And he's a vampire. Is Bella moody, a bit of an outsider, a bit of an emotional train wreck who just happens to be drawn to the most gorgeous, secretive "bad boy" in school? Yep. And again, she's also fictional and 17 years old.
Is their relationship "healthy" or "normal"? Um, that would be a big, fat no. Then again, he's a vampire who is trying to NOT kill her. See, vampires KILL humans. Any vampire book will tell you that (Have you read Anne Rice? Those are some violent, messed up vampires).
So yeah, Edward is a bit over-protective and possessive and all vampire-like.
Do we really think that IF Edward and Bella were the poster children for abusive relationships this series of books would be the phenomenon that it is?
Do you think moms would be buying these books for their daughters, and then reading them too?
Do you think it would even be marketable?
No. No. And, no.
I consider myself reasonably intelligent, and not once while reading the books did I think to myself "Well holy crap, Edward is abusive to Bella and that Bella is just some silly, stupid girl who is afraid to stand up to her man." Not once did I think to look up the signs of an abusive relationship and create a checklist based on Bella and Edward's romance.
Why? Well, probably because I knew that (1) I was reading a work of fiction that was (2) full of fictional characters and supernatural beings who don't really exist and (3) I don't have that much free time to ponder things like this.
Maybe I'm just an idiot. Or clueless. Or maybe someone should revoke my "I'm kind of a feminist" card...because I just don't see it. The books aren't perfect - but they also aren't a manual on how to identify an abusive relationship.
And, for anyone who has read the series, you also know there is NO sex (there's a lot of 'fade to black' in the last book...but there are no "real" sex scenes). Oh and (MAJOR SPOILER ALERT HERE. STOP READING IF YOU HAVE NOT READ THE LAST BOOK)...Edward and Bella are virgins until after they get married. They don't have sex until their wedding night. Call me crazy, but that seems to be a really GOOD message to send to young women out there.
What I see when I read this book is a vampire who happens to be in love with a human who happens to be best friends with a werewolf. I see a story about love and teenage angst.
Yes, there are a lot of unrealistic notions of first love and true love and "forever" in the book, but it IS a work of fiction. Maybe it's a lot to assume, but I would think that most young girls/young women who read these books would know and understand that no one like Edward really exists, because well...he's a vampire who sparkles in the sunlight and only feeds on animals.
I'm really not trying to be snarky.
I'm all for teaching young girls how to avoid bad, unhealthy and potentially abusive relationships. As a mom to two young girls, I know how important it is.
My point is this: if you really want to do teach teens about healthy relationships, maybe you should avoid using a vampire/human relationship as the example.
Because sparkly, vegetarian vampires aren't real, but abuse is.
Check out this article from The Washington Post. It's very interesting. :)