Several of you have asked why I've not read the Twilight books, the popular Young Adult series by Stephanie Meyer. Generally marketed by mainstream America as a morally upright love story for teens, I've received many shocked reactions from people when I explain that I have not read them and that I do not have any plans to read them. Here are my reasons:
- Vampires do not interest me. Hobbits, yes. Vampires, no.
- I despise romance novels. A novel with a well-written romantic scene is fine, but books that are 100% about romance are, in short, completely unrealistic. While countless numbers of novels are also unrealistic, romance novels tend to encourage the women reading them to put those same expectations on their own relationships. Add to this reason that in the Twilight series the romance is between two teenagers, and I bristle. Teenage girls in our culture struggle enough with finding their identity in having a boyfriend; why do we need to perpetuate the struggle through encouraging their reading of these novels or the watching of the movies?
- I will not buy, borrow, or browse books that encourage young women to enter into relationships that are dangerous. The two main characters refrain from pre-marital sex prior to their wedding night. As a result, this series is marketed as triology that is "safe" for teenage girls to read. From what I know of these books, they are anything but "safe". Edward and Bella's entire relationship is centered on danger, as Edward constantly struggles with the need to suck Bella's blood. While obviously an unrealistic situation, the message that this sends to young women is that a relationship lived dangerously is exciting. I have a profound problem with this kind of thinking and I hate to see it glorified in our culture. Not reading Twilight is my feeble attempt to take a stand on this issue.
- There are countless numbers of brilliant novels that are more exciting, more engaging, and more edifying. It is with those novels that I will spend my time. I encourage you and the young women you talk with to do the same.