16 April 2009

Distressed Damsel

Entertainment isn't innocuous. We learn something from each book, movie, television show, or play. Sometimes those messages are good and positive. Other times those messages are devious and damaging.

I've been reluctant to read Stephenie Meyer's books. I didn't even know they existed until the hype for the Twilight movie began. At the time I though, "I'll read the book before I see the movie." Then I heard an unfortunate review of the movie and my interest waned a bit. But in talking to friends, my interest would occasionally pique again. The cycle continued for a while. It even came up as a possible rental viewing choice a couple of weeks ago. I was torn between the negative messages I kept hearing about, and the pop culture bubble-gum romance to which I kept hearing my friends and students refer.

Then I saw this. It kind of grossed me out a little. Could it be true? Does this happen in the book and is it positioned as romantic and desirable?

Unfortunately, yes (spoiler alert for all four books).

I'm not at all comfortable with the content I read about in that review. I've been looking for more positive portrayals of females in entertainment media for a long time. It really hurts me to find that coming up behind me is a group of girls who are still being fed the same damaging tripe about needing a man and doing anything, at any cost to get one, no matter what kind of life they'll end up with.

If I had followed through on that mentality, I'd either be married to a pot-head with no motivation, an abusive rage-a-holic, or a mentally crushing emotionally retarded man-child. Or a multi-millionaire who would have mostly ignored me....

Hmmm. Maybe I should have stuck it out a bit longer.

Thanks to tricky for both links.

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