TWILIGHT CONTROVERSY BREWS

FROM THE CANADIAN PRESS

I have only heard of STEPHENIE MEYER within the past few weeks – and I guarantee you that my awareness wouldn’t have come about quite so soon if I didn’t have CP.

So I know very little about this woman or her series of immensely popular vampire novels which apparently are mainly targeted at adolescent girls.

However….

As an ardently pro choice feminist, I read this article (by the gifted and eloquent LEE ANNE GOODMAN) and I found this controversy and heated discussion particularly disturbing.

I have no definite opinion on this right now.

Until I experience something for myself, I have to try to remain neutral. But this is enormously difficult.

If what I’m hearing is at all factual, then I’d certainly prefer that young, impressionable girls not read STEPHENIE MEYER’S TWILIGHT series – and particularly NOT BREAKING DAWN.

I don’t happen to think that it’s a fabulous thing when teenagers become mothers. It’s lovely to have men in your life (hell yeah…) but even a husband shouldn’t be the focus of every bloody breath you take. You have to have an autonomous existence of your own, even IF you have a spouse and children.

You won’t collapse on the floor in a heap if some guy splits. EVEN IF HE’S THE LOVE OF YOUR LIFE. It’s never happened to me personally but there are worse things to get through. Seriously…

And I firmly believe that EVERY WOMAN should have the right to have as many children as she wants. If she doesn’t want any, then she should be able to take care of that privately and safely.

End of story….

I understand that, for the most part, no publicity is bad publicity. But reading this piece made me think seriously that we still have a long way to go in our culture if these eminently destructive viewpoints are being shoved down young girls’ throats. If they grow up absorbing this and thinking that it’s perfectly acceptable, then we all lose in the end.

Is this all a tempest in a teacup? Very possibly. But did HARRY POTTER and Ms. Rowling summon up such a firestorm? Aside from the witchcraft angle, I don’t recall that being the case. (AND NO, I didn’t read ANY of those books or see any of the films either.)

If anyone wants to weigh in on this (especially if they’ve read the TWILIGHT books) I’d love to hear from you.

Right about now, I’m just grateful that there are strong, willful, intelligent females around like Ms. Goodman and the women that are quoted in this story: CLAIRE, ANNETTE and JEZEBEL.

A little over a week ago, the literary world was lauding novelist STEPHENIE MEYER, (a Mormon stay at home mother – um, yeah…here we go…), as the new J.K. ROWLING amidst the excitement surrounding the release of the fourth installment in her TWILIGHT teen fiction series BREAKING DAWN.

Today, the best selling book is the subject of a backlash that’s prompted a group in the U.S. to organize a “return your book” protest.

On AMAZON’S U.S. website, a number of readers, led by a one time book store employee, are urging former fans to return their copies of BREAKING DAWN in order to deprive STEPHENIE MEYER of royalties.

Employees of the BORDERS book chain have reported that some copies are being returned by indignant purchasers. A rep of the CHAPTERS/INDIGO stores in Canada, where the novel sold 100,000 copies last weekend, could not immediately be reached for comment.

“Seriously, folks…Don’t burn your copies of the book. Return them,” wrote the chief protest organizer on AMAZON.COM. “I think Meyer’s fans would send a much more powerful message if, instead of a book burning tour, they staged a book returning tour.”

What’s the ultimate dilemma for readers? Some are complaining about STEPHENIE MEYER’S portrayal of her hero, BELLA, as being disturbingly desperate to hold on to her husband, the vampire EDWARD.

Others are taking issue with the book’s focus on BELLA’S unexpected but postmarital teen pregnancy, while some see an off putting anti-abortion message in BREAKING DAWN.

About half of the Canadian readers weighing in on AMAZON.CA aren’t happy with BELLA’S behaviour and the turn of events in BREAKING DAWN.

“Not only is this girl seriously melodramatic and clumsy, she’s the most weak willed and pathetic character ever written,” said 28 year old CLAIRE.

“She has said numerous times that she would die if EDWARD ever left her. It’s like her entire world revolves around him. What are you trying to tell young women, Ms. Meyer? Don’t girls have enough self esteem problems already? Should they really be reading books about a girl who has no life outside of her boyfriend – a girl who readily admits that she would die if he were to ever leave her?”

Another Canadian, ANNETTE from Vancouver, said she hated the way BREAKING DAWN focuses on BELLA’S pregnancy.

I think most readers would have settled for a surprise pregnancy at the end (or something to that effect if MEYER really wanted a baby in this story). But the fact that it swallowed the whole plot just plain sucks,” she wrote. “I was extremely disappointed with the fourth book. I want my money back.”

Book industry observers say STEPHENIE MEYERS’ entire TWILIGHT series owes much of its success to its avid online following of young female readers and many of the complaints about BREAKING DAWN can be found on blogs and websites.

A reviewer on the GAWKER MEDIA blog JEZEBEL.COM took issue with the anti abortion allegory in BREAKING DAWN, an unsurprising element considering STEPHENIE MEYER has described herself as “really, really religious”. The critic notes how the novel makes “teen pregnancy look rad.”

” ‘I wanted him like I wanted air to breathe,’ BELLA says in the book upon discovering she’s carrying a male vampire who might kill her if she carries him to term. ‘Not a choice. A necessity.’ “

JEZEBEL wrote:

“This creepy anti abortion allegory quickly gets literal, as the half vampire fetus starts killing Bella from the inside out. Even as it breaks her ribs and sucks the life from her, she proclaims, ‘I won’t kill him.’ But does she have to face the consequences of this choice? No, because vampire magic suddenly allows mother and father to hear the fetus’ thoughts and to discover that it already loves them.”

The novel’s publisher, LITTLE BROWN, has denied that any major backlash is afoot. Spokesperson MELANIE CHANG told PUBLISHERS WEEKLY that the company had not been hearing any negative feedback and added that a wide range of opinions among readers is common with any popular novel.

“With a book as eagerly anticipated as Breaking Dawn, there are going to be diverse reactions,” she said. “Stephenie Meyer’s fans are incredibly passionate about her books, so it’s no surprise that readers respond with equal passion.”

Passion is as passion does.

Indeed…

4 Responses to “TWILIGHT CONTROVERSY BREWS”

  1. some geek Says:

    you know where i stole this from…and yeah i didn’t know of this until book series/until i read this three days ago…

    ‘ What began as a small, young adult series aimed primarily at teenage girls quickly spawned into the biggest thing to hit the book industry since, well, Harry Potter. It’s the Twilight saga, which officially “ended” – I’ll get to the quotations in a sec – with the mega midnight release of Breaking Dawn late last week (1.3 million sold in its first day alone). Dubbed as a clash between the romance novel and vampire lit, the Twilight saga chronicles the strange, teenage love affair between human Bella Swan and vampire Edward Cullen.

    Throughout the series, it has been Bella’s quest to not only “have” Edward (read: jump his bones AND be with him forever), but also to be fully immersed in the dangerous world of vampires by becoming one herself. Breaking Dawn supposedly satisfies both of these storylines that have kept readers’ attention through three novels and brings the Bella-Edward story arc to a definitive close in this final chapter.

    In Breaking Dawn, 18-year-old Bella is, for lack of a better term, hornier than ever before, which is ambitious of author Stephenie Meyer considering the demographic the series is presumably geared towards. Following Bella’s sexual motivations outlined quite clearly from the onset, a series of devastating events begin unfolding with severe consequences. Even so, this one wraps up all nice and pretty like the grand majority of American lit, right? Right?! Well, you’ll just have to give this great series – a personal guilty pleasure of mine – a try to find out for yourself.

    There is, however, life after Breaking Dawn (ergo the quotation marks surrounding the word ended above). Meyer next has plans to publish Midnight Sun, which tells the same story as the series’ opener, Twilight, but from Edward’s perspective and not Bella’s. Books following the events of Breaking Dawn could also be in the cards, though they would be set outside the perspectives of both Bella and Edward. ‘ (Eric Hughes/BOP)

  2. Oh, that’s killer, glim.

    It has been Bella’s quest to have Edward (read: jump his bones AND be with him forever)…

    In Breaking Dawn, 18 year old Bella is, for lack of a better term, hornier than ever before…

    Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha hah….

    OH THAT BELLA….

    Jump his bones. I haven’t heard that one in A LONG TIME.

    What other naughty phrases did my girls and I come up with when we were being goofy?

    Jumping his bones, climbing his frame, riding the hobby horse, doing the watusi…

    There are a bunch of notables out there.

    Thanks, glimster…

    God, I love this job….

  3. Lee-Anne G. Says:

    Wow! Thanks for the compliment!

  4. Well, this is unbelievable…

    Ms. Goodman, when I made that post, I had NO IDEA that you would come to my site, read it or have any idea who I was.

    But I must give credit where credit is due. Those are largely YOUR words in that article. I just added my two and a half cents and a bit of context for my readers.

    I have to go through an endless amount of source material every day for the blog. I remembered you because you interviewed KIM CATTRALL at the BANFF TELEVISION FESTIVAL and I posted a big portion of that discussion on site (it’s in the TV archive) along with my own comments.

    When I came across the TWILIGHT piece, I thought your name looked familiar. Sure enough…

    You’re a fabulous writer and I think that we share a lot of the same viewpoints and concerns. We’re very big on strong, independent, creative women here at CINEMATIC PASSIONS.

    Please feel free to comment on whatever strikes your fancy – and to visit whenever you’d like.

    It is a GREAT HONOUR and an absolute pleasure to have you here, Ms. Goodman.

    Thank you so much for stopping by.

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