Hello! My name is Shannon Beck. I'm a 28 year-old school social worker in the Chicago suburbs. I became aware of the Twilight phenomenon over the last two years when students (largely adolescent female students) at my school began showing up to school toting Twilight books, t-shirts, pull-out posters, water bottles, etc. Naturally, I was interested in what seemed to be the second coming of Harry Potter, appealing to a more specific fan base in a more cult-following way. Several teachers and other colleagues had also begun delving into the books, and I was lent copies of all four of them in order to get a sense of the hype surrounding these books. At surface value, I could see the appeal: They are all easy reads, appealing to the same sort of fairy tale prince idealism of Disney or medieval knights. I had fun reading the first book, despite finding Bella's character unfortunately plain, but that leaves plenty of room for a wider variety of readers to read themselves into her, a major selling point for these books.
However, as I progressed through the books, I began to see something sinister there. Aside from the obvious fact that the protagonist's love interest, Edward Cullen, is a vampire- a creature mythically notorious for ending life (sucking blood, murdering, being in cahoots with the devil, whatever)- he displays startling and consistent character traits of an abuser in a real-life relationship. Likewise, Bella is portrayed as bumbling, awkward, passive, and hardly able to stand on her own two feet without the assistance of a male- be it a vampire boyfriend, pining werewolf friend, or her own father.
Don't get me wrong. I am not a fringe extremist intent on destroying the Twilight empire. I own the books and the movies, and generally consider them "just for fun." At the same time, I feel it's important to address issues that may be overlooked by specific subgroups of readers who are more vulnerable and impressionable, and whose take-aways from the text may be undesirable. Note: For other twenty-somethings like me who have a love/hate relationship with Twilight, please see the blog Twitarded. It's hilarious, and helps appease the cognitive dissonance of being in your twenties and being sucked into teen/tween fad fiction.
The purpose of this blog is to hash out some of my notes on the Twilight texts, expand on my frustrations with the message that is there to be potentially interpreted by young girls, the books' target audience, and to offer room for comment by readers as to varying opinion on my ideas, as well as varying interpretation of text excerpts upon which I may comment. Please feel free to follow this blog, comment on this blog, and contact me if you like, but recognize that I am writing this for the personal experience of organizing my thoughts and offering my ideas in writing, for my own and others' review. All irrelevant and/or personally derogatory comments will be removed. Constructive criticism and/or alternate viewpoints are entirely welcome.