Thursday, November 17, 2011

Harry Potter vs. Twilight

Jen, you're not weird. I pinch Wachael's bum every chance I get!


I didn't pit Harry Potter against Twilight, Stephen King did. But I'm glad he did, because I couldn't agree more. Knowing the Reynolds' have been big fans of the Harry Potter books for many years now (especially Kate, since she was old enough to read them) and NOT fans of the Twilight series, my friend Betsy sent me this concise comparison/assessment of the two from Stephen King:

“Harry Potter is about confronting fears, finding inner strength and doing what is right in the face of adversity. Twilight is about how important it is to have a boyfriend.” 
 Stephen King

With a mere hour left before "Twihard" fans finally get to see Bella and Edward tie the knot (who are we kidding, it's all about the sex, right?) I'd like to throw in my 2 cents as well.

I started the Twilight series a few years ago because, well, everybody was doing it and I was curious. Many adult women I knew were reading the books, but most importantly, the 14 and 15-year-old girls I was teaching at church were reading them. I wanted to know what had the attention of so many people (females) around me. It started getting a little tedious for me in book 2, and then I couldn't even get through the honeymoon in book 3. Why?

1) As my hairstylist said today, the Twilight relationships are too "possessive and obsessive." Does anyone really want their teenage daughter thinking this kind of relationship is normal? I would hope the adult women reading the books would recognize it's not, but by the reaction of some of the younger female fans, I'm not so sure. Many of us have been in these sort of sickly relationships, but if we've moved into something more normal and healthy, I would think we'd all be in agreement that this dynamic isn't something we want to put out there as a model for our teenage girls. No?

2) The obsession with not having sex before marriage makes the "forbidden fruit" that much more of a an obsession. Again, does anyone really want their teenage daughter thinking about sex that much? And it really bugs me that Edward is the one with restraint. Yes, it's charming, but it's not teenage boys reading this book, it's teenage girls, and I can't stand Bella as a role model for these girls considering how much time she spends playing seductress. The last thing my future teenage son needs is some sexually aggressive Twihard ninny hoping he'll be a gentleman. As with so many other unimaginative tv/book/movie themes, sex becomes larger than life and overshadows everything else. I'm tired of sex being portrayed as the be all end all of existence. Yeah, it's great, but so is a boring, stable, committed relationship based on mutual goals of work, sacrifice, family, and fidelity. Kate's harp recital last Saturday had a "Nightmare before Christmas" theme, and four very ordinary looking Dads sang a song at half time called, "We May Not Be Vampires, but We're Still Men." (It was HYSTERICAL!) Go Team Ordinary Guy.

3) It really bugs me that the author is LDS for the two reasons listed above. Even though she stuck to our standard of no sex before marriage, making Bella the one constantly pushing for them to cross the line and then having them get married the second she graduated from high school just so they could get on with it didn't do anyone hoping to encourage their children to plan for a happy, healthy marriage any favors.

I know. It's just a book. A fictional story. A way to get lost in fantasy. But no one can argue that our children aren't shaped by what they read/watch/listen to, and I read the series from the eyes of those 14-year-old girls, thinking of my own now 14-year-old daughter--who, thankfully, is a Harry Potter fan. (Give me Hermione as a role model over Barfy Bella any day!)

9 comments:

  1. Can the two even be compared? Harry Potter all the way!

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  2. Amen! My oldest daughter is 11, so luckily, we are still a little young, and not getting into all this "Twilight" nonsense!

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  3. Couldn't agree more. What was the LDS author thinking? Money maybe?

    Love the comment by Stephen King.

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  4. The comment thing finally worked.

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  5. If grown men acted towards a young female actress, like grown women do to the Robert Pattinson, we would immediately brand them perverts. I thoroughly dislike every stinking thing about Twilight.
    Well said - and it needs to be said OFTEN.

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  6. I was one of those 14-15 year old girls you taught. As I've gotten a little older, I've seen that it really is stupid. I remember when you read them, and your reaction to them really opened my eyes to how the books were affecting me. I think the thing that really turned me off from the books was when we were at girls camp. Entire cabins were locked up READING the newly-released books instead of joining activities or just enjoying camp. Another leader stole all the books and the girls flipped out- some even started crying! Twilight has definitely shaped teen-aged girls' minds, but not for the better!

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  7. HARRY POTTER!!!!!!!!!!!! :)

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