I like vampire nonsense. I like silly fantasy, and otherworldly gubbins, because although I’m a scientist and believe none of that stuff, in my head there are fairies and goblins and I can move mountains with only the power of my mind.
Now, Twilight the first was take-your-brain-out nonsense; an enjoyable enough teenage romp with achingly pretty characters and thousand-yard brooding stares, complete with unfinished sentences and artfully ruffled hair.
But Twilight: New Moon just enraged me. It wasn’t the enjoyable romp that the first Twilight was, which was a shame, but far, far worse than that is the fact that the heroine (and I use the term in the loosest possible sense) Bella is absolutely vacuous.
This is a series of books/films aimed at teenagers; specifically at teenage girls; and the message it is giving them is frankly bloody awful. The only thing – the ONLY thing – we know about Bella is that she loves Edward Cullen the vampire (who’s a bit pale and scrawny for my taste) and that when he buggers off, she spirals into a navel-gazing teenage depression, then loves Jacob the werewolf.
So, we’ve got a female lead with a pretty face and an apparently empty head, who defines her whole being by which defective man she happens to want at the time. The only other thing she does in the whole film is see a movie with one of her girlfriends, then take off randomly for a joyride on the back of some ruffian’s motorbike. Without a helmet. Or knowing who he is. And, okay, the film is giving the message that this decision is a bad one, m’kay?, but again the character makes a decision involving a man. The man isn’t the central part of this decision, but that’s not the point.
This whole issue seems to be pervading society. Where are our future female politicians, lawyers, writers – hell, where are our young women with more ambition than to become a footballer’s wife or get themselves “famous” by appearing on reality TV? When did beauty and self-worth become defined by how few clothes you could get away with wearing around town, and which trendy boy’s arm you’re hanging off?
Things haven’t changed that much; teenagers will be teenagers; but when I was the same age as the demographic that Twilight is really aiming at, these things weren’t more than peripherally important.
Instant media, celebrity culture and the oversexualisation of teenage girls has a lot to answer for. Who’d be a parent today? Parents: I salute you. And I think you’re nuts.