To me, the Twilight series took the whole thing to a bit of a... stupid level. Vampires get a random super power, they sparkle in sunlight (seriously, what the fuck is that?!) and they seem to be unkillable -even by sunlight- unless they're killed by one of the flamboyant illuminati vampires by getting their head ripped off... or whatever.
There's many interpetations of vampires, sure, but one wonders what made Meyer call these "vampires" rather than just come up with something else or just treat them as the more traditional vampire. (They sparkle in sunlight, seriously... What... The... Fuck?!) Don't get me started on the whole "is Jacob a werewolf or isn't he" thing. (He's not.)
Then there's the whole thing where this book/movie series is sold and presented as some great teenage love story when a deep interpretation of it shows that it has pretty misogynistic attitudes and bad messages for teenage girls.
(Remember girls, if a guy you really like breaks-up with you he doesn't really mean it. So mope around for several months, cry out at night like a crazy person and if you threaten to kill yourself it'll make him come running back to you! Oh, and doing dangerous things will give you that same "rush" you feel when you're with him. And you should manipulate other men to get what you want.... and C-Sections really suck.)
And, honestly, as much as I've seen this movies and heard about the stories I'm not sure where any Mormon/LDS symbolism comes into play. My best friend who is LDS doesn't see any symbolism in it either. Whatever, Meyer. Oh, and Bella has such a terrible character flaw in that she's so perfect... except she's not because she's clumbsy.
God these movies suck.
Putting aside the qualitative (and elegantly stated!) assessment of the books and films, I do wonder about the effect these stories will have on young women in the coming years and the message it sends about manipulating young men.
Honestly, beyond the moping Bella does for Edward, the middle-school emo elements of their relationship, and then Jacob's so-called love for Bella, the real message that gives me serious pause is simply the complete and totally unabashed way Bella clearly uses Jacob. Granted, it's nothing new, we've seen this kind of love triangle before in vampire fiction, but it's not been quite so overt or unapologetic before.
There are teenage girls out there who will see these movies and read these books and decide that this is how they should treat men. I'm not saying all will, I'm just saying that I don't agree with the message either series is sending to young, impressionable girls.
Then again, it's really no different than the sometimes misogynistic behavior displayed in the James Bond novels and films. Or, the way any of the sexually frustrated nerds on this very BBS turn their heads (and their staunch opinions
) the minute a pretty face appears and barely acknowledges their existence. Myself, I don't particularly care for either behavior. But people have been conditioned to expect certain treatment as a result of certain behavior.
Example: Troi's Fabulous Wigs
posts a picture of herself in a bikini, and suddenly dozens of guys who disagreed with her stance on equal marriage are agreeing with her. Likewise, if your boyfriend breaks up with you, as long as you communicate to the rest of the world how much it sucks, how sad you are, and your life (literally!) screeches to a standstill, he will come back to you and make it all better.
For this alone, Bella is probably one of the worst female protagonists in the history of literature; she isn't proactive, she's just plain reactive. And, as I'm sure many of the male membership here can attest, the guy who is actually the better choice of the two, the one who has more to offer and to give, and the one who probably is closest to actually loving her, is just the crutch she uses till Edward the Stalker returns. Beyond the faux-tragic trappings for Romeo & Juliet and even the insipid Star Wars Episode II vibe I got while watching the last scene of the film (it happened in New Moon as well), it's just wholly ridiculous.
I get that people can't control who they love (wouldn't it be nice if we could though?) and that it is certainly possible to be in love with two people at once (been there, got the T-shirt), and, believe it or not, I get loving someone you can't be with so much that it hurts like hell..... but the melodrama is so poured on that it taints any of the other positive or interesting elements to the story.
I'm not so hung up on the particulars of the vampire fiction in this iteration -- if Stephanie Meyer wants to make her vampires be sparkly and pretty, let her make them thusly. It's her baby, her world to build. I don't know that I'd make my vampires sparkly in my (hypothetical) vampire novel, but that's me, not her. Translation: this is a superficial element to a piece of literature and cinema with larger, far-reaching implications in our modern culture.
As someone with a younger 20-something kid sister and who also has younger 20-something female friends and as someone who has seen first-hand the geek-squee-ing and tacit approval given to Edward's stalking and Jacob's constant spurning, it just bothers me that these are the role models in fiction that kids today can look to.
Say what you want about the Harry Potter books and novels, they were at least smart kids and (mostly) wholesome role models.
As for the Mormon/Latter Day Saint influence/content, well, I don't know enough about the tenets of either to speak to this part of the discussion, but again -- it's Stephanie Meyer's universe, so of course
she's going to be informed by her faith while writing. Just because I don't agree with said tenets or religion, doesn't automatically make their inclusion wrong or bad.