This weekend all of my sisters came to Dallas to see the most recent installment of the Twilight Saga, Breaking Dawn Part 1 with me. The four of us get together (with as many friends as we can drag along with us, thanks Heather and Sarah) every time a new one comes out. This may be one of the few things all four of us agree on.
You might be wondering right about now why I’m bringing up girly love of sparkly vampires here, but trust me, it’s not without a purpose.
On the heels of my lovely sister weekend, Kristin pointed out an article on Relevant Magazine’s website called You Can’t Marry A Hot Vampire. I would be lying if I didn’t admit that my very first reaction to the title alone was extreme defensiveness. After having read it, however, my feelings shifted from defensiveness, to a kind of indignation (ha, bet you were expecting me to say that I found it truthful after all).
As a single woman, the title alone comes off as an extreme accusation. “Dysfunction between the sexes is obviously at the fault of women with unrealistic expectations.” Which is a frustrating message, especially coupled with the “romantic fantasy is female porn” idea, which by the way, isn’t a new idea by any means. I’ve been hearing similar messages since I was old enough to think a guy was cute. The church has been warning woman about their fantasies for a long time. But that’s not what bothered me most about this article, and the thing that did bother me most is the reason I bring it up here.
I want to stop here and ask that you please don’t misunderstand me, my intention is not to make light of or refute the power of fantasy or the damage it can cause in relationships. My point here is to say that this argument, in the context of this article, is “barking up the wrong tree”, as they say.
The Twilight Saga isn’t extremely well written.
It’s poorly edited.
There’s no credible lore involved, in fact, in laughs in the face of mythology surrounding both vampires and shape shifters.
It’s full of teenage angst.
In spite of all of these things, Twilight is a cultural phenomenon. People flock to it, young and old. You have your “twi-hards”, your “twi-moms”, “team Edward” and “team Jacob” of all shapes, sizes, ages, and genders. This movement of people who are moved by this storey, however poorly crafted it may be, is something worth paying attention to. So when I say that I think warning young women of having their hearts lured in and misled by Hollywood is “barking up the wrong tree”, what I mean is that instead of stating the obvious, we should be asking ourselves why people are drawn to this, when they are fed so many false depictions of love. Why does this story captivate them? Why does it captivate even… dare I say it… some of us?
I have a theory.
The thing is, when you strip the story of all its trappings, the bare bones of the story isn’t unfamiliar. It’s about a person who feels out of sync with her surroundings and is then drawn in and saved by the love of something supernatural, unchanging, unwavering, undying, and everlasting. Have you heard a story like that before? I know I have.
Stephanie Meyer may not be the most astounding writer on the planet, but what she’s done is given the world a hero who loves the heroine unconditionally, unselfishly, would sacrifice himself for love of her, who values her, upholds and considers her virtue precious, who is strong when she cannot be… and they are eating it up. The world is desperate for this story of salvation, so much so that even in the midst of bad writing and ooey-gooey-teenage-love-stuff, they’re drawn to it. And why are they coming to it this way? Because in this story there’s no condemnation, there’s no judgement. This story allows for seeing your unworthiness and understanding the necessity of becoming a new creation without being shamed into it.
Maybe this is a lot to read into Twilight. Maybe people will call this blasphemous.
Either way, what breaks my heart is that what Bella finds in Edward in this story isn’t unrealistic at all. It’s the heart beat of what reality should be, it’s more than possible, it’s what each of us were intended (and then some) to know in our relationship with Christ. I have the Savior that the world is enraptured by in this story and I’m not doing a good enough job of introducing them to Him, the cultural phenomenon that is Twilight is evidence of that.
Instead of writing warnings, we should stand humbled.