Monday, November 21, 2011

Hot Topic: Twilight

So most of you who know me, know that I'm, unashamedly, a pretty big fan of the tween craze book series, "Twilight." I was reserved for a long while, wondering if the books would really be worth my oh-so-valuable time. However, as a 6th grade English teacher in the thick of hearing my little girls chatter non-stop about Edward and vampires, I thought, "Eh, what the heck, at the very least it'll give me a new topic of discussion with them." So I dove in. A few weeks later, I was finished with the series, and maybe a little bit convinced that vampires and warewolves existed, and that Edward was coming to sweep me away to our own remote island where we would have vampire babies. Ok, that's an exaggeration...sorta.
Anyways, not long after the series came out and subsequent movies, the inevitable media frenzy that followed the Harry Potter series (another great one!), took over. Preachers and parents began swearing them off as "satanic", "inappropriate" and "witch craft." At first, I dismissed them, knowing that every big cultural trend brings out the extremists, but the more I listen to it, the more irritated it makes me. When I first read the Twilight series, I was not a parent. I never gave much thought to if I would allow my future children to read them. However, I can now appropriately reflect on that. My answer? Yes, I would allow the future teenage Sophie and Campbell to read them. I would most likely be a little hesitant to allow them to read the last one, only because their is a rather graphically detailed "sex scene" between the married Edward and Bella. I think Stephenie Myer did an excellent job of bringing these characters to life, she has an inspirational story of quite literally "following her dreams", and overall, I see virtually nothing in her stories that would be a bad influence on teenage girls. I think it would be a great platform to discuss what makes Stephenie Myer a great writer, and further encourage the girls to be great, imaginative writers. I would think any parent hopes and prays their children fall in love with books, and what type of books to children typically most enjoy reading? Good fiction. Key word: fiction. As a teenager, my favorite types of books were horror books. I loved a good thriller (and by good, I mean the Goosebumps series), and other actual, really scary books that my mom couldn't understand why I liked so much. If you looked at my bookshelf as a young teenager, you probably would have pictured me as a goth kid wearing black lipstick. Alas, I was probably the furthest thing from that. I am nearly certain that it's because, from an early age, I very clearly understood the difference between reality and fiction. Credit that to me being involved in church from an early age, having good parents that were able to teach me this, or having friends that would have probably not liked me very much if I showed up to school wearing black lipstick and weird piercings. 
I say all of this because I believe that each parent acts in the best interest of their children. I'm sure I will run into parents for the remainder of the girls' youth who make choices for their children that I do not agree with and wouldn't make for my children. However, I hope and pray that I raise girls who do not look to fictional books to guide their moral compasses, but instead their faith, family, and hopefully great friends who help steer them down the right path. Reading, for me as a teenager, was fun and exciting. I can't think of a time that I allowed any of these scary books, or any book (aside from the Bible) for that matter, to dictate my actions or values. Just as I don't think playing violent video games leads to boys who bring guns to school. Essentially, I suppose what bothers me the most are these preachers, parents, etc. who seem to think that books, movies, and video games lead to bad behavior in children. It makes me want to shout to these parents, "It's really YOUR fault!" As a former teacher, I saw time after time, parents wanting to blame anyone or anything on their child's behavior, except themselves. I saw girls who read the Twilight series and took it to a ridiculous, unacceptable extreme. And I saw girls who read the Twilight series who wrote silly "I love Edward" sketches on their notebooks. The girls who took it to the extreme were the same girls who had some pretty questionable emotional issues beforehand. So was it the book's fault? Doubtful. 
You may or may not agree with my crazy ramblings, and I would not judge any parent for using intelligent discretion when it comes to what your children read. I think everyone should consider hot topics like these as a great opportunity to reflect on what you really believe. 

Until my next rant, peace, love, and Edward. :)


P.S. This guy would be one of those people that makes me cringe. I won't even get started on how many issues I have with him or his "sermon." 

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