Sorry, it had to be said.
Thanks to this hilarious piece on Thought Catalog, I was reminded that the last monster of a movie has been released into the wild and won’t be reproducing for a while. Yes, apparently Stephanie Meyer is threatening to write more, but let’s please not think about that right now. Let’s have a moment of celebration.
Nico Lang sums up the elated feeling pretty well:
No more Taylor Lautner taking his shirt off just so the mothers of 10-year-old girls can explain to their children what it means when their vaginas get tingly. No more vampires that sparkle in the sunlight rather than exploding in a ball of flames, because THAT’S WHAT VAMPIRES ARE SUPPOSED TO DO. No more Dakota Fanning and Michael Sheen making me forget what good actors they are in other things. And, most especially, no more Kristen Stewart slouching and trembling and twirling her hair and performing the inverse of acting.
To this I would add: no more shamelessly indulging in convenient falsehoods about true love and happily ever after.
Now, I’m not saying I don’t believe in true love or happily ever after. I actually do. But Bella and Edward certainly don’t, or they wouldn’t spend so much time wallowing in self-hatred and shame when they supposedly have all they ever wanted—each other…right? Remember, they met and “fell in love” in the first book? They don’t get happy till half way through number four, after Bella (SPOILER ALERT, IF YOU CARE) gives birth and becomes a vampire. That’s messed up.
Everyone has their opinions and theories about why Twilight is a piece of junk and a terrible influence on young girls, young guys, and people in general. I happen to agree with all of them. But I also have a theory about why SO MANY F*&%ING PEOPLE think Twilight is the greatest thing since color TV, whether or not they admit it, and here it is:
Low self-esteem. Guilt. Shame. Faults. Regrets. Shaky confidence.
Everybody’s got a little bit of all of this, right? Varying degrees of each, and only a few, if you’re lucky, but in general, our society is full of individuals who get pretty down on themselves at least a little bit of the time. And most everyone is looking for love, if they haven’t already found it.
The trouble is, we keep getting messages from magazines and romantic comedies that say we need to love ourselves and be confident and happy to find love, because that’s what people are attracted to and like to be around. Dagnabit! So I can’t just mope around and have true love fall into my lap? That sucks. I guess I’ll have to—no, wait!!
TWILIGHT SAVES THE DAY! Finally, popular media that tells us it IS possible to hate ourselves and still be loved endlessly and unconditionally! Ladies, no outward effort required; constant self-deprecation optional; feel free to push your lover away whenever it feels right—he’ll come back; forget self-esteem—you don’t need it anymore; if you hold on long enough and give up everything you’ve ever known or cared about, you might be able to change all the things you hate about yourself and live forever with a man who despises himself just as much as you do! Happily ever after.
Like two extremely leaky buckets, Bella and Edward are both hopelessly dependent on each other’s devotion to continuously fill the empty space caused by their own dwindling self-love. Until the leaks are repaired, the buckets will never stay full on their own. And this is our model for romance.
The message people get from these books and movies is that you don’t have to repair your leaks, build your self-confidence, or love yourself in order to have everything you ever wanted. But it’s a lie, and a damaging one.
It is true that a romantic partner should love you with all your faults, no matter what. By “repair your leaks” I don’t mean fix all your faults or be perfect. But it is also necessary that you love yourself with all your faults, or you will never be able to fully receive and appreciate the love you are given and you won’t really be able to take care of another person. Despite what Twilight tells us, confidence and self-assurance really are more attractive and more useful than self-hatred. I know, what a kill-joy.
Twilight actually rewards passivity, irresponsibility, and complete neglect for personal emotional health. I’m so, so glad it’s over. Let’s all work on loving ourselves now, okay?
And kids, go back to reading and watching Harry Potter!