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First and foremost I want to thank you for your sweet words of support for my family and me in regards to the death of our beloved pet. It's been a hard few days for the kids, especially for my son to whom most belonged to Darthanne (cats don't belong to us, we belong to them as you all know) but we're getting there. A few of you knew her personally and your comments just made me feel so much better. I loved each comment, but EntreNous and Anne? Thank you both. <3 <3 <3 It seems silly, but I've read through all the comments a few times and it really helps ease the ol' heartache. Thanks, guys.

And now for something completely different. ARE YOU EFFING KIDDING ME, PEOPLE [GENERALIZATION FOR THE WESTERN WORLD AND ITS MEDIA SOURCES OF ALL STRIPES,] WITH THIS ENCOURAGING OF TWILIGHT FANNISHNESS FOR YOUNG GIRLS? eta: including other sources listed under the cut, like teachers, etc. And Elena Kagan has my vote. :)

If I may: Exhibit A [DO NOT go there to leave negative comments. The discussion of right/wrong is HERE. She certainly didn't ask for it. Thanks.] Now. I want to state for the record that I do not believe the OP is aware that this stuff is really harmful nor do I think there's anything wrong with her overall message of "be supportive of fangirls," because that's a lovely thought. BUT. The material is NOT on the same level of fanishness that, say, old school geek fandom would have been. Like, the stuff that would have gotten you made fun of 10, 15, 20+ years ago like LARPing or being a Trekker. (Note: Trekkies are wannabes. Trekkers are the True Fans. *g*) This isn't like using coded language to find out if your hairdresser is into Buffy the Vampire Slayer because you don't want to seem like a weirdo.

The idea that we shouldn't tear each other down for liking what we like has merit. Only to a point, though.

Because, and this is the big one, folks, if what people are liking is HARMFUL, then we shouldn't support it. Yeah, I'm still standing by the idea that not only is Twilight a bag of crap, it's a HARMFUL bag of crap.

ethrosdemon makes an excellent point here that I want to talk about. One, being a grown ass woman with life experience, the ability to differentiate between reality and fantasy (well, some of us) is NOT THE SAME as a 13 year old girl. And I know this because I HAVE a 13 year old girl. And she is friends with 13 year old girls. And they all talk about Twilight because you are supposed to talk about Twilight. It's not geek culture. It's not something that is hidden between a small group of misfits. Their MOTHERS are reading with them.

So if you're not aware of my stance on Twilight, where the hell have you been for two years? I started reading them because my son came home with a book that I didn't know, and we have a rule in our house: mom has to read what you're reading if mom isn't familiar with it. That way, if there's something iffy happening, I know how to talk to them about it. And my son had this book because all of his teachers in 6th grade [at the time of this incident] were reading it and telling him - a voracious reader - that he should read it, too. That's problematic in and of itself, but I won't go into that.

And after reading the series, I was very frank with my two preteens: we are not reading this shit. This shit is not coming into my house.

And then, a year later, my daughter (12 at the time) had a frank discussion with me about how she knows Twilight is crap and she knows that the ideals presented are HARMFUL TO GIRLS, but she also feels very left out because she's NOT reading Twilight. So who's the outsider? The one NOT reading it.

Fast forward to this week when the newest movie is out (still haven't seen it) and all of her friends had these huge sleepover parties to go see the midnight show. And the moms went with them. Like, 10 girls and 10 moms, all piled in the vans with their Team Whoever shirts and makeup (to be pretty for the screen, no, I'm not making this up) and having a big ol' party. This isn't some oppressed fandom where these poor kids need to be allowed to express themselves through media. This is the COOL SHIT that if you don't participate, you're the loser. Those are the girls made fun of - the ones NOT into Twilight.

My daughter doesn't want to go, but... she does, because everyone's going. It's not about the material, it's about the status. So there's my first problem.

My second problem is the idea that women and girls are equal - their interests are equal. NO, THEY ARE NOT. My ability to watch, say Battlestar Gallactica and get all of the racism/gender/class issues and process it fannishly with my friends CANNOT BE COMPARED to a 13 year old's viewing. They just see Lee Adama [male] punching Starbuck [female] in the face. They don't have the ability to process that data the way a grown person would, to pick up on the nuances. I don't care how smart you're going to tell me your child is. I have smart kids, too. IT IS NOT THE SAME, and you're kidding yourself if you think it is.

A child - young teen - whatever does not have the brain capacity to really and truly suss things out on their own. Not the same way an adult does. What a child hears from their respected peers is gospel. That's like, the problem with teenagers. If they don't have the right peers, life becomes a shit sandwich quickly, right? RIGHT. Otherwise, there has been a lot of wasted time on After School Specials.

So when they read - and I'm sorry, but a person is influenced by what they read ESPECIALLY when they are young and impressionable:

  • that the dad doesn't care that a boy forced himself on his daughter and actually LAUGHS when he hears it

  • the girl is the sole house keeper and cook, anyone else contributing is laughable

  • the mother isn't even present because she's so wrapped up in her man

  • all of her boyfriend's relatives exist as couples and her boyfriend isn't complete until he is also in a committed relationship

  • it's ok for her boyfriend to sabotage her vehicle to control where she goes and who she sees

  • college, career, life beyond her high school boyfriend ISN'T EVEN AN OPTION

  • pregnancy that will kill her is Meant To Be - oh, and that pregnancy is just months after high school graduation


when they read this, they learn some terrible, HARMFUL concepts. And when every adult (my son's teachers, her friends' mothers, etc. etc.) fawns over how Edward is perfect for all of the above things, and that he's the Ultimate Ideal Man... How can you stand there and tell me with a straight face that it's a good thing? That a kid isn't going to learn the wrong things?

You may love this material for the crackiness, for the slash that you've made up about Edward and Jacob, or whomever you're rooting for in made up slashland (sorry, Meyer is Mormon. There is no gay subtext. Shit, there's no subtext of any kind beyond LDS dogma of conversion, and it was unintentional, imo) but you are an adult.

For those of you old enough to remember The Facts Of Life, remember the episode when Tootie goes ape shit over Jermaine Jackson? (The only Jackson the show could afford, I'm sure.) She loses her fucking mind over him, obsessing about his every thought, desire, etc. to the point of having a panic attack at the thought of not going to his concert. Mrs. Garrett is terrified of the passion she sees in little Tootie. (LOL. But wait, this is going somewhere!) That was a COMPLETELY ACCURATE EXAMPLE of how teen girls can get. Go watch old footage of The Beatles hitting the US shores. Or Elvis getting on a train to go to the Army. Whether you like it or not, this is the same level of obsession for these kids. I'll leave it up to you to decide if Elvis the Pelvis was as damaging to young girls as Edward the Stalker. (Hint: no, he wasn't.)



I say this because it's becoming apparent that people are hand waving this crap as adults viewing the material, not realizing that young girls (and some guys) are being taught some really scary, old school misogyny, cloaked as Third Wave Feminism. Um, not even close. Like, not even in the same universe. FEH.

In conclusion, I've not changed my mind about that dreck, you all are awesome, and Happy Canada Day. :)

Comments

( 115 comments — Leave a comment )
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shipperx
Jul. 1st, 2010 04:21 pm (UTC)
One bright spot, if it's become this pervasive for thirteen year olds, then it will be roundly mocked and sooo over by the time they're fifteen. Like Brittany Spears.
stoney321
Jul. 1st, 2010 04:25 pm (UTC)
Let's hope that there isn't too much damage from it, though.
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dampersnspoons
Jul. 1st, 2010 04:23 pm (UTC)
"The hand that rocks the cradle is the hand that rules the world." -- Tag line for twilightmoms.com

Do you think that was intentionally creepy? I think it probably wasn't. But now I have something juicy to whisper to my mother on her death bed. /Jack Donaghy.
stoney321
Jul. 1st, 2010 04:27 pm (UTC)
I LOVE YOU BETH. (Also, I left you a voicemail the other day. And I still mean it. Also, I have a lock of your hair and your toenail clippings and soon I will have one of you of my own. To... do things...to.)
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gabzilla
Jul. 1st, 2010 04:25 pm (UTC)
you must see this
http://www.harkavagrant.com/index.php?id=202

It's hysterical and so true, and I wonder what 'ol Anne would have to say about Twilight.
It goes to show that there have been a lot of fucked up romanticized behaviors - Hello, I'm secretly married to a woman in the attic...

The only book that my dad refused to be read in the house was Ayn Rand. Never saw him put his foot down like that, EVER.
stoney321
Jul. 1st, 2010 04:28 pm (UTC)
Re: you must see this
Oh my god, that's AWESOME. Thanks for that link!

And I love your dad for his stance, btw. No one should be subjected to The Fountainhead or Atlas Shrugged. No one. *steely gaze at nothing*
Re: you must see this - gabzilla - Jul. 1st, 2010 04:42 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: you must see this - judetwee - Jul. 1st, 2010 05:15 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: you must see this - sternbunny - Jul. 2nd, 2010 07:06 pm (UTC) - Expand
oatmellow
Jul. 1st, 2010 04:31 pm (UTC)
completely off topic here...

I blogged about Pee Wee's Playhouse today...and look at your avatar! Kismet.

I let my 12 year old read the series because my mom never once questioned my reading materials (and trust me, I read Jackie Collins at 13 years old...she maybe should have...) BUT I did talk to him a long time about the message the story sends. We discussed at length proper behavior of a boy dating a girl and that STALKING and CONTROLLING HER EVERY MOVE was not the way to go. Also we discussed that girls have legs and can actually walk on their own, despite the fact that Bella seems to always be carried everywhere.

He gets it. He has even had indepth discussions with his Twi-crazy girlfriends about how Edward is a bit of a stalker and that if a boy ever watches them sleep outside their window, they should call the cops. Sadly, they think it's romantic AND THAT'S SCARY AS SHIT TO ME.
stoney321
Jul. 1st, 2010 05:14 pm (UTC)
PEE WEE IS ALWAYS RELEVANT TO MY INTERESTS!

I don't shield my kids from stuff (in their age group, I'm not shoving copies of the Kama Sutra into my 8 year old's hands) but I do want to talk about it with them, as you said.

LOL, I asked in my original reviews why Bella's leg muscles didn't atrophe from lack of use, too. UGH, I just hate that whole series and the horrible messages!
brunettepet
Jul. 1st, 2010 04:33 pm (UTC)
The messages in these books are disturbing. They're all about a young woman putting her life aside because being in a relationship is what she needs to have self worth. The fact that her boyfriend is emotionally and psychologically abusive is barely a blip on fans' radar. It's frightening that grown women encourage their children to not only read these books but to find them romantic. They're not romance novels, they're indoctrination in gender stereotyping I'd hoped we were moving away from.

Umm, Happy Canada Day, right back at you.
stoney321
Jul. 1st, 2010 05:15 pm (UTC)
They ARE indoctrination! And coming from a religion that's all about indoctrination and separatism, I'm kind of an authority on that shit. O_O

I'm going to celebrate with bacon and politeness!
(Deleted comment)
stoney321
Jul. 1st, 2010 05:15 pm (UTC)
WAKE UP, PEOPLE!
risingtofall
Jul. 1st, 2010 04:52 pm (UTC)
hahaha totally agree, as always love reading your take on Twilight. I read the books, all of them back before when people who didn't read the books knew anything. I think now, if you asked someone on the street who has never read the books or seen the movie can tell you exactly what it's about and what's laughable about it just because it's impossible to avoid. One thing you didn't mention that I found particularly upsetting is the second book and movie that she keeps putting herself in risky life or death situations just to grab the attention of the guy who just broke up with her. What kind of message does THAT send to young girls.

And I think it's shocking that the question of whether or not the messages these books send aren't really being questioned at all in pop culture. The shows that would usually discuss that are too busy clamoring to get the stars on their shows or to be the show the fans tune into. It's pretty disgusting.
stoney321
Jul. 1st, 2010 05:16 pm (UTC)
That's an excellent point you've raised: why isn't the media taking these books/films to task more for the damaging message of stalkerism, controlling relationships, etc?
enigmaticblues
Jul. 1st, 2010 04:54 pm (UTC)
Honestly, I don't understand how grown women like this shit. I understand why pre-teens and teenagers do, to a certain extent. They're too young to know better, and there are things that I loved at that age that I cringe to think of now.

The most I can hope for is that this Twilight shit will have blown over by the time I have kids.
stoney321
Jul. 1st, 2010 05:18 pm (UTC)
I get why grown women like this shit. I just happen to not be that type of grown woman. But you're completely spot on: kids are too young to know better.

(Reasons grown women like this: a man who is independently wealthy, has nice things, has a family that loves to give presents and has nothing better to do than to heap attention and concern and focus on a dumpy, dowdy, klutzy nothing of a girl and tell her that she's the most important thing on EARTH to him. Translation, there are a lot of lonely/bored women in the world.)
estrella30
Jul. 1st, 2010 05:30 pm (UTC)
I know where you're coming from with this, though as I said in Kassie's post as well I'm not a hundred percent on board with equalling the post you linked to to being *about* Twilight exactly. It was somewhat about Twilight, but also somewhat about girls in general in a fannish sense, and also somewhat about her kid who she posts about frequently.

I'm not just saying this because I've been "friends" in the internet sense with the OP for many years now, but I think it would be corteous of you to maybe drop her a comment letting her know you've linked to her post in a semi-negative light. I'm not saying it will definitely happen, but we all know fandom and if someone reads your post here and then goes and comments along those lines to HER post it might be nice if she knew where it was coming from.
stoney321
Jul. 1st, 2010 05:43 pm (UTC)
Not being about Twilight, meaning the post in The Fourth Vine's LJ? Yeah, I can concede that her original post isn't 100% about supporting Twilight, but it being about supporting fangirls. Which, I can get behind supporting fannishness, except in cases where they're all about something that I find incredibly harmful. That's the part I take exception to.

I wondered if I should have commented there saying I disagree, because I didn't want to start any wank with her, because I really don't think she's doing anything but being a generally supportive person. I do think I should make a further comment (to the one I've already made after the link) that I again do not think she's doing anything purposefully wrong in being a supportive person.
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fabrisse
Jul. 1st, 2010 05:31 pm (UTC)
One thing I emphasize to the 12 year olds I tutor: If someone acts like Edward in your real life, get a restraining order. This is not romantic behavior.
stoney321
Jul. 1st, 2010 05:43 pm (UTC)
Right, right, right.
effervescent
Jul. 1st, 2010 05:40 pm (UTC)
I despise the material, but I still see similarities between the ways the girls are expressing themselves and the way adult fans do. The popularity plays into it, yes - but popularity played into Harry Potter fandom as well, a hell of a lot. I can empathise with the girls who are fannish about Twilight in the same way that I can empathise with the girls who are fannish about the newest boy band, because I get where they're coming from - but in my head, at least, it's separate from how I view the media they're consuming.
stoney321
Jul. 1st, 2010 05:54 pm (UTC)
I don't have a problem with girls being into stuff and being fannish about stuff. I used to have tea parties with Luke and Leia as a 7 year old.

But I have major issues with adults encouraging girls to lap this particular stuff up - the entire source material is damaging, imo. That's really what this is about.
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ethrosdemon
Jul. 1st, 2010 05:41 pm (UTC)
I just independently made The Beatles and Elvis analogy myself!

Going further, the argument I did not make to the assertion that girls being united after some enthusiasm is by itself good and worthwhile no matter that the source of the enthusiasm is--the Hitler Youth.
stoney321
Jul. 1st, 2010 05:44 pm (UTC)
AGAIN: WE ARE MFEO. Every conversation we have just furthers this perception I have, btw.

And lol - Godwins! Also, in your post yesterday I made (only semi-jokingly) a correlation between NAMBLA and "well, but they like it, so..."
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tabaqui
Jul. 1st, 2010 05:55 pm (UTC)
Ah ha ha. Yes, to all this. And frankly, i'm a bit disappointed in your first link, as i've read her posts on Star Trek and fanfiction and thought she had a bit more sense than that. Eh.

The SO is taking the Bebe to see the latest movie tonight. She still wants to see it despite telling me - quite vehemently - that Edward is stupid and she hates him and Jacob can kick his ass.

We talked quite a bit about the books, the characters, the blank pages of Bella's blank, nothing life while Edward was gone, and i think that - to the extent that a thirteen-year-old can get it - the Bebe realizes that what's going on in those books is really not *normal* or good or something to strive for.

She used to be pretty wired about the whole deal, but she's come off it quite a bit in the past eight months or so, drifting into stuff like Death Note and Fallout3 and *texting*, because she finally got the grades to get a phone and omg, thank fuck for unlimited texting.

So i think Twilight is a 'thing' to her, but not the all-consuming thing it is for so many, for which i'm so very grateful.
stoney321
Jul. 1st, 2010 05:59 pm (UTC)
ACK - don't go after the OP in that link, pls.
I really really REALLY don't think she's as familiar with the source material as we are. That's the attitude I'm taking. I think ultimately her post is about girls in fandom, but she's expressing it through her viewing of twilight girls, not putting too much thought into any meta beyond her experience at the theater.

I'm glad that you've had so many great discussions with your daughter - I think that's lacking with a lot of mother-daughter dynamics. Like, the mothers aren't really thinking clearly about the material, either.
ladycyndra
Jul. 1st, 2010 05:59 pm (UTC)
BIG MASSIVE WORD TO ALL OF THIS!!! Thank you SO MUCH for speaking out against Twilight. You are one of the few people out there that are brave enough to do this and its SCARY that if anyone says just ONE NEGATIVE THING about this crap, you're automatically ridiculed and ANGRILY too.

The Twimoms are just CREEPY, something I wouldn't want to touch with a 100 foot pole! Don't they go and stalk the sets, expecting to get an audience with the cast just because they have a site dedicated to it? *shivers* Very CREEPY!!

I can't BELIEVE your sons teacher basically PUSHED Twilight onto him! GRR!! I mean WHAT?? That shit aint on! That is what makes this whole thing worse: The ADULTS that are into this and thinking its no big deal and that all girls should strive for that kind of life and go for the kind of man Edward is. HELL NO!!! NO NO NO NO NO!!!!

*breathes* Do you mind if I link this to my journal?
stoney321
Jul. 1st, 2010 06:05 pm (UTC)
Your first paragraph: that just reiterates my whole point in this post which is that Twilight is not some old school DnD type fandom of the misfits banding together. This is about The Cultural Phenomenon and if you're not on board, there must be something wrong with you. It's all over OPRAH, for Pete's sake.

I have problems with adult encouragement for this stuff, too. (Obviously.) It's like they've completely divorced themselves of reality and have forgotten what young kids are like at that age.

And sure, you can link - I just hope people get that the discussion is HERE and not in that person's journal, because hers was just a casual "Oh, this is great!" type post.
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rocketlaunching
Jul. 1st, 2010 06:14 pm (UTC)
13 year old me would totally hang out with your daughter and NOT watch Twilight together. 19 year old me now wants to just give her a high five for realizing from the beginning that Twilight is harmful to girls. I have high, high hopes for the generation coming after me if they're all like her.

Btw, was this post perhaps inspired by the writer's block question on the homepage? I raged when I saw it.
stoney321
Jul. 1st, 2010 06:17 pm (UTC)
UGH, no, I hadn't seen that. But it just furthers my point about the pervasiveness of Twilight and how people don't seem to be thinking critically in regards to the appropriateness of this crap for young girls. (Or anyone, because it's just awful.)
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Are You Actually

Reading this? I'm just curious. Because that's really detail-oriented of you. Feel free to stop reading. But you can see that there's more here, so are you going to keep reading? Really? That's pretty dedicated. I'm impressed. No, really. I'm not being sarcastic, why do you get like that? See, this is the problem I have with your mother - yes. YES. I'm going there. It's time we put all of our cards on the table.

I love you, why are you doing this? After all we've been through? You don't have to be like this. You know, still reading. You could be baking a pie. And then sharing it with me.

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