The Twilight Series, Kristen Stewart, Robert Pattinson, and the Death of True Romance
No, this will not be a Twilight-tirade. I've read plenty of those (as I'm sure you have too) and I have no desire to bash the books, the author, the films, or the actors. This is about you and me. O.k., not you, as in you personally, but rather the all-of-us-are-in-this-human-mess-of-hormones-and-emotional-chaos-together you and me.
I read the Twilight books in the Summer of 2008, mostly over the weekends. Well to be completely honest, I read all of the books except about 2/3 of New Moon. I couldn't stand the teenage depression / angst that was painfully described in all kinds of teary, love-sick detail. In summation, I think Eclipse was the most promising, followed closely by Twilight, New Moon was a literary catastrophe, and Breaking Dawn was just … well, bizarre. But all in all, I thought the series was fun and interesting, albeit unbelievable and occasionally annoying. I've seen all the movies and thought them awkwardly hilarious, regardless of all the obnoxiously shirtless-teenage-boys-flexing-every-few-minutes scenes. So I wouldn't call myself a Twilight basher nor lover. I am relatively "fencing it," as it were. I definitely wouldn't discourage girls from reading the books, though I'm sure countless of you would disagree with my liberality. I think Twilight says a lot of truth about the human heart's desires, though it spectacularly fails at identifying the true source of their fulfillment. It is not the series, in and of itself, that is the problem here, but rather what so many of us—married women in particular—take away from it.
The Plot Gets Messy
Like I've already alluded, the problem with Twilight is not Twilight, in and of itself, but our reaction to it. While being a fun, if a bit frivolous series, it has a dangerous contagion that spreads rapidly through us, poisoning our all-too-human brains. We're women (unless you're a man reading this, in which case, please use a bit of imagination). We want to be completely loved, completely known, completely cared for, completely needed. We desire to be wooed, fought for, but respected as equals, able (if not willing) to fight for ourselves. We want to be prized, seen as beautiful and lovely, but most of all, we want to be desired. More than anything, we want to be seen as the ultimate prize. We desire to be desired above all other things, all other achievements, and all other relationships. We want to be ultimate. While wanting to be wanted is good, a hard-wired facet of God's original design, being ultimate is absolutely NOT. That desire is the root of all sins: the pride to not only enjoy all of God's creation, but to also be our own god. Letting every good and beautiful thing terminate on us is the sickest, most perverse treatment of God's craftsmanship. It is the same pride that Eve tasted when she bit into the forbidden fruit in pursuit of her own aggrandizement, regardless of the cost.
It's the same selfish thinking that women enslave themselves to as they spend over " £1,000 a year on clothes" while wearing only "a third of their wardrobe" (Dailymail.co.uk). Shopping consumes our thoughts on a minute by minute level. "The survey, for fashion website cosmopolitan.co.uk, interviewed 778 women between 19 and 45, and 74 per cent admitted to thinking about shopping every minute. " (Telegraph.co.uk). We are obsessed with the endless pursuit of beauty. We spend our money, time, and even our inner-self devoured by our hunger for physical perfection and her fabled life-long companion, love. This is not o.k. In the same vein as men's addiction to sex, in all of its forms, we are addicted to perfection.
"And you were dead in the trespasses and sins 2in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience— among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind." -Ephesians 2:1-4
And the impractical, impossible relationship between Bella and Edward spray gasoline on our addiction's fire. He loves her no matter what she does, says, or thinks. He loves her, in other words, regardless of her. Even inspite of her. That kind of love is never, never attainable from a human man for a human woman. It is absolute fiction. To make my point a bit clearer, I would like to refer you to
Didn't Catch that? This might help:
Here's the point. It's not just fiction because vampires and werewolves don't exist. It's fiction because love like that doesn't exist. No husband, no wife, no one, ever, can or will love each other completely selflessly.
We are sinful from birth, and as such, carry in us all kinds of selfishness, pride, anger, bitterness, deceit, competition, and disunity. Through Christ alone can we ever achieve true selflessness, though never to completion until we are reunited with him. So when we read these books, see the films, read the headlines about Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattinson's apparent mirrored relationship to the characters that they play, we think "Why can't I have that?" Enter the seed of dissatisfaction.
Compared to Edward, no man looks appealing. Our husbands don't have 100 years of experience and wisdom, iron-bones / muscles, high-cheekbones, and an indelible sense of romance. They don't have their chests exposed in photoshopped perfection on the walls of thirteen-year-olds's rooms across America. And because of their inability to meet such irrational, totally out of proportion expectations, we find them wanting. Couple this with men's irrational expectation of chest-waist-hips ratios adopted from years of inundation with online porn and you've got yourself a typical, unhappy, and short-lived (4.3 years) American marriage.
But God . . .
"But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved— and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, 9not a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them." - Ephesians 2:4-10