Twilight-Fiction Not Reality

As a way to make sure that our HAVEN materials and curricula are age appropriate for tweens and teens, we created a Teen Advisory Council (TAC). TAC is comprised of several teens for local high schools, donating their time, opinions and talents with us.  We invited TAC member Julia Nagy to blog for us about the very popular Twilight movie series.  Great insights and though provoking for any of us with young people in our lives.  Thanks Julia!

Fiction not Reality
Fans of the Twilight Saga are not only sinking their teeth into the books and movies, but they’re also biting into the idea of unhealthy relationships.  We, HAVEN’s Teen Advisory Council, wanted to get the word out about Twilight’s portrayal of unhealthy relationships.  We were planning to go to a theater and pass out bookmarks with information about healthy relationships.  Unfortunately, the theatres that we contacted were not interested.
Even though our original plan has failed, that doesn’t take away from the fact that Twilight portrays unhealthy relationships and what’s worse, markets these unhealthy relationships to a young audience—tweens—that might not know what a healthy relationship is.  Even teens for that matter might not have a full grasp of what a healthy relationship is. 

“Oh, but Twilight portrays true love,” fans have argued.  So, let’s take arranged marriages for example.  Is being forced to marry someone true love?  Imprinting (which is when a werewolf “imprints” on someone else, meaning that they are “destined” to be together) is just like an arranged marriage.  Neither the werewolf nor the imprintee has a choice in the matter, and the werewolf sees to it that his “true love” never falls in love with anyone else.  He steers the direction of her life down any path he wants.  Healthy relationships are about choice, not control.

Twilight shows that “true love” is about control and power and, at times, stalking.  Edward and Bella, the book’s central couple, apparently are experiencing “true love.”  However, it’s not true love when Edward climb’s into Bella’s room without her knowledge or consent and watches her sleep.  It’s not true love when Edward disables Bella’s car so she can’t visit the people she wants to see.  It’s not true love when Bella is so dependent on Edward that when he leaves, she throws herself into suicidal situations to see him. 

We want to spread the message that the relationships portrayed in these films and books involve control, power, and jealousy. Abuse is not love.  A healthy relationship is about equality, mutual respect, and trust.  But how can a young girl or boy realize this, when the book their reading equates “true love” to an abusive relationship? 

One in three teens will be a victim of dating violence, and what will happen to that statistic when these Twilight tweens become teens?  Will it be one in two teens?  Will it be all teens? 

Everyone has the right to enjoy and read what they want to, that includes Twilight.  However, we believe that there needs to be a conversation about the unhealthy relationships illustrated in the series.  There’s a difference between fiction and reality, and in Twilight’s case, I hope that fiction doesn’t become reality.










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3 responses to “Twilight-Fiction Not Reality

  1. alicia

    ok this is not an unhealthy relationships…if you actually read the books you would know that…and by reading what the TAC is made up of TEENS who most likely have not been in love and know what its like when your loved one is not around with you…as a military wife and a mom of 2 young daughters i see nothing wrong with this saga or anthing that has to do with these FAKE situations and people people know the saga isnt real and just because i do love the saga doesnt mean i’m gonna act like ‘bella’ when my husband has to leave!!!

    • Julia Nagy

      I’ve actually read the books, all of them, and I’ve seen all the movies, and I know for sure that the relationships portrayed in Twilight are not healthy. You may be able to distinguish between reality and fiction and so may younger people, but fantasising about a relationship like Bella and Edward’s may subconciously affect ones idea of a healthy relationship. You don’t think these relationships are unhealthy–that’s fine, you are entitled to your opinion, but let me ask you, would you feel different if your two young daughters were in relationships like those portrayed? Would you be okay with your daughters having boyfriends that break into their houses to watch them sleep? Would you be okay with their boyfriends if they disable your daughters’ cars so they couldn’t see you? Would you be okay with the fact that if your daughters break up with their boyfriends, that they would want to put themselves in dangerous and deadly situtations just to see their boyfriends again? I love the books and I’m not against the books, but I am against spreading the message of unhealthy relationships and that’s why I feel parents need to discuss this with their children who are reading Twilight.

  2. Liz Oakes

    This article featured the opinion of one of our members of teen advisory council, and the opinion of one is always open to debate. Teens are statistically at a higher risk for domestic violence then any other age group, so it is likely that either themselves or a friend have experienced domestic violence, despite their young age. Thus, their experiences with domestic violence would add to their credibility. Our teen’s concern is that at 12, 13 youth aren’t able to separate fact from fiction (as well as you appear to be able to). As teens, we idolize what we see in films and try to emulate it. The concern of this group was teens viewing some of the signs seen in unhealthy relationships (having a boyfriend watching you sleep, etc) as something to aspire after.

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