For Parents of Girls

Not having time to explore the whole Twilight phenomena (huge book sales, blockbuster movie release, and impact nearly solely among young females), I read what I can when I can about it. This is an interesting take from the Atlantic Monthly. This is not a Christian assessment, of course. But very telling and intriguing for those of us who have or have had girls is this observation:

AS I WRITE this, I am sitting on the guest-room bed of a close friend, and down the hall from me is the bedroom of the daughter of the house, a 12-year-old reader extraordinaire, a deep-sea diver of books. She was the fourth person through the doors of the Westwood Barnes & Noble the midnight that the series’ final volume, Breaking Dawn, went on sale, and she read it—a doorstop, a behemoth—in six hours, and then turned back to page one as though it were the natural successor to the last page.

Posted on this girl’s door—above the fading sticker of a cheery panda hopping over a pink jump rope, and one of a strawberry and a lollipop (their low placement suggesting the highest reach of a very small child), and to the right of an oval-shaped decal bearing the single, angry imperative STOP GLOBAL WARMING—is a small, black, square-shaped sticker that reads MY HEART BELONGS TO EDWARD. In the middle is a photograph of a pair of shapely female hands proffering a red Valentine heart. Also taped to this girl’s closed door is a single piece of lined paper, on which she has written, in a carefully considered amalgam of block letters and swirly penmanship and eight different colors of crayon:

EDWARD’S FAN CLUB
YOU MAY ONLY ENTER IF YOU KNOW THE PASSWORD

That she had made her declaration for Edward on such a pretty, handmade sign was all-girl—as was her decision to leave up the old stickers from her childhood. One of the signal differences between adolescent girls and boys is that while a boy quickly puts away childish things in his race to initiate a sexual life for himself, a girl will continue to cherish, almost to fetishize, the tokens of her little-girlhood. She wants to be both places at once—in the safety of girl land, with the pandas and jump ropes, and in the arms of a lover, whose sole desire is to take her completely. And most of all, as girls work all of this out with considerable anguish, they want to be in their rooms, with the doors closed and the declarations posted. The biggest problem for parents of teenage girls is that they never know who is going to come barreling out of that sacred space: the adorable little girl who wants to cuddle, or the hard-eyed young woman who has left it all behind.

Kinda scary, huh? Yep. Reason #31 parents should be on their knees more than we are.

6 thoughts on “For Parents of Girls

  1. Gus/Adri

    Interesting comment by this writer on the mania over these books. I’ve read of older women – I mean 30-40ish – who are gushing devotees, which I’m at a loss to understand.I was struck by the description of the decal showing a heart in female hands and the accompanying words. I much prefer the Calvin College logo and theme: My heart I offer to you Lord, promptly and sincerely. It’s a quotation from John Calvin and on college gear and clothing usually written in Latin: Cor meum tibi offero Domine, prompte et sincere. It shows a heart in an outstretched hand.–ae

  2. Randy Greenwald

    Very interesting parallel, ae. Much as been made of the fact that the author of the series is a Mormon. But I don’t think that has a thing to do with the cover art.But why are you at a loss to understand the gushing devotion of 30-40ish women (you are 40ish, aren’t you)?

  3. Gus/Adri

    If I were – and thanks very much 🙂 – I possibly might gush, but I think it would be over different literature. My concern, though I have not read the book(s), is that because they are [reportedly] “clean” they will be considered Christian fiction. Sorry, but that’s a term I shudder at anyway. Oops, my bias is showing.–ae

  4. Matthew

    I have not read any of the Twilight books but Alissa has and she loves them. we live in a culture of trash TV, trash books and magazines, trash internet, and trash movies geared toward the young female and male. Throughout there is a persuasive theme of sex. Not just sex but sex with anyone male or female. A theme that you can only truly love someone if your having sex with them with little or no thought to marriage. The twilight books are a wonderful message and I would love for my daughter to be twilight crazy. Edward and Bella are “soul mates” is the best way to describe it. The author makes a point of the fact that they do not have sex until they are married. Yes there is no mention of God she just says he is “old fashioned” but it is looked as something noble.mg

  5. TulipGirl

    I haven’t read these books. . . yet probably will at some point, mostly because of the hype around them and to be able to talk with some of the people in my life who are real fans.I thought this article from Prof. Jones was very interesting:Vampires and Young Female DesireIt raises some yellow flags that I think are worth considering. . .

  6. Rebekah

    That’s a very interesting article TulipGirl. The colossal peeve of a certain sister is the idea that girls have to rely on a hero as they are passive actresses in their own lives–a typecast helpless princess. I tend to be a sucker for hero/princess stories, so I can certainly see the attraction more than others I know might.It does sound vaguely disturbing that, despite the reported wholesomeness of their relationship, there is an undertone that the young woman’s attraction lies in a fixation to the dark underworld–so despite the niceness of that particular vampire family, she likes the darkness that she knows exists in that particular boy. However, I shall withhold judgement until I see the movie/read the books…which I need to do since a lot of people really love them.

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