The blog post describes Twilight as the abusive, opposite-of-how-any-relationship (especially a teen relationship) should be, but instead of condemning it there, it uses the series in a way that many of us parents should have thought of before. After all, we use negative media, commercials, and other advertisements to teach our kids how to think critically (Do you really think that drink could make people fly? Sweetie, why do you want to buy those toys? Do you think you will really be able to shoot bad guys with that laser?)—or, at least, I hope most parents do. We also use literature for the same reason. Themes about never giving up, not using violence to solve problems, and other very relevant issues are in plenty of selections used in YA lit. Why wouldn’t we use popular novels for the same thing?
In this light, we can use Twilight to help teach teens how relationships should not be. I’ve already written a bit about the abuse and unhealthy relationships in Twilight before, which seem to be a constant in the author’s works so far. (Her subsequent novel, The Host, also features a man both handling a woman roughly, as well as being verbally abusive to her, though he believes she is an alien inside his former love’s body—there is a whole host of other relationship issues with that novel as well.) If we took the series many girls unfortunately do—“the perfect romance”—such a thing would include hitting one’s lover (or nearly killing her, as the case may be), forcing oneself upon a girl, stalking, emotionally abusing a girlfriend, and plenty of other harmful actions. Loving books is one thing, and I’ve always supported anything that gets people reading, but if girls are really taking this message to heart, it’s a dangerous thing indeed. “But he loves me,” I can just hear a former Twiheard sniffing, covering her purple eye with makeup. “He said he was sorry.”
That’s why it’s so important that we use the series, as this wise Geek Blog mom suggests, as an example of how relationships should not be. We can enjoy a book even if there’s no substance in it (I’ve enjoyed plenty of such reads throughout my life and know for a fact that millions of others have as well), but if the message it carries could endanger our kids, it’s very important that we discuss it with them and tell them and most importantly show them how a healthy relationship should be. And isn’t conversing about the media we absorb an important activity to do as a family anyway?