Several weeks before Breaking Dawn crawls out of the coffin [August 2, baayyyyybeeee!], New York Times columnist Gail Collins examines the appeal of the Twilight series by Stephenie Meyer. Jessica Valenti and Courtney Martin, both of Feministing, a blog I check frequently, provide input. Valenti and Martin observe that lusty and repressed Edward represents a chaste and non-threatening affection, sexually speaking. [We won’t address the fact that his emotionally manipulative and controlling acts make him a prime example of an abusive personality.] His cuddly sexlessness represents one extreme that today’s teen girls are pulled toward.
Courtney Martin, the author of “Perfect Girls, Starving Daughters,” spends a lot of time on college campuses and says students seem to be torn between anonymous sex and monogamy — “either hooking up with no expectations or you’re basically married. You stay home and watch movies.”
The implication is that a balance should be struck, that young women who are growing up and exploring their sexuality should not be bound to emotionally involving but sexless chastity or anonymous, promiscuous activity without emotional connection. Ideally, these young women should find sexual identities that incorporate both human drives to be understood and get laid. The Twilight series, with its extreme insistence on sexual repression, does no justice to the variety of human experience. And this is only one of the reasons it’s so bad.