Page 3 of 3   <      

Women living in 'Twilight' will not apologize for loving Edward, Bella and Jacob

Actors Robert Pattinson and Taylor Lautner greeted a frenzy of fans at the Hollywod premiere of "Twilight: New Moon." Hattie Kauffman reports.

E-mail 3:

I have a serious problem with ["New Moon"]. My problem is I can't put it down.

E-mail 4:

Where the heck is Edward? The suspense is killing me!

Oh, Mrs. West. Welcome.

Witness the downfall of Sarah Seltzer, a freelance literary critic who also writes for a reproductive rights Web site:

"I wanted to write about the abstinence subtext," Seltzer says, which is why she read the books to begin with. She planned on questioning the allegorical "abstinence only" theme that runs through the series. "But the books are kind of hypnotic, so it's very much that while you're reading them you're sucked in, and then you take a step back and you think, this is kind of troubling. She jumps off a cliff because she misses her boyfriend?" What?!

"New Moon" shows Bella at her most pathetic, and so the grown women who love "Twilight" have methodically come up with rebuttals to the accusations that the character is anti-feminist. Perhaps her single-minded desire for a relationship is actually a Third Wave feminist expression? Maybe it doesn't matter that she's choosing Edward over everything else, as long as it's her choice? Maybe her wish to become a vampire is really a metaphor for asserting her rights over her own body?

Is Bella regressing or progressive? The past or the future?

And Edward -- Edward might be imperfect, might be too possessive, but then why does he still seem so insanely dreamy?

"I remember when the movie first came out," says Mindy Goodin, 36, a special needs teacher in Stafford. "I remember thinking," whoever that boy is, "he really needs to brush his hair."

How things have changed. Recently, when Goodin's 10-year-old daughter wanted to lash out, she did so by yelling the words she knew would cut her mother to the core: "I don't even think Robert Pattinson's cute, anyway!"

For mothers of tweenage girls, there are added complications. Is it sweet or twisted to share the same crush as your 14-year-old? (Taylor Lautner as Jacob. Ahhhhhhh. Only 17. Ewwwww.) How do you reconcile cooing over an on-screen relationship that, if your daughter had it in real life, might be worth a restraining order?

What women want

It's just a movie. It's just a movie. It's just a movie.

It's just a movie -- well, movie and books -- but it's a movie that's come to represent such big things, from the future of girls to what women really want (they want men who will shut up and come to watch "New Moon," and not ask how many points they're getting for the evening).

Men feel perfectly comfortable slathering their chests in greasepaint and screaming like half-naked ninnies at football games, but women too often over-explain their passions, apologizing for being too girly or liking something too trashy.

The grown women of "Twilight" will no longer apologize. They will go to those midnight "New Moon" screenings.

But as for telling them how silly they're being, how Edward is not real and neither is Jacob, how their brains are rotting and their sense of reality is being distorted and this obsession is crazy, just crazy? There's really no need.

They already know.

<          3

© 2009 The Washington Post Company