There are probably plenty of parents out there who love Twilight. It's a teenage romance that features no sex and not much violence, and teaches true love rather than prom dates and makeouts under the bleachers. But Twilight is probably the most dangerous movie you could show a 13-year-old girl, especially one who might have her eye on that troubled boy down the street, or the kid who broods in class instead of paying attention. Parents, let me warn you now: Do not let your kids become Twilighters. Or Twekkies. Or whatever they're calling them these days.
The problem actually isn't the rakishly handsome vampire who makes girls scream "OME!!" It's Bella, the allegedly practical and admirable main character who gets completely sucked into a world of pale, sparkly vampires, so much that she's willing to give up her family, friends, and even her life to be with who she believes to be her "true love." Edward actually tries to keep her away, recognizing that, even though he's a vampire who doesn't eat human blood, having her close might be too much for him to resist. He's the kind of 17-year-old who understands the concept of restraint.
Bella is not. She's convinced Edward won't bite her, even though he's clearly struggling not to wring her pretty neck. And eventually she's even ready for Edward to bite her, convinced that an eternal life of struggling not to kill humans is exactly what she needs, now that this handsome guy is in her life. She drifts away from her friends and eventually even rejects her dad. Sounds a little cult-ish once you think about it. I know we're all supposed to believe in Bella and Edward's Twu Wu, but if you were a parent and your daughter said she had to run away forever with the guy she met weeks earlier, wouldn't you be calling the authorities too?
But really, Edward isn't blameless. He says things to Bella like "You are my life now" and the classic "And so the lion fell in love with the lamb," which is just not the kind of thing you say to someone you've known for mere weeks. Particularly when that person is a 17-year-old girl who is convinced that her feelings are all very, very important, and there will never be a romance like the one she has with Edward. This is the way I felt about my boyfriend of two weeks sophomore year of high school, and trust me, it does not last.
I get that Twilight is a Romeo and Juliet, Titanic kind of love story, where the practicalities of life are trumped by the drama of true love. But those are stories that took place in the past, as are most successful stories of romance that overcomes all obstacles; at a modern high school, with an average 17-year-old, it's just too artificial to fit in. Odds are the person you fall in love with in high school will turn out, five years from now, to be a douchebag you don't want to be associated with. Even if you get lucky, you take the time to find out you fit together-- making the irrevocable choice to become a vampire would probably be something you deal with once you go off to college.
Parents, I know it'll be pretty much impossible to keep your kids away from Twilight. But when your teenage daughter comes home mooning over that shaggy-haired kid who seems "so secretive," and then starts missing her curfew, be careful about criticizing him. She might be so convinced he is her Edward that she'll stick with him, even when he proves to just be a loser too lazy to turn off the Xbox and cut his damn hair.