Wednesday, December 9, 2009

The Twilight Saga - Is It Really "Just" a Book/Movie?

This blog is guest-written by Hope House staff members Lee Marlin (Director of Marketing) and Diane Marty (Vice President of Development). The topic was suggested by more than one of their friends and associates. As neither had yet read the book Twilight or seen the movie, guess what they did over Thanksgiving break? Below are their musings following the read-and-blog exercise. We – and especially Lee & Diane – would welcome your thoughts and feedback.

The Twilight Saga series of books and movies have taken the world by storm. The latest movie (New Moon) had the third highest opening weekend box office ever. Aimed squarely at teen girls, this series tells the tale of a high school girl (Bella) who falls in love with a vampire (Edward).

Blogs and newspaper articles (see, for instance, have been hot in the last two weeks discussing the unhealthy nature of Edward and Bella’s relationship.

Consider, as many blogs are pointing out, that Edward “[is] there every time she turns around (stalking), and constantly tells her where to go and what to do (controlling)”. Further, both Edward and Bella are poignantly aware that Bella is in constant danger that he might kill her at any moment.

One blog went through 15 Red Flags of Domestic Violence and answered “yes” to all of them in regards to Edward and Bella’s relationship. But Twilight fans responded with “Get real… he’s a vampire! It’s just a book! It’s just a movie!”

But when fiction becomes phenomenon is it really “just a book” or “just a movie” to an impressionable adolescent audience? That’s the real question…and may pose the real danger.

It’s not our position in sharing these thoughts that anyone should be dissuaded from reading the books or watching the movies. But when potentially dangerous behaviors become pop culture phenomena, let’s use it as a teachable moment.

Discuss the behaviors with friends and children reading the books or seeing the movies. Look into the red flags of an abusive relationship. ( Talk with your teens (boys and girls) and your friends about what is and isn’t acceptable behavior in a relationship. Let them know that being in love shouldn’t mean being in danger.

A great online resource is This website has a section geared toward parents and another aimed at teens. They also have a peer-to-peer live chat where your teen can log on to ask questions if they’re reluctant to call a hotline.

If you are someone – or know someone – in a dangerous or potentially dangerous relationship, please call the Hope House hotline at 816-461-HOPE (4673).


  1. You know what this is real thinking. If young girls romanticize this kind of thinking they will think it is okay. I haven't seen the movie but I see the point you are making. It just reminds me that parents have to parent and fathers like me need to make sure their daughters know have the knowledge and confidence to know what to expect/demand from a healthy relationship with a boy. Thank you. This post is a good wake up call for me.

  2. JOCOeveryman, your daughters are lucky to have a dad that wants to discuss this sort of thing with them. So many teens are just on their own when it comes to dating. If their parents don't show them/tell them what's right and healthy, then Hollywood is certainly waiting to do it for them!

    I hope you and your family have a wonderful holiday.

    ~Lee Marlin, guest blogger

  3. This is silly, I am a big fan of the Twilight series and it is not as it is being portrayed. This is a love story, much like Romeo and Juliet. She is a forbiden love, he "stalks" he because he has to protect her from other Vampires. It is a big hit because Edward behaves like a gentleman, not often seen in today's society. I am also an abuse survivor and do not see any similarites with the Twilight saga and an abusive relationship, quite the opposite. Edward is made to be the "knight in shining armour" who saves Bella from this trecherous world.

  4. Anonymous,
    I agree that many of the blogs went ridiculously over the top on this subject, but in the end the important point we were trying to make in our blog was simply "talk to your kids about relationships". If it takes a movie to open that discussion, then use the opportunity.

    Congratulations on getting out of your abusive relationship. If you find you still need help coping with the aftermath, I'd like to encourage you to call the Hope House hotline at 816-461-HOPE (4673). No charge, no demands. Just someone to talk to if needed.

    ~Lee Marlin, guest blogger