Posts Tagged ‘Bella Swan’

Like love (and Christmas), sociology is all around us.  It is always interesting to see entertainment outlets take sociological approaches to the media.  Entertainment Weekly recently examined the conflicting views of Bella Swan and her supernatural friends in the Twilight series of books and films, arguing that one’s view of the characters is connected to differing ideals “of what love and sex and romance should look like and feel like, of what they should be“:

A movie like Eclipse may be a far cry from art, but it’s increasingly clear, at least to me, that the movie hits a nerve, even in people who say they hate it, because it embodies a paradigm shift: a swooning re-embrace of traditional, damsel-meets-caveman values by a new generation of young women who are hearkening back, quite consciously, to the romantic-erotic myths of the past. The Bella Swan view of the world may, on the surface, be the opposite of “rebellious,” but the reason her story sets so many hearts aflame is that it is, in a way, a rebellion — against the authority represented by a generation of women’s-studies classes. Bella’s story is, by nature, a meditative, even meandering one because it’s the story of how she wants to be acted upon, to be loved, desired, coveted, fought over, protected. A movie like Eclipse represents nothing less than a new and unambiguous embrace, by women, of the male gaze.

This analysis is even more enlightening when you consider that the world of Twilight, especially in the books, is a place with dial-up internet where a vampire lends his human girlfriend (who he is constantly terrified will be harmed) his cell phone because she doesn’t have one of her own and where a junior in high school who has gone on one date with a boy in her class before prom hopes that is enough to lead to a first kiss on prom night.  In contrast to media descriptions of teen binge drinking and hook ups, I’m not surprised that this world has found an audience who yearns (morosely, if they follow the lead of their favorite characters) for a different image of teen life.

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