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Wednesday, April 1, 2009
On a Serious Note
I had two options for my evening. Write a new blog post or watch the elimination on American Idol. Though since my beloved Kai got eliminated oh so long ago, I admit I just don't care for this season as much. Sure, there are good singers, but eh. I liked Kai. And he is gone. (Despite his awesome nickname abilities: American Kai-dol. Teehee.)
Unlike most of my posts, this is a little more serious. A lot more serious. And it's a subject I'm personally familiar with, so the insane glorification of it lately has left me fearing an epidemic. Hopefully you all have recognized it too; it's one of those silent-but-deadly things that far too many girls (because, lets face it, guys aren't as widely affected by this) are unaware of. What am I talking about? Here I go:
Everyone knows they're "bad." Everyone knows they don't want to be in one. But what I'm seeing lately is a slow and completely unintentional brainwashing of young, impressionable girls into thinking abusive relationships are okay. Magical, even. Quite frankly, I am sick of this. Sick. Of. It. This is both a PSA and a plea, a desperate beg, to authors everywhere to STOP writing characters like this.
Characters like Edward Cullen. Yes, I'm going there. Sorry Edward fans -- agree or disagree, but this is what I'm seeing happen (seeing firsthand -- my sister is adamantly in the belief that he is a sexy dreamboat of a boyfriend). But remove the actual story and look at the facts of what Edward does: he keeps Bella from her family; he won't be with her unless she fulfills certain "requirements," changes very materialistic things about herself (the car she drives, her stance on wearing engagement rings/getting married); he breaks into her house and hides in her room while she sleeps; he does all this under the banner of "I know what's best for you. You have to do this." While Meyer wrote all these things to be innocent and charming in a young-love way, they ARE NOT charming. These things, however portrayed, are never okay. Hearing them for what they are (alienation, ultimatums of the petty and controlling sort, stalking, manipulation) automatically evoke the response of "No. These things are wrong." But in the context Meyer put them in, in a "true love" relationship, they're disguised as all right.
Maybe I'm blowing it out of proportion. Maybe I'm making too big a deal out of this. But hearing my sister say that these things are CUTE is disgusting and terrifying, and I'm very angry with Stephenie Meyer for telling her legion of tween-age fans that these things are all right. Thousands of girls get into abusive relationships without seeing it, and don't realize until afterward how they could've avoided it. But now, with Edward Cullen as the prime love example, girls will be LOOKING for men like him? I can't stomach that.
The most disturbing part of all this is the response girls have to being told Edward Cullen is a horrible example of a boyfriend. I went to the Breaking Dawn release party last August, wearing a Team Jacob shirt. Edward fans, whom I didn't know, would come up to me and make snide remarks about "that stupid dog." When I asked them what Jacob did wrong and pointed out what Edward did wrong, they would get red-faced angry and stomp away. People at this release party throughout the night continued to get angry because of my Team Jacob shirt. At first it was funny (and kind of still is...). Now, though, it's a little worrisome.
Again looking at the facts, Jacob was what should have been the "perfect" boyfriend. He accepted Bella for what/who she was; he helped her become a stronger person; he supported her and comforted her, never pushing her into any decisions about herself; her friends and family approved of him. And yet, despite his good qualities, the Edward fans HATE Jacob. HATE him. And none of them has ever given me a straight answer as to why. They can only say that Edward is better, Edward is better, Edward is better. Which, if you ask someone who is in an abusive relationship why they stay in it, they are so blinded by it that all they know is that he is the one. He is the one. He is the one.
I take advice from a lot of what I read and know that if I had read these books before my own relationship, it would've been a lot harder to let go and get out. Books like these give girls a battle cry:
"Edward did it, so it's all right."
"Maybe my boyfriend really does know what's best. Maybe there's some secret, magical reason he's doing this to me too."
THERE IS NOT a good reason. There never will be. And girls need to STOP being told this is all right behavior.
I know if any hardcore Edward fans read this, I'd probably get cyber-stoned. And maybe it's just my rather cynical view of the male species that makes me pick out every bad detail about Edward, but I honestly do like Jacob. He was the one thing Meyer did right. And he, not Edward, should be who all the tween-fans swoon over and hope for.
To end on a lighter note:
5 posts until Sara's 100th Post Extravanganza! And I have a pretty sweet contest in store. I'm very excited.
Conversation I had with mi prima today:
Nikki: *singing along to a Jonas Brothers CD* ...and I'll fly--
Me: The Jobros can fly?
Nikki: Yep, they have wings.
Me: *eyeroll* They're "angels," right?
Nikki: Nope. They have Red Bull.