Twilight moms: Why women are drawn to teens' 'Eclipse'
Among Edward-obsessed teens lining up to see 'The Twilight Saga: Eclipse' are grown women equally taken by the teen love story.
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“It’s not really about bonding with my girls because they’re far too young,” she says, adding with a small laugh that this is just as well. “It’s just about a fun romance for me right now, but when it comes to the girls, I’ll have to get into all that stuff about a boy being a potential monster,” she adds.Skip to next paragraph
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That potential is what interests gender specialist Susan Shapiro Barash. She suggests that the films' dallying with such a softly genteel “monster” – Edward, for those not in the Twi-loop, is a vegetarian teen vampire – reflects this generation of young women’s ambivalence about independence and liberation from traditional sex roles.
“We’ve all drunk the kool-aid at some point in our lives that romantic love has the power to sweep us away and complete something inside of us that is not whole,” she says, pointing out that the romantic fantasy of a chaste love beset by obstacles appeals to the 17 year-old girl that is alive and well inside a woman of any age.
“But, of course, the reality of adult life is so much more complicated – from paying bills, to making a living, and all the rest,” she adds, a fact that has contributed to confusion over gender roles in modern life. “Returning to the teen years, before any of those responsibilities kick in, is an escapist fantasy that is powerful for women of all ages.”
Ms. Barash, the author of “Toxic Friends: The Antidote for Women Stuck in Complicated Friendships,” applauds the global bonding between women that the film and the fan sites represent, calling it a valuable form of “empowerment.”
Echoing a similar sentiment, University of Southern California associate sociology professor Karen Sternheimer points out that the franchise is yet another expression of our fascination and obsession with youth.
“This return to an almost primordial source of power that children and their innocence represent is a powerful force in our culture,” she says, adding that while on the one hand, the vampire is a monster we cannot control or ultimately tame – a throwback to pre-feminist views about men and their raging hormones – they also represent a return to a life force “that many feel they have lost touch with in the daily grind of modern life.”
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