Monday, March 30, 2009

The Twilight Zone...

I'm going to take a break from my "writing story" tonight (but I will finish... I promise!)

Last night I finally joined the throngs in the Twilight zone... that is, those who have read the book "Twilight" or watched the movie.

Please don't be disappointed in me as a writer, but I went the movie route.

The reason I waited so long was because 1.) I don't do scary stuff. If you're laughing right now at it being scary, well, come on. It's about vampires. I immediately dismissed it. 2.) When it comes to reading books, I don't read a lot of general market fiction. 3.) Did I mention I thought it was scary?

So, you're dying to find out my thoughts, right? *grin*

Well, here's the thing. I actually liked the movie. I've heard that the book wasn't the most, uh, brilliant of writing works, but since I didn't read it I won't pretend to critique or review that.

And, I'm not going to critique the movie either. I took a few minutes to peruse the Internet (*gasp* was that Krista researching?!?) to see what other reviews are out there. Wow, there are certainly those that love and those that hate it, huh?

They range from "Edward is HOT" to "Why are we teaching our teens that an abusive relationship is ok?" to "Holy load of crap!"

Given that my passion in writing is "romance", I'm going to focus on that element, because, to be quite honest, I can't get it out of my head. (Please keep in mind I've only seen the movie, so don't know the rest of the story...)

There was something...unique about this romance. Obviously, a vampire falling in love with a human reeks of an interesting story twist. And it is. But why the craze? Why are teenage girls so enamored with this book/movie? What intrigues them?

Heck, what intrigued ME? The whole time I watched, I told myself, how the heck is this a romance? I couldn't STAND Romeo and Juliet... how is killing yourselves romantic? So, I'm sitting there watching, wondering, WHY am I liking this? WHY does this... a boy telling a girl he loves her but really wants to kill her and drink her blood... make me sigh? Why does my heart do flip-flops when he calls her his "Spidermonkey"? Why do butterflys go crazy in my stomach when they kiss and he has to physically restrain himself?

This should be repulsive, I told myself. I should be turning of the TV. I should hate this.

But I think there are a few things that we, as women, crave, that this story represents. And, there are a few honest truths about romance and relationships where it relates to women. On the surface it's because there is a cute guy and scary vampires. But, the analytical wierdo I am, I really think it goes deeper.

1.) Protection.

No brainer right? But when Edwards says, "I...I feel very protective of you," my heart lurched. Even those who might not admit it, in the end, we desire to be protected. It is this innate desire and need we have. In our current society of "women's rights" and "equality" and the rapid growth of feminism, we've denied ourselves the one thing that, deep down, we crave. Protection.

So, since it makes us feel 'weak' to expect a man to give it to us, we turn to fifteen-thousand locks on our doors, security systems, big huge dogs, and other things, that aren't bad, but that are meant to fill in the gap. Dad-gum-it, we are women, we don't need a man... right?

WRONG. I think Twilight went to the core of a woman's desire to have this, and for teen girls, yeah, this is something they are told they shouldn't want, but they're drawn to it anyway.

2.) Sacrifice.

We want our man to sacrifice his own desires for us.

Wow, this sounds selfish doesn't it. But it's true. We WANT to feel special, we WANT to feel loved and cherished, and nothing does that better than for a man to give up something that HE wants just because he loves us.

Edward, as gross as it is, had this insane desire for Belle that was just nasty, to be honest. No girl wants to, uh, be told that her man wants drink her blood. (I'm cringing as I type that...) BUT, we do want to be told, "The guys are all going out tonight, but I just want to be with you." We want to be the ONLY woman our men desire. We understand that it's "natural" for men to notice another woman's figure, but we want them to LOVE us so much that they save their desires, their eyes, for us only.

This too, is a need. We NEED to feel that we are important them. We NEED to feel cherished, loved, and put into high esteem. So many girls give themselves up because of this. They think, if I just give them what they want (aka my body), then maybe they will love me, maybe they will cherish me.

And when they don't, it's crushing.

3.) Provider.

Edward didn't have a "job" where he provided for Belle, but he did provide so many things. Friendship, security, love. He fixed her car *grin*, he took control of the situation when the going got scary. He was that big man who would take care of her. Maybe that's part of it too, just the whole, "taking charge". As much as we SAY we want control, it's oh so romantic when our men step up to the plate, make a decision, and just take care of everything. *sigh*

4.) Desire.

Edward had this almost insatiable desire for Belle. At one point he said, "I can't stay away from you." He craved her.

Why do women wear immodest clothes? To get attention? Maybe. To be desired? YES! We want to feel beautiful. We want a man to desire us, because it makes us feel loved. We want to be the princess who is searched for because the prince can't get her out of his head.

5.) Trust.

I like ending with this one, because it almost sums up the other points.

We need to be able to trust our men. And, believe it or not, we are willing to give that trust even sometimes before it is earned. We have a deep desire to trust, which, I'd venture to say, that is a reason so many girls/women stay in bad relationships. They WANT to trust so bad, that they do even when it is unwise. (And many people would argue that it was pretty dumb to trust a vampire... I'm thinking though, I'd rather be on the vampire's GOOD side then have him mad at me... ha!)



So here is the problem with all this. These four things are great, and as a woman, I know I need these, I desire these. I'm a romantic at heart, and just seeing Edward provide all these things to Belle, even though, obviously, he was less than perfect, made me swoon. (but then I reminded myself of the little blood eating thing and swooned a bit less...)

I guess it shows that men don't have to be perfect. We don't expect them to be, but the four things above... those things we DO need.

So you're a woman, and you're looking at this list and thinking, wow, does such a guy exist that will give me these things? Or, a married woman thinking, crap, THIS is what I need from my husband and I'm not getting! What do I do?

I'd propose to you this:

Jesus is the guy that fulfills ALL our needs. He sacrificed his OWN blood for us, so we didn't have to. We can trust him with our lives, he protects us, provides for us, and desires to be close to us. He was and IS the perfect man for us.

But, I don't want to let men off the hook.

Ephesians 5:25 says, "For husbands, this means love your wives, just as Christ loved the church. He gave up his life for her." (NLT)

If Jesus fulfills our needs this much, and loves us that much, well, that sets the bar high for you guys out there.

*****

So, would love the thoughts of others who have read the books/watched the movies. Am I over the deepend with this or do you agree?

Please remember, I've only seen the one movie, so don't spoil any of the other books for me, kay?

Thanks!

******

7 comments:

Jody Hedlund said...

Hi Krista,
I haven't read the book or seen the movie, so I can't comment on either. But I agree with your summary of what women want. Great job!

I do think it's interesting that our society has become so fascinated by vampires and paranormal-type stories. What does that say about where our American culture is headed next? Will be interesting to see.

T. Anne said...

What a wonderful post Krista! I couldn't agree more. Yes Edward is the total Alpha male. Jesus is better and alive. Thanks.

Krista Phillips said...

Anne, so agree! Jesus IS the best, and a great role model for our men:-)

Jody, it's funny, but I think we, as a society, have ALWAYS been fascinated by the paranormal. Look at all the wacky things going on in the Bible...The Nile turning to blood, the parting of the red sea, Jesus turning water into wine, healing & raising people from the dead. Even on the evil side there was crazy, crazy stuff happening.

When it comes down to it, what we view as “normal” is really what society, or should we say, science, states as what can be proven, what is logical, what CAN happen.

The crazy weird stuff comes into play in the spiritual realm. And it’s there, it fascinates us, excites us, scares us.

But, all that to say, I’m usually not one that likes vampire movies and scary stuff. I have nightmares after watching CSI for goodness sake. I guess my point is, everyone, at some point and time, has a curiosity with the paranormal, the stuff we can’t explain. And maybe, just maybe, that same obsession could spur some to the God who defies everything we see as ‘normal’.

Avily Jerome said...

Ok, first off, YOU DIDN'T READ THE BOOK FIRST?!?!??!?!?!??!?!?!?! What kind of writer are you!?!??!!

As for a a literary analysis of the book, perhaps it wasn't the "greatest" writing of all time, but she did a great job of hooking you in and keeping you hooked, so in that sense, it was a good book.

Ok, as for the romance element, I think you've hit it right on. It's very similar to a theory another friend of mine came up with, in that Edward's love and acceptance of Bella is completely undeserved, unearned, yet he gives himself to her completely. It's that unconditional love that women crave, and we're (unrealistically) seeking it in men, or, in this case, a fictional character.

One place I really notice this emotional dependence is in the junior high crowd. Virtually every jr. high girl at my church is obsessed with Twilight/Edward. So, I'm going to have a Twilight party for them, at which we will discuss some of these things, and the fact that the only person in the world who can really love them like this is Jesus.

Krista Phillips said...

Avily, great point! And I think it's a WONDERFUL idea to use it as a tool to teach teenage girls that these things can only be found in Jesus.

I think it can also be used for teenage boys to show them what a girl truely does desire. Um, not that we desire a guy who wants to eat us (HA) but, we desire those five, as Anne put it, Alpha male qualities.

*sigh*

I will probably be good and read the other books vs waiting for the movie. I'm anxious to find out what happens:-)

Jennifer Riegel said...

I know this is an older post but I just wanted to say you are right about your conclusions and I came similar conclusions in a similar way. I saw the movie for the first time a couple of months ago and was stunned by the relationship between Edward and Bella, and I've since read the series. I asked God what the deal was, why I was affected so strongly, and the short of it is, He has hidden Himself in the story, and in every great love story, and what we are drawn to in Edward and the way he loves Bella are the very things that exist in a character because those qualities originate in Christ - supernatural, strong, protective, pursuing and drawn to us, etc. It's been a pretty cool process for me. In the next couple of months I am planning a Twilight party for all the ladies at the Church and the new students coming in for this coming VS school year, and after watching the film plan on sharing the insights God has given me about this.

Krista Phillips said...

GREAT points, Jen! I seriously kept watching it over and over to figure out why it affected me so much. It is NOT a movie I would normally enjoy. You're right on with your points! And great idea for a twilight party!