Why New Moon is good (or at least not terrible) for girls – and boys

Q: Why did the Twilight series second movie “New Moon” gross $140.7 million over its opening weekend, more than any other movie with a fall release date in history?

A: Abstinence, and its concentration on “matters of the heart and spirit,” says the director, before adding, “and I think that’s lovely.”

Teenagers are jaded by the flesh-filled movies, shows, and magazines marketed to their generation, and New Moon’s riotous success indicates that teenage girls want something more.

Sure, Werewolf character Jacob rips off his shirt in an especially lauded scene, revealing his ripped bod. But I think  girls in the audience swoon not only out of deep infatuation for his abs but for his chivalry – he takes off his shirt to blot away the dripping blood from main character Bella’s injured head. Pre-teen romance-seekers can only fantasize about their male peers jumping to their aid and displaying deep, romantic concern for their lives.

While fan site chat rooms host girls who wish they could have a blood-sucking vampire or werewolf of their own, their underlying reasons are stellar. They wanted to be loved, they wanted to be treated right, they want boys who are brave, and they don’t want to be reduced to their bodies. I think ultimately the Twilight series is good for girls. And for boys.

Girls will place a greater value on the heart, chivalry, and meaningful love, and hopefully, they will hold themselves to higher standards.

Boys are going to have to up their game to get a twilight fan. Sexual gratification and a ride to school ain’t going to do the relationship trick anymore. In a funny twist (after all, the Twilight heroes are monsters), perhaps the Twilight series will force lusty boys to be  courageous, respectful, and noble men.

As Elizabeth Morowitz, Communications Professor at the University of Missouri and author of “Bitten By Twilight,” puts it:

“A lot of people ask ‘what’s so appealing about the Twilight and why is it popular now?’ and we think it’s because of the relationships and the messages about love in Twilight. In a more conservative environment we’ve had this push for abstinence education, so we now have a media message that’s more congruent with that. So perhaps some teens relate to it in that way,” Morowitz told CNN’s Katie Walmsley.

“New Moon” Director Chris Weitz says that sexual abstinence is central to the film’s appeal.

“It’s not that they can’t have sex, they choose not to and I think there’s so much popular culture that’s saying to young people: ‘you’ll be cool if you have sex’ or ‘it’s important to be sexy’ whereas this series really concentrates on matters of the heart and spirit and I think that’s lovely,” Weitz told CNN.

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4 thoughts on “Why New Moon is good (or at least not terrible) for girls – and boys

  1. ANB says:

    Has anybody here noticed the numerous unhealthy aspects of this series? Sure, it’s great to have a popular series preaching abstinence, but let’s remember that Bella is not a willing participant in the act of abstaining. She only does so because Edward refuses to have sex with her due to his fear of hurting her. He is dangerously possessive, nearly to the point of abuse, even keeping her from seeing her friends (Jacob, etc.) because of his executive decision that they are bad for her. Even worse, Bella usually bows to Edward’s wishes. Even more unhealthy, she tries to find ways to come near to killing herself, just to hear Edward’s voice in her head. Was nobody disturbed by this chillingly Romeo-and-Juliet-esque part of the storyline??

    In addition, Bella seems incapable of making any decisions or solving any problems without Edward there to protect her. Shouldn’t we save our praise for pop culture couples who have healthy, equal relationships? I’m all about abstinence, but it would mean a lot more to me to see a couple who had come to that decision together, mutually, rather than this forced abstinence imposed upon the female character by a male character who attempts to govern every aspect of her life. Are we saying that men are truly these lusty creatures who must learn to control their primal urges in order to govern the women in their life chastely and morally? Are we saying that men should learn how to make the best decisions FOR their women? I think we all know that’s ridiculous. Relationships don’t work unless both parties are held to equal standards, both participating in every important decision. Please think twice before praising Twilight for its moral excellence; I really can’t stomach it.

  2. trueloverevolution says:

    haha – he is a monster after all.
    I don’t mean to praise everything about Twilight, but it is a story and it is wildly popular, and it’s interesting to look at this key difference between Twilight and other teen romance series and think about how it translates to how girls view their lives.

  3. Esther says:

    “They wanted to be loved, they wanted to be treated right, they want boys who are brave, and they don’t want to be reduced to their bodies.”

    Doesn’t Bella reduce her baby daughter to her body in book 4? Jacob doesn’t even have to have a polite conversation with Bella and Edward’s daughter, let alone court her and treat her right, before Bella and Edward promise Jacob the chance to marry and have sex with their daughter. The child doesn’t get a chance to save her engagement and marriage for true love because she’s already engaged before her first birthday.

  4. Esther says:

    “I’m all about abstinence, but it would mean a lot more to me to see a couple who had come to that decision together, mutually, rather than this forced abstinence imposed upon the female character by a male character who attempts to govern every aspect of her life.”

    “Forced” abstinence is a million times better than the alternative – someone else forced to have sex. For example, Bella only abstains from sex because nobody – not Edward, not anyone else – is willing to have sex with her. What’s she supposed to do instead of abstain from sex, have sex by raping someone?

    “Relationships don’t work unless both parties are held to equal standards, both participating in every important decision.”

    Even if both parties don’t agree on whether or not to have sex, the one saying no totally deserves to overrule the one saying yes, no matter if they’re an unmarried couple after dining out and the girl says she’s horny or a married couple after dining in and the man says he just wants a bit of comfort or whatever. No means no.

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