18 April 2009

Twilight Intro

So you really can't go anywhere or interact with anything in the YA fiction world without running into Twilight. The commentary alone is huge, diverse and intense. A lot of it has been from feminist bloggers freaked out about 1) what they perceive as a retrograde sexual and gendered message and 2) that this message is apparently based in the author's Mormonism.

So having been raised LDS (trans.: literally Latter Day Saint, colloq.: Mormon), but having NEVER EVER read Twilight, I actually have a lot of thoughts on the issue. Because while I don't intend to read the book, I suspect there's a lot about desire, denial and what people think they deserve that can be uncovered from our perceptions and reactions.

For starters, many of the LDS girls my age would not have been allowed to bring home vampire books. You think I'm kidding? When I was thirteen or so Halloween was basically canceled as a church activity in my stake (trans.: parish). They didn't tell you NOT to get dressed up or go trick-or-treating, but the numbers that year dropped. I knew at least a half-dozen families (and I'm sure there were many more) who only had UNO cards in their houses because "face cards can be used for fortune telling." I was told once, as a quite young child (between eight and eleven?) that Ouija boards were Satanic. Now I can't speak to any of this as being either Church policy or theologically justified, but I suspect none of it is. But that often has not stopped Mormon culture from being much wackier than LDS religion.

So, unlike most feminist bloggers and readers of Twilight I was struck by Meyer's sheer audacity to write a vampire book. Yes it's true Orson Scott Card writes outside of "Mormon Approved" land, and I have yet to hear of anyone berating Aaron Eckhart for his film roles, but neither of them have to go to Relief Society (trans.: mandatory Women's Auxiliary). (It's worth noting here, that in all religions that use social pressure rather than violence to maintain order and adherence, women are often the most quick to punish "transgressions." Don't believe me? Ask your ex-religious friends. I have yet to hear otherwise.)

Anyway, I think it's safe to say that however much Twilight was informed by Meyer's religious upbringing, its very existence throws a wrench in that concept at a level most commentators undoubtedly don't understand. The book itself is transgressive to the author. That's got to mean something, right?

Okay, feeling like I've dispensed with the "Mormon issue", what I really want to get into in the next post is the issue of desire and denial.

(Hey! What the hell religion is Stephen King, and what does his writing tell us about his retrograde religious beliefs? Or please, feel free to insert the name of ANY OTHER AUTHOR there, and see if you give a damn if they're not Mormon or a half dozen other "incorrect" or "exotic" religions. Yep, that's what I thought.)


At 1:30 AM, Blogger Marirosa Mia said...

Very interesting points. Not sure what religion King is. My only beef - scratch that, not beef just opinion - about Twilight is that it didn't like the narrative and wasn't taken in by the writing.

At 11:45 AM, Blogger Mike said...

Next post! I promise (it's about 1/3 written). But yeah, you're right.

At 11:03 AM, Blogger Allary said...

This was really interesting. I've been trying to read the first book in the series for a few months now - I just can't fall into the story. But we do sell it an awful lot at my store.

At 11:06 AM, Blogger Marirosa Mia said...

Allary: Are you allowed to gently nudge them in another direction? lol. "How about this one instead?" Awe man. Now I feel like a bitch. sigh.

At 2:30 PM, Blogger Ghenet said...

I saw this linked in Publisher's Lunch and thought of you: http://www.sltrib.com/themix/ci_12193772


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