Forever. I remember thinking that a boy promising me that was romantic. At sixteen, forever seemed completely possible and utterly logical. Why not? To be young forever? Where do I sign?
Twilight and the surrounding universe gets a bad rap for a variety of reasons, least of all being the lackluster writing and characters. Vampires have always had an appeal. I understand it because they did to me when I was teenager. Undying love from a cute guy who was going to be that way forever? Is the sky blue?
I had my own Twilight growing up; the tv show Roswell. The premise was similar: mysterious older boy saves awkward girl, they can't be together, but they are, boy treats her like shit and presto, happily ever after, married at 18 in what appears to be an all white town.
When Bella and Edward first hit the scene, I noticed similarities between my beloved teenage show and the new version of angst. Teenage girl completely misunderstood by all those around her, falls in love with impossibly perfect and near mute boy who ends up saving her life. Thus the dance of can we be together or not begins. In Roswell, Liz (Elizabeth) was a waitress in the tourist town of Roswell, New Mexico. She has a crush on Max, the cute guy in town. She is shot in the diner she works at and Max rushes to her rescue and reveals to her that he is in fact an alien. His sister and best friend, also out of this world. Problem is, for all the love shared between Max and Liz, he is destined to be with another alien, who shows up in the second season. Who he gets pregnant after Liz fakes a one night stand with another boy. Max then realizes he loves Liz, destiny be damned and after she begins to have alien like powers as a result of her gunshot healing, they elope.
I've watched some episodes recently and the red flags pop up everywhere. Max, like Edward, stalks her for her own good, determines the course of their (not)relationship, and convinces her that the best thing for her is elope at 18. However, I loved this show at 16 because I was a teenager and at the most awkward point in my life. I had no clue what I wanted to do with my life, my parents were complete losers and all I wanted was the older guy in my karate class to notice me.
There is a reason these stories ring true for young girls (goes without saying that there male Twilight fans). Hormones and the cruel curse of puberty aside, we (young women) are taught that our best hope for a life is to find that guy. Find any guy really. Because all that passion with sometimes subtle and sometimes overt flags of violence is what you should reach for in life. Aside from the fact that drama sells and is fun to watch, I wish now that there had been a stronger tv show for me to watch at that age. Even if it included a love story. There are ways to tell and show a healthy love relationship between two people, that doesn't need to be automatically heterosexual or violent or demeaning.