So last Friday afternoon my sisters and I went to see the newest film in the Twilight saga, New Moon.Â Why would a 32-year-old woman and her adult sisters would go see this movie? Â There are three reasons:
1.Â Twilight is a huge cultural phenomenon, and to avoid seeing this movie is to ignore the obsession of an entire generation.Â Also, years of jokes and parodies which you won’t get because you skipped it.
2.Â These movies are a laugh riot.Â I mean, unintentional, but they’re hilarious.Â Much more funny than most comedies.
3.Â Robert Pattinson is pretty hot.
So New Moon.
I was going to write a review and be hilarious at the expense of this movie, but you’ll probably see it, and the humour implicit in Italian vampires who don’t wear any socks and teenage werewolves who never wear shirts will be clear to you.Â Instead I’m going to talk directly to the parents of the teens and pre-teens who are going to see this film.
Firstly, don’t fool yourself: this series is not about abstinence.Â It’s about sex.Â Lots of it.Â In the near future.Â The whole series is designed to get the readers wound up, essentially, into a dreamy, inexperienced sexual frenzy.Â That’s how they sell merchandise.Â It’s not rocket science.
There’s probably no way you can avoid having your kid see any of the movies from this series unless you’re raising a socially maladjusted freak.Â By hook or by crook, even if you forbid your kid from seeing this film, they’ll find a way.Â When they’re older they will probably also get into your liquor cabinet.Â So don’t go through all the drama of making these films or books forbidden fruit; you’ve got bigger fish to fry.Â Take them to see it.Â It’s really not worth fighting about.
But when the film is done, by god, sit them down and have a conversation.
Tell your smart, strong, responsible daughters that they should never let a boy or a man (or any partner) treat them the way Bella (or any of the women) are treated in this movie.Â That when they get a car of their own, they are the ones who drive it unless they are somehow unable to.Â Tell them that they get to determine who they’re friends with, and when – or if – they stop associating with those friends.Â And that if any one ever hurts them – physically or emotionally – they should leave that person immediately.Â That they are the master of their own homes, bodies, and possessions and anyone who reaches past them to answer their phone (or who checks their email, text messages, etc.) is seriously overstepping their rights. That anyone who tries to create rules around their decisions about their bodies and sexuality has no business doing so.Â That it is not romantic to be at the mercy of someone controlling, jealous, unpredictable, and irresponsible.Â That no love is ever worth giving up sovereignty over yourself.
Tell your smart, strong, responsible sons that they should never – ever – treat a woman (or any partner) like Bella and the other woman in this movie are being treated.Â That they should respect the personal space, bodies, and possessions of the people they love.Â That they should never try to emotionally or physically hurt the people in their lives.Â That breaking into someone’s room while they sleep will land them in jail, as will any of the stalker-type activities that Edward engages in.Â That controlling behaviour is unacceptable, and that sexuality is something shared between partners, not the decision of solely one or the other.
And then, for pete’s sake, tell them that whenever they decide to have sex is up to them (and no one else), and that you know they’ll come to a responsible decision about it, and that you hope it’s with someone who respects them and cares for them.Â Tell them that you trust them, and that you hope they’ll use birth control and take steps to prevent STDs.
Please make sure they know where to find condoms, how to get the birth control pill, where to go to get tested for things.Â There’s probably a great Women’s or Sexual Health clinic in your neighborhood; make sure they know where it is.
We can’t protect kids by hiding things from them.Â But the best defense is a good offense, and your kid is going to be a lot better off armed with the knowledge that what they’re viewing up on that screen, no matter how dreamy Robert Pattinson is, is not an ideal of how relationships work or how people behave.
Hopefully, you’ve got your own arsenal of media that can help you counter-act the effect of New Moon, but if not, I’ve got plenty of suggestions.Â Please remember that boys as well as girls benefit from seeing strong female characters.Â Generally, I love strong, smart characters regardless of gender, and this list contains lots of both male and female characters who are awesome.
Candace’s List of great movies & television shows to show your teen/pre-teen:
When I was a kid, we watched everything, regardless of movie rating or our age.Â I’d consider everything on this listÂ to be pre-teen appropriate, but you’re the parent; do some parenting, and judge for yourself.
Labyrinth: The protagonist, Sarah, is a bit whiny but in the end rejects the Goblin King’s offer to stay with him and does her own thing.Â There are also lots of puppets and song + dance numbers.Â Yes, I own the soundtrack.
Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Ignore the movie.Â The first three seasons of this TV show contains loads of brooding hot guys and tough, ass-kicking teenage women.Â Aside from staking vampires, most problems are solved via teamwork and intelligence.Â The clothing is a bit laughable.Â Sex is dealt with in a way that I think most kids would benefit from seeing.
Doctor Who: The newer BBC kids’ TV series, which started a few years ago with Christopher Eccleston and Billie Piper, includes lots and lots of strong, female characters who I find pretty inspiring.Â It’s chock-full of goodness, plus the Doctor as played by David Tennant is super-cute and a bit emo, and the protagonists rely on brains over force to solve their problems.
Torchwood: A spin-off from Doctor Who, this series is designed for adult audiences and there’s a bit more violence, sex and swearing, but also plenty of strong characters who focus on intelligence and teamwork, again.Â Sex is dealt with in an adult way, so less dreamy sighing and more consequences/etc. One of the few mainstream vehicles that deals with sexual orientation and its malleability.
Pride and Prejudice: The original BBC television mini-series; don’t even speak to me of the horror that is Kiera Knightly as Elizabeth Bennett.Â Snappy dialogue, smart strong women, lots of different relationships explored.
Ginger Snaps: A film about girls reaching puberty, and werewolves. As I recall, it’s a bit violent, but what a great film!Â Ignore the sequels.
Girl Fight: Michelle Rodriguez is great in this movie!Â It deals with the conflicts you run up against as a tough woman, and what compromises you reach and what you don’t compromise on.
Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon: There’s some really nice adult relationships in this movie; Chow Yun Fat and Michelle Yeoh are terrific.Â Their characters have all the understated romantic tragedy you could ask for, while also being totally ass-kicking.