A Closer Look at the Twilight Series

Note: This commentary was delivered by PFM President Mark Earley.

Stephanie Meyer’s Twilight series has been getting a lot of press lately — especially since the fourth book in the series, titled Breaking Dawn, was released on August 2 to huge sales. And come November, the movie version of the book will be hitting theaters nationwide.

The message you might have heard is that these teen romances take a strong stand against sex before marriage and are therefore a great way to get that idea across to kids.

Well, ordinarily I’d be overjoyed about a popular mainstream series of books for girls with a pro-abstinence message. But in this case, I’m a bit more concerned than overjoyed.

You see, there are other messages in the Twilight books that are very real and very strong. And some of those messages are downright alarming, and you and I need to know about them.

Our blog, The Point, goes into the books in much more detail. But the basic storyline is this: A teenage girl named Bella falls in love with a mysterious, much older vampire named Edward. She wants to become a vampire like him so they can be together forever. He refuses to have premarital relations with her, and that’s the message that many parents and educators are concentrating on, and feeling good about.

What they’re failing to notice is this: Bella is completely without self-confidence. She’s constantly putting herself down and treating her boyfriend as some superior being, using terms like “god” and “angel” to describe him. She looks down on herself just for being human, and wants to lose her humanity as soon as possible.

In turn, the vampire Edward has disturbing habits like sneaking into Bella’s room and watching her sleep, eavesdropping on her and her friends, encouraging her to deceive her father, and even disabling her truck and kidnapping her to keep her from seeing other friends.

Put all this together, and you have one very unhealthy relationship-and this is what’s being viewed by far too many teens and adults as the greatest romance since Romeo and Juliet.

Just to cite one of the most obvious concerns, we’re living in an age of Internet predators, where it’s easier than ever for criminals to reach teenage girls and lure them away from home. And here we have these books celebrating a girl who’s willing to throw away her family, her friends, her identity, and her life for a stalker with controlling, even abusive tendencies.

Is this really something parents should be pushing? Are we trying to create a generation that’s naïve, gullible, and lacking in self-worth, or a generation of intelligent, strong young people who can stand up for themselves and for what is right?

I want my daughters to practice purity, but I want them to do it because they know and embrace God’s will, and because they understand that they’re created in God’s image and have infinite worth and value.

I don’t want them to do it-or to do anything-because they have no will of their own and are being dictated to by some boyfriend who makes them feel inferior. And I certainly don’t want them idolizing a character in a book who lets herself be treated that way.

So the bottom line is, be sure you are reading what your kids are reading. That’s a message that my family — and families everywhere — ought to take to heart.

Subscribe to CE
(It's free)

Go to Catholic Exchange homepage

  • I’ve been blessed to have been editing a series of books for young girls called “All Things Girl.” The series has five titles and a journal and at the very core of this non-fiction series is the reality of what it means to be a daughter of the King.

    This Truth is a critical piece of every young girl’s worth and dignity. It is a Truth that cannot be denied or removed, regardless of her life circumstances. This series of books is meant to offer every young girl a glimpse of what life was meant to be like as a daughter of the King. As pointed out in this Breakpoint article, we do not want girls that are naive, gullible, or lacking in self-worth but want them steeped in God’s word and living in such a way that decisions are purposeful and reflect their inherent dignity.

    All this is accomplished while addressing some very real issues that young girls face, today. Each book has a media component written by Catholic radio host and best-selling author Teresa Tomeo, herself a product of what happens when a female succumbs to secular messages. With more than 2 decades of media experience, Teresa helps girls face the culture, as portrayed by the biased media, squarely and understand the need for decisions that involve both thinking and understanding.

    Each book in this series also includes a section called “A Girl Like Me” in which a particular Catholic female saint is showcased and a few pages dedicated to revealing how living for God is such a beautiful way to live.

    The authors of this series have taken on the task of weaving the Truths of such documents as Theology of the Body and Mulieris Dignitatem in a meaningful way on pages filled with beautiful color and graphics.

    There seems to be so much at stake, right now, and uplifting our girls in their relationships with Christ must be at the top of our list of priorities. They cannot continue to be fodder for predators (in all shapes, sizes, and through all sorts of mediums like television and print), stalkers, and a culture that promotes behaviors contrary to what is expected of a daughter of the King. When a young girl embraces her identity in Christ she would never abandon it nor throw it away but, rather, will rely on it all the days of her life.

  • trailblazer

    It would seem in these days there is no end to the clever ways in which Satan attempts by presenting himself as an agent of angel of light to draw us into a deep and forboding darkness. Satan, as the father of lies, will gladly present words or actions that contain part of the truth in order to accomplish a greater evil.

    We must pay attention to the whole message and not just one part. Much the same reality takes place when people take one or two passages out of the Bible and misuse them to create their own sense or version of Christianity that is anything but Christian let alone Catholic.

    The Harry Potter books and movies as well as the book The Shack fall into the same category not to mention the myriad of movies and TV shoes that are simply overtly anti-Christ. Thank God for Holy Mother the Church, the Sacraments, and the power of the Holy Spirit. Now, if each of us would only embrace the fullness of grace they offer in order to avoid the desolation of our land through the deceitful work of the powers of darkness.


  • CherylDickow

    An excellent book for high school girls and boys that focuses on chaste love and right relationships for the sake of Christ is “The Story of Peace” by Miriam Ezeh. Miriam has recently been approached with an offer to pitch her book for a possible screenplay but refused due to the loss of rights that would allow the story to be re-written. Miriam is a wonderful woman of Christ who simply could not take a chance of her story being anything other than it is which is a love of Jesus and the need for purity.