‘Twilight’ sets a bad example for girls

The second movie in the “Twilight” series was released on DVD this weekend and is expected to set sales records, proving that the teen vampires are not going away anytime soon.

If banning books were something I supported, the “Twilight” saga would be among the first to go.

Poor writing and plot structure aside, the “Twilight” novels are not appropriate for young girls. When all the pretty words and romantic ideals are taken out of Stephenie Meyer’s famous work, it boils down to creepiness.

Bella, the main character, is weak, uninspiring and doesn’t portray a strong woman. Instead, once she meets Edward – a glittering, morally-torn vampire – she becomes entirely dependent on him. Later in the novels, she gives up her future and the chance to go to a great college to marry him.

Bella and Edward’s relationship is disturbing at times. Edward watches Bella while she sleeps, stares at her intently in the day time, occasionally makes Bella fearful, has the ability to harm or kill her – if only accidentally – and becomes infuriated when she is with other people, going as far as to damage her truck to prevent her from seeing someone.

He repeatedly warns Bella of how dangerous he is, and she continues to stay in the relationship because she believes they’re really in love. When he leaves her, she begins showing signs of suicidal tendencies, but she immediately takes him back when he returns.

In the real world, these would be signs of an abusive relationship.

Abuse is a growing problem in America, especially in younger girls throughout middle and high school. Each year, one in four adolescents will report either verbal, physical, emotional or sexual abuse, and one in 11 will report physical abuse, according to statistics from chooserespect.org.

The same statistics show that because of media and popular culture, like “Twilight,” adolescents actually find dating violence normal.

There is no problem for older teens and adults who enjoy the “Twilight” novels and are able to disregard them as fiction, but younger, developing girls may see Edward’s actions as romantic, which is how they are portrayed in the novels.

The Web site provides a list of signs that a friend may be trapped in an abusive relationship. Bella displays nearly all of them.

Some of those are: constant thoughts about the partner; dropping out of activities; crying spells or hysteria fits; and bruises, scratches or other injuries. Edward also displays most of the signs of an abusive partner: getting serious about the relationship at a rapid pace and jealousy or possessiveness.

Young teens may not understand that this behavior is unacceptable. According to the California Women’s Law Center, 80 percent of girls that are physically abused by their significant other remain in the relationship.

Books like “Twilight” provide them with plenty of excuses to do so.

These problems need to be addressed. This doesn’t mean that parents should restrict their daughters from reading the novels. But parents should be prepared to talk afterward and explain why the relationship portrayed is unrealistic and unhealthy.

Emily Handy is junior majoring in mass communications.