movies

'6 disturbing realisations I had re-watching the Twilight saga as an adult.'

When the first Twilight film was released in 2008 I was in Year 12. 

I'd read all the books as they were printed (from 2005), and I distinctly remember greedily digesting the movies while also pretending I was too old for them. 

I enjoyed them as they were meant to be enjoyed, as a vampire-love-story-fiction and a 'Jacob verses Edward' heartthrob-off.

Watch: The OG trailer. Post continues after video.


Video via Summit Entertainment.

Now, aged 30, I've been re-watching them in Sydney's lockdown (hello week 12!), and I need to talk about it immediately. 

Because, WHAT THE HELL?

I'm not the only one that's been revisiting my teenage-hood. There's been a Twilight resurgence of late, as Gen Z and Millennial (mainly women) who worshipped the series, reflect on the chaos they once lapped up without blinking an eye. 

There's plenty of Lols. 

The constant constipated looks on both Edward and Jasper's faces because of the whole human blood smelling delicious thing. 

@brodywellmaker

We’re only 11 minutes into the first movie. Buckle up. ##twilight ##fyp ##vampire

♬ Bella's Lullaby (From "Twilight") - Michele Garruti

The wigs....

SIR. 

But there's also a lot of disturbing themes that I can't believe went over my/our heads the first time, probably subconsciously nestling themselves into our brains and our expectations. 

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Here are the six most disturbing:

1. Edward is toxic.

Let's start with the obvious: Edward Cullen is the absolute worst.

Watching Bella as she sleeps, without her knowledge. 

Stalking her all over town and then to a completely different town, while she's on a day-trip with friends.

The controlling, possessive nature of the relationship itself, particularly the depiction of Edward isolating Bella from her friends and her family because #vampirethings. 

NOT COOL EDWARD. 

And let's not forget the fact that Edward leaves literal bruises on Bella during sex in Breaking Dawn - Part 1. I mean sure, he is a super strong vampire and was trying to be gentle, blah blah blah. But why is it okay in a fiction setting, especially fiction targeted towards teenagers, to romanticise violent intercourse?

 

During the much anticipated sex scenes Bella couldn't care less about being injured. Cool cool cool.  

When you take away the supernatural element, this 'romance' is literally a controlling, abusive relationship that Bella just accepts because 'that's who he is'.

UGH.

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2. Bella's whole 'personality' is about how desirable she is. 

After re-watching all five films in an unnaturally short time period, I honestly have no idea who Bella is and what she's interested in apart from Edward. Jacob. And eventually her daughter, Renesmee. 

Her character has no personality. None. She is simply the 'desired one' in town. Edward loves her. Jacob loves her. Mike loves her. Eric loves her. The creepy men/creepy vampires want to drink her. Fin. That's literally the whole movie. 

Oh, and when she becomes a vampire, she becomes even more desirable.

via GIPHY

You know how we live in a patriarchal society where a woman's worth is determined by how 'attractive' and 'desirable' she is...YEAH, THIS ISN'T HELPING THAT. 

Again, ugh. 

3. Bella is toxic.

Why. Is. It. Just. Accepted. That. Bella. Leads. Jacob. On. For. Four. Whole. Films. 

She treats Jacob horribly. Cut that boy off woman. Let him go - you're not interested. So why do you keep leaving him dangling there, hopeful?

Let the poor man go, Bella. 

It's really hard to watch back. And once again, it taught a generation of women that it's okay to either be led on as 'second best' or lead someone on. 

GREAT. 

4. Jacob imprinting on a ...baby.

Ok. I know that Jacob doesn't think of Renesmee in a sexual way when he imprints on her as a baby.

Let's revisit Jacob's explanation of imprinting: "It's not like love at first sight, really. It's more like… gravity moves… suddenly. It's not the earth holding you here anymore, she does… You become whatever she needs you to be, whether that's a protector, or a lover, or a friend." 

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Regardless of semantics, it's still very creepy.

via GIPHY

We see (through Alice's visions) that Jacob eventually goes from being a friend to being Renesmee's lover. 

So he's just there... biding his time... until she is of age. 

Take away the supernatural stuff and it's just really f**ked up grooming. 

5. Bella's parents are totally fine with her getting married at 18 and then just, disappearing. 

It's cringe enough that getting married and being with Edward becomes Bella's ONLY goal out of high school. 

But after their honeymoon, when Bella gets pregnant with a fast-growing vampire baby, Charlie and Renee are apparently fine with their 18-year-old daughter getting medical treatment for some mystery disease for months on end in a different country?

Bella gets married and then just vanishes.  

HUH? 

So, we're back to the isolating from family and friends theme. Cool. 

6. Why are 100+ year old vampires fine with repeating high school for eternity?

Okay, how about we conclude with something a little less heavy.

Let's play a game. If you were hundreds or thousands of years old, what few years of your life would you relive over and over again? 

For me, it would be my mid-20s when I was travelling the world, working freelance on projects that interested me. You couldn't pay me to return to high school. Sure, my experience there was fine. Great even. But sitting in Year 11 science class with a bunch of 17-year-olds at the age of 109 would make me want to scratch my eyes out. 

You look 35, you don't have to pretend to go to highschool?! 

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Cullens. Pick a new life stage to impersonate. You could pass for anything up to about 45. 

Reliving high school over and over again is just plain weird. 

What would you like to add to the list? Let us know in the comments below.

For more from Gemma Bath, keep up to date with her articles here, or follow her on Instagram,  @gembath.

Feature image: Summit Entertainment/Mamamia.

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