The other day, I came home from an intramural soccer game and two of my roomies were watching “Twilight: Breaking Dawn.” I had never read any of the books nor seen any of the movies, but I knew that my sister and cousin, along with just about every girl on the planet, seemed to be obsessed with the series, so I joined them on the couch to see for myself what all this vampire hoopla is about.
I jump into the movie just as Bella, the human protagonist of the series, and Edward, her pale vampire boyfriend, are going off on their honeymoon. The place they are staying at is some ridiculously beautiful oceanside cabin, and as they are going around checking out their sweet new digs, they eventually reach the master bedroom, where shit suddenly gets super awkward. Apparently, the two lovebirds have never had sex before.
“The author is Mormon,” one of my roommates explains.
Ooooooh. Ok. Right. Abstinence. No sex before marriage: that whole medieval mentality that some people try to force down kids’ throats. Well, whatever, a small dose of some relatively innocent social-conservative commentary never hurt anyone. I continue watching and after about 20 minutes of Bella fretting about sex — which the movie frames as an impending doom — the two finally bang out three books and a couple thousand pages worth of sexual repression, tearing up the bed and the room in the process. Little did I know the conservative commentary was just getting started, and the movie dived headfirst into the most polemica social issue of our time: abortion.
Soon after consummating their marriage, Bella realizes that somehow she is magically already a month or so pregnant, and since vampire babies kill their mothers by eating them from the inside out, everyone is understandably concerned. Edward reassures Bella that he’ll “get that thing out,” and Bella replies, “Thing?”
Despite the fact that her life is in danger, and against the wishes of her vampire husband, Bella decides to keep the baby. Although it could be argued that the movie is not anti-abortion since Bella chooses to have the baby, the movie clearly depicts Bella as a kind of pro-life martyr, risking her own life in order to bring another life into this world. The language in the movie also comes from an obvious pro-life perspective; Edward and the others who want Bella to get an abortion constantly refer to the baby as a “thing” or “fetus,” and each time they do they are promptly corrected by Bella or Rosalie, the only other vampire on Bella’s side who demands, “Say the word … Baby. It’s just a little baby.”
The overly simplistic pro-life commentary continues, as Edward, who seems to be the movie’s straw man for the pro-choice argument, is eventually won over to Bella’s side when she has him touch her pregnant belly and he “connects” with the unborn baby, sensing that it is happy and content. The touchy-feely, emotional scene insinuates that deciding to have a baby instead of an abortion is as simple as learning how to be compassionate. The implication is that if only everyone could sense an unborn baby/fetus’s emotions like Edward can, even the staunchest pro-choice advocate would see the error in their ways.
Literally, three-fourths of the entire movie revolves around Bella’s pregnancy and her constant fight against all those who want her to abort the baby, whether it’s Edward at first, or a pack of werewolves later on. The movie sends an obvious message: it is morally wrong to get an abortion, end of story … and oh yeah, don’t have sex until you’re married. I find it somewhat disconcerting that millions of young girls are watching this lightly-veiled social propaganda that is telling them that if they decide to have an abortion, for whatever reason, they are cowards and morally corrupt and are not acting as their hero, Bella, would have. The movie turns the incredibly complicated decision of having an abortion into a simplistic fairy tale, and frankly there’s a serious double standard happening when Fox News gets its panties in a bunch over the environmental theme of “The Lorax,” accusing the movie of indoctrination, while ignoring the blatant religious commentary that can be found in “Twilight: Breaking Dawn.”
Daily Nexus columnist Riley Schenck wonders if the Stephenie Meyer’s next series will promote polygamy with mermaids.