My friend's eleven-year-old daughter wants to go see the new Twilight movie. Mom does not want her to see it. Daughter has already seen the first two movies at a sleepover despite Mom's refusals. Daughter said that the movies didn't scare her at all, and is angry because (say it with me) everyone else is allowed to see it and mean old Mom won't let her go.
Whether or not Daughter was scared by the movies hadn't even crossed my mind. What did cross my mind was what mother thinks that Twilight and New Moon are appropriate fare for a bunch of eleven-year-old girls. I don't care how mature they might appear, they are still young girls and are very likely highly impressionable.
I don't remember what movies were popular when I was eleven, but I do remember seeing "Sixteen Candles" in the movies when it first came out. I was thirteen at the time. I also remember thinking that there must be something missing from my own high school experience since it bore little if any resemblance to what was often depicted on screen. And you can be sure that my expectations about boys and relationships were gleaned from the teenage cinematic canon of the time - Sixteen Candles, Weird Science, The Breakfast Club, Footloose, and so on.
What ideas are these eleven-year-olds getting from Twilight? I would love to know.
What I hope they're not taking from the series is myriad:
- that when that really, really cute boy who is so aloof is magically drawn to you, drop everything and everyone else in your life and totally focus on him
- when you find out that he's been sneaking into your bedroom and watching you while you sleep, it's because he's just really romantic
- it's okay if said boy disables your vehicle so you can't go see your best friend (who happens to be a boy) because he loves you and doesn't want you to get hurt
- it's okay to engage in risky, life-threatening behavior because when you do, you see your boyfriend who left you because he loves you too much to hurt you
- if your boyfriend is involved in something, no matter how peripherally, that causes many people to be killed, it's okay because he isn't the one doing the killing
- if your boyfriend did, in fact, kill some people, it's okay because those people would have killed many others, so in fact he actually saved lives by taking them
I could go on, but I think you get what I'm driving at.
I guess my point is that as much as I would have loved the opportunity to raise a daughter, I am glad that I won't have to navigate this particular minefield. Oh, I know, there will be plenty of others that the boys will want to drive through. But I'm glad that I won't have to revisit my own adolescent experiences through a daughter. I don't think I could disengage enough to let her find her own way. And I wouldn't want to do that to my child.