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Chastity and Motherhood: How Conservative is "Twilight: Breaking Dawn"?

ReelPolitik By Anthony Kaufman | ReelPolitik November 21, 2011 at 10:11AM

Is there any better example of the need for Planned Parenthood than "Twilight: Breaking Dawn"? That's a joke, of course. For those looking for examples of the conservative and reactionary nature of Hollywood, there's no stronger proof than Stephanie Meyer's no-sex-before-marriage "Twilight" franchise.
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Is there any better example of the need for Planned Parenthood than "Twilight: Breaking Dawn"? That's a joke, of course. For those looking for examples of the conservative and reactionary nature of Hollywood, there's no stronger proof than Stephanie Meyer's no-sex-before-marriage "Twilight" franchise.

To all those who follow the rightwing belief that "Big Hollywood" exists to push left-wing agendas, the enormous success of the "Twilight" series offers serious counterproof: Hollywood has always and will always be dominated with stories of faith, family and traditional values.

In his missive about the film, "Heteronormative Vampires," none other than Roger Ebert declared: "[the franchise] summarizes a world view that creates a climate hostile to non-traditional sexuality.... 'Come on now, what is 'Twilight' really about? It's about a teenage boy trying to practice abstinence, and how, in the heat of the moment, it's really, really hard.'"

Noting the conspicuous absence of the conjugal act in the latest movie, Ebert continues: "Incredibly, we never see the events of the wedding night." Why? He writes, because the characters "are more ideals than real people: Beautiful, perfect, young, idealistic. We have no desire to have the image besmirched by rumpy-pumpy."

I would add that it's also because the conservative mythos suggests that sex is some horrible danger. As much as it's desired, it's also shunned as an evil.

Look at the G.O.P.'s increasing pressure to defund Planned Parenthood. I'm sure Meyer would approve. Of course, as I joked above, perhaps "Breaking Dawn" is a strong argument for the women's health organization. They might have advised Bella about the dangers of giving birth to a vampire.

For more on the subject, see: "Breaking Dawn: Part 1: An Anti-Abortion Message in a Bruised-Apple Package":

"Given that the film ultimately depicts the pregnancy and resulting birth as miraculous, the word “baby” is framed as more apt than the more pro-choice-preferred “fetus.” The term “miracle” and Bella’s instant transformation into a woman who will protect her pregnancy at all costs–even her own life–also echo common anti-abortion narratives.... The life of the fetus is framed as more important than Bella’s, a sentiment that colors these pieces of anti-abortion legislation. And Bella is portrayed as a heroic martyr, the ultimate mother-to-be, rather than as a delusional lovestruck teen with a seeming death wish."

This article is related to: Anti-Hollywood, Rightwing Extremism, Christian Extremism

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