Does anyone care what we are feeding our teens?

Deborah Collins, Host and Executive Producer of Celebrate Women Radio, answers questions about her upcoming programs slated for the week of June 28, 2010 (on The Word 100.7 FM in Dallas, Texas, or online 24/7 here) dealing with The Twilight Saga and the release of the third move, Eclipse

QUESTION:  From pop culture pundits to professors to pulpits, it seems everyone is riding The Twilight Saga train. As a follow-up to your radio programming last year on the previous Twilight books and movies, you are devoting a week of programming to discuss this topic. However, you are not riding the same train of thought, so to speak?

  You could say I am trying to stop a runaway train! I have seen the first two movies and have major concerns about how the books and movies are affecting young impressionable "tweens" and teens. In all the media coverage, the viral Twilight feeding frenzy, there are a few things that no one seems to be talking about. Like Bella's poor self-image; her sick "obsession" with Edward and thoughts of suicide. This girl spends all her time fantasizing about a toxic relationship with a vampire. Not to mention how women of all ages are obsessing and fantasizing about Edward—even married women!

There must be a real void in women's lives, if they are focusing so much time and attention on a fictitious teen romance.

Q:  One issue you are especially passionate about is the figure of Bella, the female lead character, and her self-image. You have said that she is a poor role model for young girls. Elaborate on this please.

A:  As I watched the first two Twilight movies and the dynamics surrounding Bella—her self loathing, absentee mother and a father who is clueless—I was shocked at the media hype and how so many moms are fueling this "obsession". Not to mention how Bella is disconnected from the normal teen school activities and social life. She is so depressed and desperate to be with Edward, that she engages in dangerous activities in hopes that he will rescue her. This story line is an example of how distorted the public's perception is and how media, women and young girls are overlooking some very destructive behaviors. For months after Edward leaves, Bella continues in depression, becoming catatonic, even suicidal and where is her father?

There is no adult to intervene in her life. In real life, we would be horrified that a parent would be so negligent. Without intervention, Bella eventually snaps out of her depression and turns to a teen werewolf who she manipulates to get to Edward! Another dead-end relationship!

Let's look at Edward the vampire. He is dark, moody and has nothing going for himself except his supernatural powers. He is not happy being a vampire and mopes around, a loner. And Bella, who has nothing particularly good going for her at this point in her life is drawn to him, obsessed with him and that's a good thing? We would never tell our teens that this sick unhealthy behavior is acceptable!

Q:  You also have some strong concerns about the words that people are using to describe the so called Twilight phenomenon. Could you address this?

A:  Yes, it has become a feeding frenzy! It's being said that women and girls are "devouring" these books and movies. To devour means to eat voraciously, or ravenously; to consume destructively, recklessly, or wantonly. Women and young girls devouring The Twilight Saga would imply that there is a void, an emptiness, a hunger that is not being satisfied. What is this craving that is causing females to "ravenously, destructively, recklessly and wantonly consume" these novels and movies?