Vampires & Suicide
In the interests of full disclosure, before I write this post I will front up and say that I have never seen nor read any installment of the Twilight Saga. My entire knowledge of the plot is garnered vicariously.
My main source of knowledge is the ever-wonderful, ever-hilarious Reasoning with Vampires tumblr. One evening my friend and I were planning a movie night. In the middle of our decision making process one of us threw out Twilight as a suggestion (completely ironically), which led to some har-de-har-hars, and me going “Oh, I know of this really hilarious tumblr!”…. 3 hours later and we hadn’t watched a movie at all, we had spent that entire time going through the archives of the RwV blog.
So when I say that Dana (the genius behind RwV) has just posted one of my favourite entries, you should understand the full weight of my meaning.
I am sure we have all read about how terribly terrible Twilight is, and the bad messages it sends to young women about their worth. But what I did not realise was how much Meyer romanticised suicide, and how terribly problematic this is in it’s own right.
I understand that teenagers (and grown-ups, too) have volatile emotions. A broken heart really can seem like the end of the world. People get depressed and feel like they have nothing to live for. I know.
Depression and suicidal ideations are real and should be taken seriously. These are issues that have a perfectly valid place in discussion and literature. The subject of suicide isn’t the problem; the presentation is.
Here we are at the end of New Moon. Everyone is safe and sound, despite the self-destructive behavior of our protagonist and her true love. What changed? What stabilized the will to live? Edward loves Bella; Bella loves Edward. Bella wasn’t dead; Edward wasn’t dead. The suicidal problem was only resolved because their relationship was revived. No one decided that life was worth living for the sake of being alive.
When you purposely write a bland protagonist to make it easier for the reader to relate to that character, you have an obligation to get the message across that suicide isn’t the answer. I’m not swayed by the fact that “it’s just a book,” because if readers can be inspired to greatness by books (and I believe people can be), the flip-side is that books can ignite destruction.
Darlings? Please know that suicide is not the answer. Please.
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Featured Image Credit: Wikimedia