True Love Waits?: What happens when OMG OTP Vampire sparkly meets abstinence WSJ editorial

Please, for the love of all fandoms, know of what you write, oh editorial writers who wish to use fannish examples to make your non-fandom points. Is the relationship between a centuries-old undead bloodthirsty killer and a virgin girl who wants to join him in sparkle really an ideal abstinence relationship?

Today’s lesson comes to you from the Wall Street Journal editorial page where Donna Frietas uses Stephenie Meyer’s Twilight saga as an example of literature that promotes abstinence until marriage.

[Meyer] knows that romantic tension is often better built with anticipation than action. That there is enough excitement in gazes, conversation, proximity and maybe a few stolen kisses to keep young lovers busy for years — if they allow themselves to indulge in this slow kind of seduction.

Ms. Meyer’s fans agree. This vampire love story has captured more than their hearts — it has them demanding that young men behave like gentlemen. And it also has them waxing poetic about what sounds a lot like abstinence.

For those of you who have not completed the series or don’t care about sparkle/intense vampire love, the quick plot summary is: having the main characters be abstinent through the first three books does not prevent the main characters from making lots of other choices you would prefer your children not make (should the opportunity present itself).

Parents: If having your children be abstinent is a goal, no vampire-based work will help you achieve that. Think: Vampires have non-consensual interactions with others because of their (blood)lust! If I was now a teenager, the actual life lessons I would have learned from the Twilight series is to never have children … and not read anything else by Stephenie Meyer.

Let’s just say that the final paragraphs of the editorial hardly touch the bizarre issues in the last book Ms. Meyer has decided to place upon her young impressionable mostlikely future sexually active readers.

As clergy and parents and even a few teachers struggle to make a case for abstinence among the young, it may seem strange and unexpected that Ms. Meyer has served up one of the most compelling and effective arguments for abstinence in mainstream American culture — through a teen vampire romance. It may also be that she is trying to stay true to her faith’s teachings on sex even within her fiction. Regardless, Ms. Meyer has somehow made not having sex seem like the sexiest decision two people can make and has conveyed this effectively to her teenage audience.

Some of her young fans are hoping for a sex scene in “Breaking Dawn,” however. As one girl told me: “I’m looking forward to Bella and Edward getting married so they can have sex.” What a novel idea.

While I previously would have recommended these books for tweens and teens, especially those of the emo persuasion, this book’s extreme switch now puts the whole series into the realm of I don’t want to go there, just read it if you must.

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