The release of Breaking Dawn Part 2, the final movie in the Twilight series, has brought with it what I suspect is the last flurry of Christian reaction to the popularity of the books and films. Mars Hill pastor Mark Driscoll, in a recent blog post titled "A Father's Fright of Twilight," describes the series as "for teenage girls what porn is to teenage boys: sick, twisted, evil, dangerous, deceptive, and popular." Driscoll goes on to highlight news stories about Twilight-crazed teenagers participating in real-life vampirism. He calls for discernment and regrets that Christian parents "naively" allow "this filth" into their children's lives.

I share Driscoll's concern about Twilight. But I diagnose the problem with the series very differently. The differences in our diagnoses are intertwined with the very different ways that Driscoll and I think about gender. Twilight is aimed at girls, and because it appeals so deeply to so many girls and women, the problem with Twilight is a problem about gender. My deeply felt worry is that the ideas about gender that Driscoll advocates publicly are actually the same ideas that fuel the Twilight phenomenon.

Let me explain what I mean. My biggest worry about Twilight is that Bella, the main character, lives a life completely centered on the guy she loves. The love she has for Edward is all-consuming. Absorbing. Total. Her mother worries that Bella orbits around Edward. The girl-in-love is a satellite, circling round the boy, and she wants to give up everything—family, friends, education, the possibility of motherhood, her humanity, even her soul—for his sake. The supernatural aspects of the story feed the passion of ...

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