Women such as Yelena Furman, a San Fernando Valley mother of two teen girls, put it simply. “The books are so romantic,” she says, standing in line on a recent Saturday night movie outing. Ms. Furman is looking forward to the third film “probably more than my daughters,” she admits. Her older teen, Ariel, laughs in agreement. “I like the movies, but my mom…” she laughs and shakes her head.
Across the country, Long Islander Jennifer Abelson, CEO of her own PR firm, says she was not immediately a fan. But, she says, about a year after the first film came out, she rented it, “and I was hooked.” The mother of two young girls – age 3 and 5 – she says this was strictly her own connection.
“It’s not really about bonding with my girls because they’re far too young,” she says, adding with a small laugh that this is just as well. “It’s just about a fun romance for me right now, but when it comes to the girls, I’ll have to get into all that stuff about a boy being a potential monster,” she adds.
That potential is what interests gender specialist Susan Shapiro Barash. She suggests that the films' dallying with such a softly genteel “monster” – Edward, for those not in the Twi-loop, is a vegetarian teen vampire – reflects this generation of young women’s ambivalence about independence and liberation from traditional sex roles.
“We’ve all drunk the kool-aid at some point in our lives that romantic love has the power to sweep us away and complete something inside of us that is not whole,” she says, pointing out that the romantic fantasy of a chaste love beset by obstacles appeals to the 17 year-old girl that is alive and well inside a woman of any age.