"Breaking Dawn" Sends the Wrong Message to Virgins

The idea that losing the big V is 1) super easy and not painful or 2) painful to the point of being abusive but you love him so don't worry about, is troubling. Yes, teen girls, this is love!

Nov 23, 2011 at 11:00am | Leave a comment

Did you see "The Other Guys"? I'm not ashamed to say I did and only because of this one line from the trailer that made me laugh.

Non rock star detectives Allen and Terry (played by Will Ferrell and Mark Wahlberg respectively) unwittingly approach a building about to get blown to smithereens. When the Kwik-E Mart goes kablooey Allen and Terry get body slammed to the asphalt like rag dolls. And here's the kicker. They stay down. Because in real life when a bomb goes off it's not like someone just farted. Shit's real, man.

A writhing Terry, head ringing, eyes burning, breaks it all the way down: 

How do they walk away without flinching when it explodes behind them. There's NO WAY. The movie industry is completely irresponsible for the way they portray explosions.

Thing is, if every action flick showed what a real land mine victim looked like then there would be no such thing as a summer blockbuster. Strangely enough same thing goes for losing your virginity. 

This week I saw "Breaking Dawn" (shut up) and realized that the film industry is clearly in cahoots with the condom industry. Because never once has losing it on the big screen been chocked full of so much BS. 

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For those who have yet to get bitten by adolescent vampire fever, a brief synopsis: In the Twilight Saga the beautiful but a little bonkers Bella Swan (Kristen Stewart) falls crazy stupid hard for a glittery if not gaunt Edward Cullen (Robert Pattinson). Edward is something like 105 years old but looks like he's 19. Bella is 18. This is okay because Stephanie Meyer, the author of the books on which the movies are based, is Mormon. 

I do not mean to denigrate anyone's religion. I'm just saying that like C.S. Lewis before her, Meyer finds a way to sneak her religious views into her bestsellers.

Also, Bella and Edward can't do the deed because Edward is positive that he won't be able to control himself and might rip Bella's previously unopened love box to shreds or something.  Like a kid who can't control himself on Christmas. It's never fully explained.

So they're content with holding hands, staring into each other eyes, leaping up tall Pacific Northwest trees, frenching, and heavy petting. Basically all the 101 Fun Things To Do (Besides Having Sex) your creepy P.E. teacher read aloud in third period health.

Anyways, after three movies and an unconsumated threesome with a Native American werewolf, Bella and Edward are finally monster and wife.

To seal their fate Bella will eventually be "turned" into a vampire via Edward's "venom," a forever type deal that goes along nicely with the Mormon tenet of "eternal marriage."

But Bella wants to wait until AFTER the honeymoon to be a bloodsucker. Writhing in pain in her newly undead body would be akin to going on vacay when you're on your period.

And this is where things started to get unbelievable. 

So Ed decides to "try" to get it on with Bells whose been hounding him. He's all like, "Nooooo I can't hurt you." And she's all, "Pleeeeeease hurt me."

So they start getting it on 'til the break of dawn and one stroke in, this guy yanks a huge chunk out of the headboard. By stroke two the bed breaks IN TWO. And Bella looks delighted, glowy, so into it even though she's never done it ever in life and definitely not with a super-veiny demon dick. 

There's no discomfort. No hymen blood (although I hear that doesn't happen in real life anymore). No "Stop wait, hold on." Not even an ouch.

Bella just stares deeply into her undead lover's eyes and all is right with whatever's going on under the sheets.

In the morning, the bed's pretty busted up and so is Bella. She's got bruises on her arm and her neck. But none of that matters because she did it! And just now I realized how the phrase "do it" is a tricky pun on accomplishment. Like sticking the P in the V (as Emily would call it) is like getting an A+. Anyway, yes, teen girls, this is love! Bruises, but you're glowing. 

For obvious reasons, I found this insanely irresponsible. Thus far, "Twilight" hasn't been much more than a dirty secret between me and my matinee. Because I don't have anyone under 5'8'' living in my house, I'm only vaguely aware of the all-encompassing obsession some hormone ragers have for the films and the books.  

Plus, most of it looks innocent. Girl meets boy, they get married, they do it, they have kids. What a beautiful Judeo-Christian heteronormative fantasy to wrap up in a modern Grimm fairytale. Like when they used to turn secular music into hymns.

That's actually fine with me, you can always de-brainwash your kid later. 

But the idea that losing the big V is 1) super easy and not painful or 2) painful to the point of being abusive but you love him so don't worry about, is troubling.

To me the movie commodifies Bella's virginity in some complicated ways. Yes, it was her choice, which is awesome, but then it seemed as if once the choice was made there was no turning back. That all a girl has to do is say "yes" and whatever happens later -- bruises, broken beds, vampire baby! -- will just work itself on out. 

I don't know, maybe I'm just suffering from PTSD when it comes to first times. I won't go into detail but it wasn't stare-y, starry or glowy. It was icky, painful and brief. And I've just assumed that most first times are like that, although movies had me dreaming of soft-lighting, white sheets and giggling. 

None of this is to say that if I knew what I was in for that I wouldn't have done it but still. I wouldn't have minded a heads up.

But is that even a realistic expectation of a film industry that blows fairy dust on bombs and bumping uglies in equal measure? Is there a mainstream movie out there (besides Fast Times at Ridgemont High) that shows what losing your "innocence" really looks like?