Grateful Victimization, Joyful Suffering: Confronting the Evangelical Embrace of Stephenie Meyer’s Twilight Saga, Part II
Twilight has become the synecdochic term for Stephenie Meyer’s book, film, and pop culture phenomenon. This makes it is easy to forget that there are three other books in the series: New Moon, Eclipse, and Breaking Dawn. The second and third books of the saga, New Moon and Eclipse, both have titles that evoke images of things being obscured, hidden, or lost entirely. Although Meyer identifies these titles with the evolution of Bella Swan’s relationship with the vampire Edward Cullen,1 the theme of being lost and overshadowed is also present at a deeper level: both New Moon and Eclipsedemonstrate a tendency to idealize and romanticize female victimization. The two middle books of the Twilight canon offer key lenses through which to view the proliferation of negative gender role portrayals present in the novels and in evangelical responses to the series. This essay uses examples from New Moon to parse out the complementarian bias of casting a male as protector at the expense of women being envisaged as perpetual victims. It also reframes Eclipse’s theme of sacrificial love as that of self-annihilation, as viewed through the evangelical response to Twilight. When read alongside evangelical relationship texts geared toward young women, these categories reveal that between Twilight and Breaking Dawn, there is a very real dark night of the soul, both for Bella and for the young women she represents.
The New Moon Paradigm: Male Protector; Female Cipher
Along with abstinence,2 another word that commonly occurs within evangelical reviews of the Twilight saga is the word protector. With his superhuman strength and ability to read minds, Edward regularly rescues Bella from danger. The trigger event for their relationship is Edward’s stepping between Bella and an out-of-control car that is about to hit her. He easily stops the car with his hand while shielding Bella from the impact. From this point on, Edward rescues Bella from hazardous situations but also forcefully takes on the role of her personal bodyguard. Edward watches Bella as she sleeps, obsessively tracks her comings and goings, rescues her from evil vampires, and, at one point, stops a gang of would-be rapists from attacking her.
For evangelical Christians, the protection Edward gives to Bella is an inspiring model of strength and chivalry. In Escaping the Vampire, Kimberly Powers identifies with her teen readers, saying:
Each of us is searching for a hero who is eternally attached to, fiercely protective of, and passionately committed to us. As we discovered in our conversation about what drew us to Edward, we’re all on a search for a hero who will prove his love no matter the cost.3
The hero Powers hopes her readers will ultimately reach for is Jesus, whom she refers to throughout the text as the “Ultimate Rescuer.” In her conversational book, Powers combines the themes of what draws girls so deeply into the world of Edward and Bella, and invites them to direct that longing toward Christ. Considering the ways Edward protects Bella, Powers asks, “What about you? There’s probably at least one time in your life when you’ve needed to be rescued.” Powers finds in Edward’s watchful care an example of what every girl longs for in her heart.4
For male readers, Kurt Bruner, author of The Twilight Phenomenon, raises Edward up as an example for young men to follow. Citing the legacy of virtuous men who “found a sense of meaning in the role of provider and protector,” Bruner says, “Edward’s character symbolizes a man’s conscious decision to abandon the self-centered tendencies of boyhood and intentionally move toward the self-sacrificial call of manhood.” Reviewer Steven Isaac also points out Edward’s protection of Bella, noting “he’s man enough to thank Jacob [her best friend] for rescuing her when he was not around to do so.”5
While Edward seems to have captured the moral imagination of evangelical reviewers, Bella’s position as the one who needs rescuing and protection resonates with many women writers who recognize a basic desire for wanting to be rescued. Reviewer Elizabeth Leitch summarizes the appeal of Edward as a character because he symbolizes “the protector always standing by to rescue us.”6
Clearly, the rescuer/rescued dyad holds powerful significance for many evangelical Christian readers of the Twilight saga. However, if we investigate the effect of Edward’s protective stance toward Bella, we may find it actually has an adverse affect on her. With Edward’s hypervigilance comes Bella’s understanding that aggressive control is an act of care and that protection is conveyed through anger. Consequently, when love is given primarily through protection, being in danger becomes a necessary scenario for receiving love.
Into the Text: New Moon
At the beginning of New Moon, the second book in the Twilight saga, Edward decides to leave Bella after his brother Jasper attacks her in a momentary loss of control. Though Bella defends Jasper, knowing what happened was an accident, Edward chooses to save Bella from a life of near-death experiences, and tells her she will never have to see or think about him again. Naturally, Bella is devastated. Only after months of silence and depression does she slowly begin to try to live her life without Edward.
To relieve her concerned father’s mind, Bella agrees to see a movie with a girlfriend. While on the street, Bella thinks she recognizes a group of men that cornered her in an alley a year before. Instead of leaving the area, however, Bella finds herself strangely drawn toward the men; “I didn’t understand why, but the nebulous threat the men presented drew me toward them. It was a senseless impulse, but I hadn’t felt any kind of impulse in so long. [. . .] I followed it.”7 Following her impulse to move closer to the men, she suddenly hears Edward’s voice in her head telling her to stop:
It was a furious voice, a familiar voice, a beautiful voice—soft like velvet even though it was irate. It was his voice.[. . .] In the instant I heard his voice, everything was very clear. Like my head suddenly surfaced out of some dark pool.
[. . .] “Go back to Jessica,” the lovely voice ordered, still angry.8
Bella continues to move toward the dangerous men, hoping the Edward in her mind will keep speaking to her. She says, “He felt impossibly close, close for the first time since the end” and that “the anger in his voice was concern, the same anger that was once very familiar.”9 Yet knowing Edward is not truly there, she tries to interpret what is happening:
My subconscious mind was giving me what it thought I wanted. [. . .] Projecting what he would have said if A) he were here and B) he would be in any way bothered by something happening to me.[. . .] my reaction was hardly sane, though—I was grateful. The sound of his voice was something that I’d feared I was losing, and so, more than anything else, I felt overwhelming gratitude that my unconscious mind had held onto that sound [. . .]10
Believing she will never be with Edward again, Bella finds herself drawn toward danger in order to recreate the paradigm in which she most felt loved by him: his protection. But even in her imagined memory of Edward, his voice is “furious” and “irate.” It is this very anger, which Bella calls “beautiful,” that comforts and relieves her. In the absence of love, Bella runs toward danger, subconsciously expecting her lover-protector to return. She admits that “anger was what I wanted to hear—false, fabricated evidence that he cared.”11 For Bella, Edward’s angry treatment of her is synonymous with care. The sound of his irate cautions eases Bella’s wounded heart, cementing the illusion that being a damsel in distress will bring her knight back. This is what Edward’s hypervigilance causes: a young woman preferring an angry man’s voice in her head over her own. Bella seeks out increasingly dangerous ways to tempt back her projection of Edward, sharpening New Moon’s dichotomy between man as protector, and woman as grateful victim.
Into the Culture: Protection
The evangelical response to Edward’s continual need to protect Bella from life-threatening danger echoes the popular complementarian belief that men are made to lead and women to follow. Most particularly, the warrior/princess metaphor for men and women is arguably the most common theme among evangelical relationship texts written for young women. Books like Lady in Waiting, Young Lady in Waiting, and Captivatingusher young women into a grand narrative wherein godly femininity is exemplified by the celebration of male strength. After explaining that “men are made for battle,” Stasi Eldredge claims to her readers, “you might not want to fight in a war, but don’t you long for a man who will fight for you?” According to Captivating, the “essence of man is strength,” “the essence of woman is beauty,” and women “long for the protection masculine strength offers.”12
The flip side of male strength is that women are urged to become passive and silent objects of beauty who wait to be rescued. Stasi Eldredge tells women that “to experience the strength of a man is to have him speak on our behalf.” The underlying message of this statement is that it condones men speaking for women; male strength is exemplified by female silence. In Kimberly George’s reflection from Jesus Girls: True Tales of Growing Up Female and Evangelical, she quotes the words she heard at a girls-only event hosted by her church. A male youth leader tells a group of adolescent girls, “Your silence as a woman is a very powerful thing [. . .] Paul talks about that. The man is listening to God, and your role is to respond to him.”13 From this example, girls are taught not only to view silence as empowering, but that it is men to whom they should be responding, not God.
Bruner makes a similar argument while explaining the benefit of Bella being the one person whose mind Edward cannot read. He says, “A big part of what makes a woman so intriguing to men is what can’t be known or seen.” Defining this as feminine mystique, “something you can observe but not understand,” Bruner writes that “when you couple mystique with feminine, you get the picture of a man staring at a lovely creature who can be observed but not understood.”14 Bruner pairs femininity with the image of a man looking at a “creature.” Although the message that women should be seen and not heard is only implicit in this statement, Bruner clarifies the message, saying,
In our generation the notion of mystique has gone the way of the dinosaurs. Boys don’t wonder about feminine charms because those charms are no longer hidden. A boy doesn’t need to read a girl’s mind since most girls are all too eager to reveal every secret thought and overwhelm boys with a barrage of phone calls, text messages, and online chat sessions that drain away all sense of “mystery” from the relationship.15
According to Bruner, it’s better that Bella’s (and every female’s) mind is left a mystery so that men can experience “feminine charms” without interference from feminine voices. When Bella finds comfort in the imagined angry voice of her warrior-protector-love, she succumbs to the pressure of a controlling voice’s ability to make her own voice seem unnecessary. She seeks out peril so that love will not only fight for her, but also speak for her as well. When evangelicals find valiance and strength in Edward’s controlling anger and beauty in Bella’s submissive love for Edward, they further the cultural idea that women are most desirable as silent objects of beauty for men to protect.
The model being raised up for young girls through books like Captivating, as well as through evangelicals’ response to Edward’s role in Bella’s life, is that women will always be in need of rescue and should therefore surrender their will to a protector who will take care of it better than they could themselves. As evangelicals respond positively to Edward and Bella’s knight/damsel archetype, they reinforce the belief that girls have nothing better to offer than beauty for a man to protect.
A Call for Empowerment
In The Journey Back to Eden: Restoring the Creator’s Design for Women and Men, theologian Glen Scorgie advocates a vision of egalitarianism from within and on behalf of evangelicalism. He writes,
Low self-esteem, pandemic among females in the West, is particularly serious among Christian girls and women. Too often churches foster among women traits of triviality, dependence on others, and general underdevelopment of the self.16
He explains further how under the pressure of these external messages and lack of visible female leadership in the evangelical church, girls “can internalize the themes of patriarchy, and accept the lie that they belong to the weaker, more trivial and flawed version of humanity.”17
Raising girls to believe that they are inherently flawed compared to their male peers sets the stage for female victimization. Author Karen McClintock states that “the church has participated in perpetuating sexual abuse by theologically articulating patriarchy,” wherein Christians are told “God is the ruler over man and that man is to rule over the woman and children.”18 As Marie Fortune says in Sexual Violence: The Sin Revisited, this conception of the created order bears theological implications in which women are created to be victims. Fortune writes that “this assumption requires an understanding of God as one who is hostile and cruel to have created two classes of persons—the victims and the victimizers.”19
Such hierarchal concepts of gender not only endanger female bodies, but also damage female identity and ability to relate to others. As author Carol Gilligan says, “any hierarchy creates tension, competition, and splits that keep people from feeling free to love.” Devaluation of women not only produces a victim mindset, but also hinders women’s ability to participate in mature, loving relationships. The infantilizing posture of such “theologically articulated patriarchy” disempowers women by casting relationships with God and others in terms of hierarchal power structures in which women are at the bottom. When hierarchy is placed at the heart of intimacy,20separation, rather than connection, is emphasized. For evangelical women who are taught above all else to value and nurture intimate relationships, a system that validates such theological claims for separation serves to produce only suffering.
The Eclipse Paradigm: Sacrificial Love; Self Annihilation
While the most advertised evangelical championing of the Twilight saga has to do with abstinence, the most lauded element of the books and movies is the theme of sacrificial love. Even within negative evangelical responses toTwilight, the role of sacrifice for the sake of love is still highlighted as positive. Reviewers praise Edward and Bella for the various times they put themselves in harm’s way to try to save the life of another. Elizabeth Leitch writes that in the same way that Bella’s willingness to sacrifice her life for Edward “speaks to her ability to see Edward as more than just the monster he believes himself to be, so too does Christ’s sacrifice speak to the value within each of us that makes us not only deserving of his love but capable of bestowing that love on others.” Reviewer Jacob Sahms claims that “the display of sacrificial love by Stephenie Meyer through her characters was downright Christ-like.” Steven Isaac states that “Edward and Jacob both end up taking a backseat to Bella’s courage and self-sacrificial spirit.” Bruner agrees that “all of the previous examples of mind over matter and self discipline pale in comparison to Bella willingly laying down her life for another,” and that in this way, “the Christian theme of heroic self-sacrifice enters the back door of the story.”21
As seen here, the evangelical response to Bella’s self-sacrifice is regularly compared to Christ’s sacrifice. Bella’s countless offers to give up her life are perceived as the ultimate gift of love: a gift she has plenty of opportunities to offer. By New Moon, she has offered herself for Edward’s life and taken dramatic risks to keep her father as far from the vampire world as possible. Not only is Bella always in danger, she is ever willing to suffer rather than watch someone risk their life for hers. But comparing Bella’s sacrifice to Christ’s overlooks the larger context in which Bella runs toward death for the sake of her loved ones. A closer look reveals that Bella’s desire to give up her life comes more from a place of shame than one of love. Bella offers her life because she thinks her life is not worth saving. These sacrificial acts done out of self-contempt are not courageous, but rather, perpetuate a myth of female masochism: that women are most happy when they are suffering.
Into the Text: Eclipse
With the third book of the saga, Edward has returned to Bella but their relationship is strained by Bella’s deepened relationship with her best friend Jacob. Edward and Jacob are natural enemies: Edward is a vampire, and Jacob, a type of werewolf. Although their two families/tribes made an uncertain truce a century earlier, Bella’s closeness with both of them leads to varying levels of trouble, not the least of which includes a vampire and a werewolf fighting over the same girl. Bella’s loyalties to both are stretched, as she is unwilling to give up either her best friend or her boyfriend.
In Eclipse, Bella fears for both of their lives as Edward and Jacob are forced to work together; Bella is being hunted by another vampire, an enemy of the Cullen clan. With a family of superhuman vampires and an entire wolf pack of supersized werewolves ready and eager to fight to the death to save her, Bella is put in the most uncomfortable situation: having to believe her life is worth another’s. She desperately searches for a way to keep the Cullens and the wolves of the Quillayute tribe from shedding blood for her sake.
She finds her solution in a Quillayute legend. Centuries earlier, the third wife of a chief changed the tide of a battle against an evil vampire. Bella hears the story of chief Taha Aki’s third wife, who, in order to distract the vampire and give the warriors a chance to strike, plunges a dagger into her own heart. The sudden gush of blood causes the vampire to lose focus for a split second, which is all that is needed for the warriors to defeat the enemy who until that moment had them nearly conquered. From the moment Bella hears this story, she cannot rest until she figures out how she can, at the exact right moment, sacrifice herself so the Cullens and Quillayutes will not have to fight for her. But the very reason the two families are preparing for battle is to save Bella’s life; in trying to give up her life for theirs, she would actually be perpetrating the very thing they are trying to prevent. With unknowing irony, she inwardly declares, “If I had to bleed to save them, I would do it. I would die to do it, like the third wife.”22 Bella refuses to let others make sacrifices for her, resorting to shame and self-contempt whenever anyone offers kindness or courage on her behalf.
Even after she is essentially tricked into kissing Jacob, and Edward willingly forgives her, she cannot forgive herself. She screams at Edward, “I want you to tell me that you’re disgusted with me and you’re going to leave so I can beg and grovel on my knees for you to stay.” When Edward refuses to placate her sense of shame, she says, “Let me suffer. I deserve it.”23
Bella’s default response to any situation is to take the blame. Though she is surrounded by clans of people with supernatural powers who want to protect her and can do so without straining a supernatural muscle, Bella, the least empowered of them all, believes it is her duty to suffer so that others do not. Bella grovels in self-contempt, and jumps at any excuse to end her life. To commend this as sacrificial love is to define love as the desperate urge to erase oneself.24 It is not that Bella wants to suffer, but that she believes shedeserves to suffer. In the Twilight saga, self-sacrifice is actually shame laying itself on the altar in hopes of being punished.
Into the Culture: Sacrifice
The theme of shame and suffering is not uncommon in evangelical texts written for young women. In the early pages of Captivating, Stasi Eldredge calls shame the “universal companion of women.” Young Lady in Waitingexplains, “Women tend to struggle with insecurity because of the unique way God created them.”25 In both of these statements, shame is spoken of as a given, as part of a woman’s makeup or as an unavoidable fact. This model for womanhood becomes even more dangerous when guilt is confused with shame. In Sexual Shame, McClintock distinguishes guilt from shame in this way:
Guilt is the conscience telling us that we have done something wrong. It serves as a protection for us, as a warning sign that we have violated our own values. With guilt we have injured others or ourselves by a behavior that is unacceptable.[. . .] With shame, [however,] actions are not the whole story. Our very beings are at fault. It isn’t simply that I hurt my brother, but that I am not worthy of my brother’s forgiveness.26
Notice the difference, then, in how Kimberly Powers explains shame to the readers of Escaping the Vampire:
You see, shame can work in two very different ways. The first is to remain in your life and discolor your world by constantly reminding you of the poor choices you made or the circumstances that brought you to this point. When shame is allowed to work this way in your life, you’re miserable and overwhelmed by negative thoughts and feelings.[. . .] But there’s an alternative. You see, the other way shame works is to actually push you toward God. Did you catch that? The shame you feel can actually help you draw closer to God! [. . .] Shame puts you in such a vulnerable spot that you finally understand that all you have is Him.27
By this definition, shame signifies a healthy response to remorse. Shame is what pushes one toward God. Pain becomes the way to receive forgiveness, rather than the reason for needing it. In a culture that already shames young women for any hint of sexual feeling and regards their voices as subordinate to men, this theology of shame needlessly spiritualizes women’s suffering as an agent toward righteousness, or more specifically, womanliness. As Stasi Eldridge writes in Captivating, “to posses true beauty, we must be willing to suffer.”28
More specifically, the spiritualization of women’s shame and suffering codifies an imbalanced relational exchange between men and women. Aside from being taught to value shame experiences as teaching lessons, young girls exposed to this message hear that service to men is a Christ-like gift. InEvery Woman’s Battle, Shannon Ethridge gives the following advice to women in the midst of struggling marriages:
By letting go of your expectations for your husband to meet your emotional needs and redirecting your focus on meeting his needs instead (whether those needs be for plenty of sleep or for physical pleasure), you are serving him. In this way, his desire will eventually be to serve you as well.29
Ethridge encourages women to give up any hope or expectation of being cared for in exchange for becoming even better caretakers. She tells women they should serve their husbands while “expecting nothing in return.”30 While it may be wise to advise women not to expect their husbands to meet all their emotional needs, Ethridge’s advice assumes an imbalance of care. Women are expected to be satisfied with getting nothing for giving much. This pattern of relinquishing self through misplaced shame, unnecessary suffering, and willing subservience amounts to the spiritualization of self-annihilation. The righteous woman is the non-woman who asks for nothing and is happy to receive nothing. The more she suffers, the more beautiful she becomes.
In this way, the evangelical Christian response to Bella’s compulsion toward self erasure31 is disturbingly symptomatic of the message that suffering is a beautiful gift women give to men and to God. While men may be the protectors, it is women’s job to make sure no one suffers on their account. A woman of true worth is one who knows she’s worthless. Praising Bella’s self-sacrifice comes at the cost of praising her desire to be punished. But as Beth Felker Jones points out in regards to Bella’s distorted expression of sacrifice, “If we hope to imitate Christ’s sacrifice, we cannot despise what we are sacrificing.”32 In the case of Bella, sacrificial love should never be equated with lack of self-worth.
A Call for Emancipation
In Texts of Terror: Literary-Feminist Readings of Biblical Narrative, Phyllis Trible examines four Old Testament narratives of women’s suffering through a Christological lens. Writing of Hagar and the “Desolation of Rejection,” Trible identifies the symbolic power of Hagar’s story of powerlessness in which Hagar resonates as “the self-effacing female whose identity shrinks in service to others.” Trible’s Christological reading departs from predominant messages for women in regards to Christ’s sacrifice, as the focus is not in praising women who made sacrifices, but in drawing attention to the marginalized accounts of women who were sacrificed. The story of the “self-effacing woman” is not held up as a Christlike model to emulate, but as a symbol of what Christ’s death called to an end.33
The disproportionate focus on the atonement as an act of necessary violence34 has perhaps done more to entrench women’s sanctified suffering than has any New Testament text on women’s subjugation. The idealization of Christ’s torture on the cross has, in the words of Rita Nakashima Brock and Rebecca Parker, revisited that torture on others, “masked by the words ‘virtuous suffering’ and ‘self-sacrificing love.’” Glen Scorgie identifies as well how it is not only the misapplication of Christ’s subordination on the cross that has imprisoned women into the role of sufferer, but also the example of Mary as a “sexless, serene, and passively suffering woman whose grace under affliction [is] promoted as an example to all.”35
These models of self-sacrifice, when held up for women already in the midst of cultural marginalization and silencing, serve to condone rather than challenge the system of women’s oppression.36 Author Serene Jones describes the dynamics thus:
Already suffering from an excess of humility and a debilitating lack of self-containment, [woman] is made by God’s grace to recapitulate the dynamics of her oppression and self-loss. [. . .] Rather than a conversion narrative that opens into transformation and new beginning, the story that meets woman here is the story of a shattering she knows all too well—more like sin than the freeing act of divine mercy.37
Karen McClintock, reminding her readers that “Jesus did not go to the cross ashamed,” argues that the cross should be viewed “from the perspective of Christ’s resistance rather than his sacrifice.” In this way, “the cross may be seen as the place of liberation from shame and the resurrection as a power that we too may share, as we seek to love one another, liberating us from sin and unworthiness.”38
Christian women cannot expect to find freedom from shame while the model for their salvation legitimizes their bondage. In New Moon and Eclipse, Bella both apologizes for bleeding and yearns for the chance to spill her blood. She values her life only to the extent that she gets in no one else’s way. She looks on the power and beauty of the vampire clan, finds herself unworthy, and earnestly seeks ways to end her life, either through human death or vampire transformation. Bella’s love for Edward and devotion to Jacob serve as justification for her acts of sacrifice and submission, locking her in a system of relationships that legitimize her own bondage. The more she loves them, the more helpless and weak she feels. But Serene Jones writes, “God desires to empower and liberate women rather that to break what little self-confidence they have.”39 For women, self-annihilation can have no more place in the good news of salvation, than Bella’s death-wish can have in a loving relationship. When women are taught to treat shame as an offering to God, violence soon becomes another burden to which women must surrender. Ultimately, we must repent the ways we have condoned narratives and interpretations that normalize female suffering, and instead, validate those wherein female strength is embodied as living in love, not just dying for it.
Editor’s Note: Don’t miss Part III of Swanson’s essay, The Bruises of Bella Swan: Confronting the Evangelical Embrace of Stephanie Meyer’s Twilight Saga.
1. Stephenie Meyer, “Frequently Asked Questions: New Moon,” StephenieMeyer.com, accessed August 10, 2010, http://www.stepheniemeyer.com/nm_faq.html.
2. Kj Swanson, “Why Are You Apologizing for Bleeding? Confronting the Evangelical Embrace of Twilight, Part One,” The Other Journal 18 (2010), http://theotherjournal.com/article.php?id=1020.
3. Kimberly Powers, Escaping The Vampire: Desperate for the Immortal Hero(Colorado Springs, CO: David C. Cook, 2009), 155.
4. Ibid., 152 and 155.
5. Kurt Bruner, The Twilight Phenomenon: Forbidden Fruit or Thirst-Quenching Fantasy? (Shippensburg, PA: Destiny Image Publishers, Inc., 2009), 103; Steven Isaac, “The Twilight Saga: New Moon,” Focus on the Family’s Plugged In Online, Movie Reviews, http://www.pluggedin.com/movies/intheaters/Twilightsaganewmoon.aspx.
6. Elizabeth Leitch, “The Eternal Romance,” HollywoodJesus.com, Twilight (2008) Review, http://www.hollywoodjesus.com/DVDDetail.cfm/i/69061AAF%2D000C%2D110F%2DF0925BD6BA7D1A26/ia/BD8898A1%2DFAFA%2DE05A%2D1CFCCEF177ABC8C3.
7. Stephenie Meyer, New Moon (New York, NY: Little, Brown and Company, 2006), 109-110.
8. Ibid., 111. All italics are in original unless noted otherwise.
9. Ibid., 112.
10. Ibid., 112-113.
11. Ibid., 113.
12. John and Stasi Eldredge, Captivating: Unveiling the Mystery of a Woman’s Soul (Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson, 2005), 17, 128, 130, and 129.
13. Kimberly George, “Feminist-in-Waiting,” in Jesus Girls: True Tales of Growing Up Female and Evangelical, ed. Hannah Faith Notes (Eugene, OR: Cascade Books, 2009), 143.
14. Bruner, The Twilight Phenomenon, 105-106
15. Ibid., 106.
16. Glen Scorgie, The Journey Back to Eden: Restoring the Creator’s Design for Women and Men (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2005), 190-191.
17. Ibid., 15.
18. Karen A. McClintock, Sexual Shame: An Urgent Call to Healing(Minneapolis, MN: Fortress Press, 2001), 50.
19. Marie M. Fortune, Sexual Violence: The Sin Revisited (Cleveland, OH: The Pilgrim Press, 2005), xx.
20. Carol Gilligan, The Birth of Pleasure: A New Map of Love (New York, NY: Vintage Books, 2002), 69 and 21.
21. Elizabeth Leitch, “When Monsters Love,” HollywoodJesus.com, Twilight Saga: New Moon (2009) Review, http://www.hollywoodjesus.com/movieDetail.cfm/i/BB0216E7%2DBE4E%2DCBE2%2D46C6976A30013E81/ia/140C441A%2DC3F7%2DCB69%2D48752C4800012DC3; Jacob Sahms, “Vampire With A Soul,” HollywoodJesus.com, Twilight (2008) Review, http://www.hollywoodjesus.com/dvdDetail.cfm/i/69061AAF-000C-110FF0925BD6BA7D1A26/ia/5CBA91A7-D5E8-0299-D77D0417D62CE839; Isaac, Focus on the Family’s Plugged In Online; and Bruner, The Twilight Phenomenon, 149.
22. Stephenie Meyer, Eclipse (New York, NY: Little, Brown and Company, 2007), 539.
23. Ibid., 534.
24. Beth Felker Jones, “Vampires and Young Female Desire,” The Gospel and Culture Project, November 14, 2008, http://www.gospelandculture.org/2008/11/vampires-and-young-female-desire/.
25. Eldredge, Captivating, 7; and Jackie Kendall and Debbie Jones, Young Lady in Waiting: Developing the Heart of a Princess (Shippensburg, PA: Destiny Image Publishers, Inc., 2008), 182.
26. McClintock, Sexual Shame, 28-29.
27. Powers, Escaping the Vampire, 116-117.
28. Eldredge, Captivating, 143.
29. Ibid., Every Woman’s Battle: Discovering God’s Plan for Sexual and Emotional Fulfillment (Colorado Springs, CO: Waterbrook Press, 2003), 146.
30. Ibid., 146-147.
31. Beth Felker Jones, Touched By A Vampire: Discovering the Hidden Messages in the Twilight Saga (Colorado Springs, CO: Multnomah Books, 2009), 69.
32. Ibid., 41.
33. Phyllis Trible, Texts of Terror: Literary Feminist Readings of Biblical Narratives (Philadelphia, PA: Fortress Press, 1984), 9-35, particularly 28 and 29.
34. Fortune, Sexual Violence, 142.
35. Rita Nakashima Brock and Rebecca Parker, Proverbs of Ashes (Boston, MA: Beacon Press, 2001), 249-50 as cited by Fortune, Sexual Violence, 142; Scorgie, The Journey Back to Eden, 37-56 and 174.
36. Serene Jones, Feminist Theory and Christian Theology (Minneapolis, MN: Fortress Press, 2000), 63.
38. McClintock, Sexual Shame, 117.
39. Jones, Feminist Theory, 63.
Kj Swanson is a doctoral student at the University of St Andrews in the Institute for Theology, Imagination and the Arts. A graduate of Bennington College and The Seattle School of Theology and Psychology, where she received her master’s of divinity, her research interests include feminist theology, literature, and pop culture. She blogs about such things at http://kjswanson.com/blog/. These essays are drawn from her MDiv thesis.