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Twilight series as a bodice ripping romance?

LA Columnist Sonja Bolle is distressed that 10 year olds are reading the Twilight series because she thinks that it is “one long, bodice-ripping romance.”   Bolle admits to reading, nay “devouring” the series.   My guess is that Bolle hasn’t read one bodice ripping romance because, the Twilight series is all about abstinence (wait until you are married even if it takes you 100 years).   The series doesn’t even have sex.   It has pillow biting.

I would be far more concerned about the 10 year old reading about ‘imprinting on a child thing’ and the whole ‘pregnancy breaks my spine and kills me and I have to be revived by my undead lover as the spawn is ripped from my belly.’

Is Petals in the Wind okay or not okay for the 10 year old set?   Is incest better topic than vampire abstinence?

Jane Litte is the founder of Dear Author, a lawyer, and a lover of pencil skirts. She self publishes NA and contemporaries (and publishes with Berkley and Montlake) and spends her downtime reading romances and writing about them. Her TBR pile is much larger than the one shown in the picture and not as pretty. You can reach Jane by email at jane @ dearauthor dot com


  1. Anion
    Dec 18, 2008 @ 10:29:54

    Hmm. Having only read the first one, my initial thought was “ridiculous”…but I guess the third anf fourth books become more sexually explicit–or rather, actual sex happens, instead of just a bit of cheek-touching and chaste, tongue-free kisses?

    If so, then yeah. Not appropriate. I am so, so tired of this business of forcing young girls–young children in general–to become more and more sexually aware and precocious. I will never forget going to the mall a few years ago with my husband and our then-three daughter, and seeing a girl there who could not have been more than eight at the most, in high-heeled sandals, a cropped belly-baring top, jewelry, and makeup. And not sweet child make-up either, the kind of barely tinted lip gloss I had when I was a little girl, but actual makeup. Her mother looked perfectly normal. I was stunned.

    Especially as I have a fourteen-year-old-stepdaughter, and am faced this Xmas with explaining to her why it is that while her friends may be allowed to wear lace-topped thigh-high stockings under miniskirts, all four of her parents feel they are inappropriate for a girl her age, I grow more and more annoyed and angry by the day by a culture that insists to teenagers that something is wrong with them if they aren’t sexily dressed, sexily behaved, and sexually ACTIVE. I don’t have a problem with her reading books with some sex in them, but we make it very clear to her that while other parents may say things like “They’re going to do it anyway”, WE expect more of her than that. Reading it is fine. Doing it is another thing entirely.

    It’s a tricky situation. I’m a big fan of sex in books; I write them, I love to read them. But I do wish we could allow our children to be children, and that it was easier to keep them away from stuff like this. Why does it feel so often that my husband and I are the only parents who aren’t just thrilled to force our daughter into adulthood? Why does she have to be the only kid whose parents won’t give her a cellphone and an Urban Decay make-up kit for Christmas this year? Why are so many parents abdicating responsibility for raising their children, and instead just tossing them into a peer-ruled world at earlier and earlier ages?

    My daughter is only a few years away from ten. I do NOT want to think of her reading about violent sex at that point in time, even though I think for adults, and even for older teens, there’s nothing wrong with it. (Also trying to keep in mind that at age 12 I got hold of Jackie Collins and read everything she’d ever written.)

    Sorry…didn’t mean to rant like that…it’s just a touchy subject for me. I’m not looking forward to the thigh-high stocking discussion with the sd, although our previous discussions about sex and sexuality have been extremely comfortable, productive, and pleasant for both of us; this one feels like it has the potential to hurt her feelings, so I’m a bit nervous about it. (And yes, if any of you would like to know what I said to her, drop me an email. I’m happy to share my “Have a great sex talk with a preteen” tips, lol. Not that I expect anyone to actually email, but I thought I’d throw it out there.) It’s Anion73 AT hotmail.

  2. Jane
    Dec 18, 2008 @ 12:20:58

    @Anion There is kissing, but it’s never explicit and there is sex, but it is closed door sort of thing. Fade to black. Hence the pillow biting reference. Bella wakes up after her wedding night to a bed full of feathers and Edward has to explain that he bit the pillows during their time together.

  3. Anion
    Dec 18, 2008 @ 12:32:25

    Ahh. Well never mind. (Said in sheepish Emily Litella voice.)

    The article makes it seem as if it’s MUCH more explicit–she mentions bodies flinging into walls and the wholesale destruction of furniture. I’m still not sure I’m entirely comfortable with it, but at ten I had a pretty good idea of what went where and that it was something people enjoyed doing, so that doesn’t seem so bad. So, yeah, never mind. It’s not that I don’t think ten-year-olds should be kept ignorant of the fact that sex exists, I just don’t think they need it mentoned on the constant basis the article in question seems to imply.

  4. Jane
    Dec 18, 2008 @ 12:36:25

    @Anion: Hmm. When they were both vamps and Bella hadn’t quite learned her strength there was physical destruction but there was always violence in the series, much more violence than sex in my opinion.

  5. GrowlyCub
    Dec 18, 2008 @ 12:44:22

    there was always violence in the series, much more violence than sex in my opinion.

    Which is the thing that always really blows my mind. Folks get all het up about sexual content in books, movies, games, etc. but nobody says a peep about body parts flung about, gruesome victim shots that leave nothing to the imagination (I had to give up on NCIS and CSI for that reason), outright invitation to murder in some video games, etc.

    It’s assbackwards, that’s for sure.

  6. Ann-Kat
    Dec 19, 2008 @ 21:58:58

    What GrowlyCub said.

    I wouldn’t want any ten year olds (much less the eight year old asking to be bitten) reading Twilight, but not because it’s a “bodice-ripper”. In fact, that reference made me laugh out right. There was nothing in that book (or the whole series) that put a blush on my face like some other books I’ve come across.

    Nope. I’m more concerned with the innuendos and violence. Though the book overall is generally quite mild, there are scenes and references I find questionable for anyone under the age of fourteen.

  7. yun
    Dec 26, 2008 @ 16:16:53

    i personally love the twilight series and i’m only 13, so for all i care, you can all go rot in hell.

  8. Meryl
    Dec 28, 2008 @ 22:49:41

    I’m 13 and I LUV the twilight series too but I don’t think you should rot in hell. Adults especially parents are allways touchy with anything to do with sex.

  9. yun
    Dec 31, 2008 @ 15:51:01

    but that’s the thing! SMeyer had actually made something that shows kids that you shouldn’t have sex untill you’re happily married, while most other books talk about having sex and getting pregnant when you’re only 16…

  10. Anion
    Dec 31, 2008 @ 16:26:24

    Well, yun, when I’m not busy rotting in hell I appreciate the “wait until you get married” message. That doesn’t mean I want my ten-year-old daughter reading explicit sex, whether it takes place before or after a wedding.

    Thank you, Meryl, for not condemning me to hell. And we’re touchy about sex because we don’t want to see you get hurt, and we don’t want you to think your sexuality is the only important thing about you, or that you’re only a worthwhile person if you’re sexy. That’s all.

  11. MoJo
    Dec 31, 2008 @ 17:15:45

    SMeyer had actually made something that shows kids that you shouldn't have sex until you're happily married

    But she had to do it with a vampire and not real people.

    And she had to do it with a D/s sexual subtext that IMO she has no idea she did it.

    And I totally get that yun and Meryl won’t understand a word I’m saying, but there is very little “innocent” about Twilight.

    Anion, you are not alone in your distress about the sexualization of little girls. I can’t tell you how frustrated I am about not being able to find waist-high jeans instead of simply low-rise or hip huggers. My kid’s 5. She doesn’t need to show her butt crack because her waistband isn’t high enough.

    Society screams about pedophiles while at the same time baiting them and giving them plenty to look at and take.

  12. yun
    Jan 01, 2009 @ 20:05:27

    whatever, ur all bitc*es

  13. brendon
    Jan 12, 2009 @ 07:55:36

    I’m a guy, I have a 12-year old daughter (nearly 13) and she’s heard all about the Twilight novels from a friend and wants to read all of them. It’s good to see this discussion of the books – I’ve tried to “vet” her choice of books before, but she’s quite determined about this and I was a bit worried about her getting into bodice rippers at this stage.

    I’m lucky that she is very sensible..

  14. XandraG
    Jan 12, 2009 @ 09:30:06

    @brendon – “bodice rippers” is a misleading term, both about the Twilight novels and about romance novels in general. Click around on the site and you’ll get a sense of why.

    My own spawn is not at the age where she’s quite stopped chewing on books so I have a few years before she’s ready to go Edward-crazy or Jacob-crazy, but what I am most concerned about is not the gawdawful message in the books (“you’re absolutely nothing and your life no matter how rich and full and populated with people who love and care about you is completely meaningless without your twu wuv, and once he finds you, you get nothing more than to walk away from your life, your dreams, your ambitions, and your identity to become pretty window dressing in his fairy tale, The End”)…it’s the gawdawful writing. I don’t want her or any kid reading “Twilight” and thinking it’s good writing to be repetitive, telling not showing, randomly plotted, overwrought, and poorly paced.

    I can raise my daughter to have more sense than Bella Swan–I’m a more powerful influence in her life. But I’d sure hate to have to re-teach her good writing skills after she pulls out “Twilight” and says, “But Moooom, SMeyer writes like this, why can’t I?”

  15. yun
    Jan 14, 2009 @ 19:06:50

    to the last person who commented, go suck harry potter’s balls.

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