A bunch of scientists had a conference to look at the effect young adult books and movies have on teen minds. Naturally, Twilight was a huge topic and the featured panel was called "What Is It About Good Girls and Vampires?"
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I've been hoping someone would look at the crazy notions the Twilight books are putting in teens' heads, and I've been looking for excuses to keep my daughter from reading them before she's old enough to choose sides between Team Edward and Team Jacob.
One professor at the conference in Cambridge, England, said:
"Brain imaging shows that teens are more likely to respond to situations emotionally, and they are less likely to consider consequences through rational forethought."
Seems about right.
But the conclusions were all "even-handed" and "sensible" and "responsible:"
"We don't know exactly how literature affects the brain, but we know that it does," another presenter said.
So I've been left with no choice but to come up with my own conclusions. These should have been the conference's top findings:
1. The Twilight books create unhealthy obsessions in teens with very old men, and suggest that such relationships are perfectly appropriate. Deluded girls could end up walking straight from schools to nursing homes.
2. Stephenie Meyer's prose could forever stunt the ability of girls to write. Prolonged exposure could leave them only able to make sentences along the lines of: "'Bella look out!'" Edward said warningly, his pale, bronze chest glistening in the sunlight as he ran 1,000 miles an hour toward me.
3. The series could create the impression that unspeakably gorgeous men will be willing to fight to the death to be near them.
4. The character of Jacob could convince teens that werewolves, the hairiest of all supernatural creatures, walk around with perfectly waxed chests. This is especially a problem with the movie versions, which should also be avoided.
5. The books could create an unhealthy obsession with living forever. Girls might think that they can stay with their sleazy boyfriends not just through college, but through the centuries.
And one area where further study is required: Why does the series turn the brains of adult women into the brains of teens?
Of course it might be apparent from all of this that I have read a few of the books myself. Well, while they are unsuitable for teenage girls, I think they're perfectly appropriate for men in their late 30s.
Image via Summit Entertainment