Before the release of New Moon, nearly 8,000 PopWatch readers voted in our “Team Edward or Team Jacob” poll, with 62 percent being emphatically Team Edward. As promised, we’re doing a post-premiere poll to find out if Jacob’s onscreen transformation — and the pain Edward put Bella through — has earned the werewolf any points. Vote again after the jump.
A more interesting question has turned out to be whether Bella is really the best role model in the film. We’re flashing a giant SPOILER ALERT here so we can have an open discussion. Let’s be clear: It’s not a question of abstaining from premarital sex, should you still be living in a time when that’s all that being a “good role model” meant. It’s about whether you would want your daughter to be so infatuated with a guy that she loses herself entirely for months when he leaves her. Of course you wouldn’t. But that doesn’t mean that it doesn’t happen to young girls and women. (Let’s just hope that Twilight‘s supernatural component, and the fact that Bella couldn’t talk to anyone about Edward since that would mean revealing that he’s a vamp, accounts for the supersized recovery time.)
Bella only snaps out of her deep depression when she realizes that she can see visions of Edward when she puts herself in danger. Story-wise, it’s a heightened mystical play on the idea that girls and women will do stupid things, like hurting themselves, to get a guy’s attention. But you want smart girls like Bella to not go completely brainless. YOU KNOW YOU ARE CLUMSY. DO NOT RIDE A MOTORCYCLE WITHOUT A HELMET, even if it means we have to give up the scene in which Jacob removes his shirt to dab the blood on your head wound. (That received a laugh in my screening that was second only to that which greeted Edward’s entrance walking across the school parking lot to Bella.) DO NOT GO ON A JOYRIDE WITH A STRANGER. Did you never see that episode of Oprah in which the expert said not to let anyone take you to a secondary location? (Still scarred, but effective!) DO NOT CLIFF DIVE WITHOUT A SPOTTER. I get what Bella doing these things is supposed to communicate to the viewer: She doesn’t care whether she lives or die if she doesn’t have Edward. Is it all okay because at the end of the film, we find out that Edward actually feels the same way, and Bella manages to slip in a line about how she can let him go now that she’s seen him again in the flesh and saved him from his unnecessary suicide attempt?
Bottom line: Love is a confusing message for young girls. On the one hand, you should have a fearless heart, which is what I think Kristen Stewart meant when she told Reuters, “Be extreme. Go for it. I think that’s the point. I know that this is a movie about immortality and mortality but, like, you live once.” On the other, you should never love a man more than you love yourself (which, on a lighter note, also means not letting Edward or Jacob drive your truck every time they’re in it).
What’s your verdict on Bella’s New Moon behavior, which, to his credit, Bella’s father recognized as not normal: Cause for alarm or just a cause for post-film discussion between TwiMoms and daughters?