I know, I know: writing about Twilight may not exactly seem on point for a blog about business EQ. But bear with me here — because there’s a tie-in.
A couple friends assured me that after the first book (which I discussed in my last post ), the relationship between vampire Edward and teen Bella gets better. But I have to admit: now that I’ve gotten through the first book (Twilight), the second book (New Dawn), and half of the third book (Eclipse), I’m still waiting for the dawn of some kind of healthy relationship in the series.
Here’s what I see: The heroine is a teenaged girl who has no self esteem because, essentially, she has nothing going on (no interest in academia, no sports, no hobbies).She plays the role of parent to her flakey mother and disengaged father, and then, wouldn’t you know, falls in love with tortured vampire. She’s portrayed as helpless, constantly needing rescue, in awe of a boy who is more talented, older, and more attractive than she is. And her way of getting what she wants? Juvenile attempts at female manipulation.
The hero — this boy-man vampire who is supposed to be the ideal male — is, by turns, arduous and cold, hovering and absent, loving and angry. Moreover, he’s really, really controlling — constantly making decisions for Bella, expressing jealousy of her best friend, even infantilizing her (e.g., by singing her lullabies, telling her when to eat and when to sleep, fastening her seatbelt for her, even carrying her from place to place).
But despite Edward’s moodiness, and the potential he holds to kill her, Bella is ready to give up everything to be with him — school, family, friends, college, even her mortality.
That’s healthy for you.
What disturbs me is that this sort of story should be a cautionary tale, not cause for celebration. It should widely be considered dysfunctional — not ideal. Yet millions of girls and women across the country idolize the books and its characters (check out this clip of girl fans gone wild if you’re not aware of the hellish levels of hoopla these books — and the first movie — created). Edward is considered the ideal man (because he’s lethal, patronizing, and literally and figuratively, cold). And Bella is a heroine because — I’m guessing here — she has low self esteem, no real character, and is constantly making bad choices. Oh — and she’s willing to sacrifice her life — truly — to be with Edward.
Here’s where the Business EQ link comes in.
When you’re working on raising your own emotional intelligence, when you’re trying to deal with all the complexities and difficulties of life in an emotionally intelligent way, that is, other peoples’ reactions can get really frustrating. You try to stay calm, cool, and collected with a workplace bully and she just gets more irate. You use “I” statements with a subordinate who’s not performing well and he comes back with denials and accusations.