Teaching Gender Through Vampire Movies

July 14, 2009

There was a movie released at the beginning of 2009 called “Twilight.” The film was based on a series of books that centered around the challenges faced by a 17-year-old girl and boy trying to maintain a developing romance. They struggled with common problems associated with young love—managing their strong attraction for each other, continuing their own processes of self discovery, coming to terms with differences between them, and managing challenges to their relationships from external forces. Oh, did I mention that the teenage boy was also a vampire? Or should I say “is”—there are sequels planned….

Similar to other such films, the boy’s vampiric nature might be viewed as a social metaphor symbolizing the dominant and aggressive aspects of western gender expectations for males—being “macho”. The film might also explore females’ social function of containing and directing male aggression into constructive pursuits—building bridges, protecting society from invaders, washing the driveway, etc…. Or would it be over intellectualizing to read so much into this story?

What do you think? If you would like to respond to this question or one of the discussion topics below, please view the trailer for the film below and then post a comment.

1. Who is being depicted in the film’s trailer as needing physical protection? Who helps that person? What might this tell you about the depiction of gender roles in the trailer?

2. Do you think the film’s trailer reinforces traditional male and female roles in society? Why or why not?

3. What is the boy’s reaction to the girl’s comment that she isn’t afraid of him? How can this be generalized to define how teenage girls should respond to teenage boys? Do you think such a generalization is appropriate?

4. Which is greater—the number of people who see the trailer for the film or the number of people who see the actual film? Why might this be important to the sociological study of film?

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One comment

  1. Male’s are program to protect. However in some cases it’s the female right to make a decision about the out come of her life. ” Twilight” show’s how a male will protect a female to the end. But his true feel overcome is proud and he gave in. Males need to step out of the box’s and see the bigger picture. Female’s are more intouch that male’s are. We look at things with a bigger outer on life. Male’s and Female’s are control by their envorinment.

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