Beautiful Creatures: Just another sexual morality tale masquerading as a witch story

So I got drug to see Beautiful Creatures over the weekend, and though the film was pretty terrible I saw enough potential in the set-up that I decided to download the book. I couldn’t focus well enough to write last night, so I finished reading the novel instead. Better than the movie, for sure, although I have some serious suspension of disbelief issues–no way a boy spends that much time emoting; have these people ever been to the rural South, much less lived there?; there is no way two creative and determined teenagers can’t figure out how to get off together even without “mating” if that will kill one of them, so why bother pretending otherwise?

My corrollary reaction was simply, WTF is up with all these teenage forced abstinence tales? First Twilight with Edward’s diamond penis and now this.

I think it’s the acknowledgment that, without such an outside imposition, two kids in love aren’t going to find a whole lot of reasons to resist physical intimacy, because they never have. It would be unrealistic for a pairing as electrically attracted as this couple not to have sex sooner or later, but their doing so would take the book out of the “safe” zone of intense longing and wanting to with no fear that it could actually happen.

For me, it’s a cop-out of addressing the actual issues of teenage sex and physical intimacy and what happens when it sucks the first time or two (or ten). I understand the impetus to leave such uncomfortable topics out of books that are about “other things” (like magic or vampires or the end of the world), and I get that a demand exists for “clean” YA, since apparently much of the plain contemporary YA has a lot of sexual content, but at the same time…why, then, do you need to write a romance? Why couldn’t this story be about lonely witch girl finding a best friend? Not a whole helluva lot would change if it were. Castrated romance is actually kind of pointless, now that I think about it.

Well. Time to go enjoy another day at work with the dulcet tones of actual Southern drawls instead of–well, whatever those atrocities were. And maybe now I’ve finally found my inspiration for that sex scene I’ve been debating….

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Filed under Film, Rants and Storms, Reflections on Romance

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