Twilight: Eclipse, the third movie in the angsty teen horror saga, is currently breaking box office records around the U.S. The audiences packing cineplexes across the nation are largely made up of teen girls — or teen girls at heart — who were transfixed by Stephanie Meyer's melodramatic series of young adult novels. After finishing the first Twilight book, writes Dana Stevens in Slate, you wouldn't catch me picking up another one "for anything less than a five-figure raise." But I'm hooked on the Twilight movies, she says. It's not because they're particularly good (the best you can say about this one is it's a "competently made bit of Gothic Schlock"), but because they are "terrifying, transfixing, and, yes, moving bulletins from the trenches of contemporary American girlhood." Here's an excerpt:

"The common object of Edward's and Jacob's passion, Bella Swan (Kristen Stewart), is indeed passive and blank, a transparent proxy for the audience. This episode takes Bella's passivity to new heights, with one plot contrivance requiring her to literally be carried from place to place by Jacob. 

But to argue that this passivity makes Bella a weak character or a bad role model for young girls is to misapprehend the function of the Twilight universe. What Twilight has to offer its fans is not the wholesome noonday sun of feminism but the sick, weird moonlight of actual desire...

The choice of whether to see Eclipse isn't really a question of whether the movie is good or bad... It's a question of whether or not the movie speaks to your secret, unregulated, inherently ridiculous experience of identification and desire—not who you should be, but who you are. Does the warm blood of a teenager still flow beneath your icy grown-up flesh?"

Read the entire article at Slate.