I had assumed my new-found attachment to Twilight was special; I didn’t know I was part of a larger movement.
Check out this article about women who avoided the Twilight franchise at first, thinking they were totally above it, and then became obsessed when they dipped their toes in later.
A telling excerpt:
The people who have not read “Twilight” think they are astoundingly brilliant when they point out the misogynist strains of the series, like how Bella bypasses college in favor of love, like how Edward’s “romantic” tendencies include creepily sneaking into Bella’s house to watch her sleep, like how Bella’s only “flaw” is that she is clumsy, thereby necessitating frequent rescues by the men in her life, who swoop in with dazzling chisleyness and throw her over their shoulders.
In response: We know. We know… We wrote those arguments.
Ideological objections aside, I was prepared for shitty writing. Not to sound too high-minded, but I rarely even read contemporary literature, sticking to the comfort of the classics, so I knew I was in for some gagging. My sister told me she read the first 60 pages of Twilight and had to put it down, so clumsy and poor was the prose. I doubted I could make it through–but I am on page 300 and lovin’ it. I don’t even care that Meyer is the most inefficient writer of all time. As noted in the above-linked article, she uses three adjectives when she only needs one. An observation of my own is that roughly a tenth of the book is repetition of information. Meyer doesn’t even try to hide it. Many sentences go a bit like this: “Again, I was dazzled by his statuesque musculature,” or, “Again, my heart started racing when his Adonis-like figure approached me.” Her concept of detail and exposition is totally bogus, bogging down the narrative in absurdly wordy descriptions of walls in a high school (they featured student awards, really?) or the layout of a particular building (it had how many windows?). Really though, it hardly matters.
It’s easy to understand why one would dislike these books. Yet it sure is difficult to explain what we love so much about them. The books are so embarrassing to read, so obviously silly. The article notes that the books recall the fiery passion of being 17. Okay, agreed. But the article doesn’t offer why we need to feel like we are 17 again. As noted in my other observations about the movie New Moon, I think the Twilight series is so exciting because it allows an escape that we women often deny ourselves. Hold on, this particular theory is more elaborate than my last. The demographic specified in this article–bookish, wordly women in their 20’s and 30’s–are too busy these days to escape. We work, try to move up in the world, have serious pursuits, need to prove ourselves. One acceptable escape is via some fruity concoction on a Friday night; you know, girls’ night out, Sex and the City, all that. Or maybe we’ll get a massage, or watch Oprah to escape the exhausting ambition we carry around all day. But all the afore mentioned activities are still part of the modern gal narrative, whereas reading a romance novel is something quaint, a hobby for middle-aged women. Maybe we read to escape at times, but it’s more likely that, to retain some respectability, we would flee to the mystery/thriller genre, not to harlequin romances with ripped bods/bodices on a glossy cover.
And maybe that’s why we’re overdoing it a bit: we are so unused to the ecstasy of escape offered in Twilight. One of the women in the article named all three of her dogs after some of the werewolves in the books. She also claims she’ll be naming her daughter after a character in the novels. (?!)
For now, though, I’ll be keeping my Twilight in the realm of fantasy…