Friday, June 11, 2010

Why I'm Grateful for Twilight (Even Though I Don't Like It)

For those who know me IRL, it is no secret that I have been nursing a distaste for all things Twilight over the past four years. Originally, I read the series and enjoyed it--to some extent. But every time I closed the back cover of each successive book, I was left unsettled. I had the sense that something was not right about the books. I quickly pinpointed several things contributing to the issue: First, Edward was abusive. Second, there was a part of him--and I didn't know how large that part might be--that reinforced things like The Patriarchy and rape culture. Third, he was portrayed as a swoon-inducing romantic with whom Bella was somehow IRREVOCABLY IN LOVE.*

Often, it makes me feel something like this:


So why am I grateful for Twilight? I am grateful because it brings all sorts of issues that I am interested in (gender, race, class, feminism, power) into discussions about other things that I am interested in (books! YA! Pop Culture!). Twilight is probably the biggest cultural phenomenon I've witnessed in my life time (well, Harry Potter, but that was different, even though I'm not quite sure how. Was it not as...rampant?) So having Twilight bring issues like gender and power into the mainstream is AWESOME. It's given me many hours of quiet fun (just like coloring books!) and reading all the blogs and discussion boards written by smart, hilarious, thoughtful people gets me so excited!**

Twilight has also made YA books a big deal again--which increases the chances of really awesome books being found and read, right? (I hope, I hope, I hope).

So, in some ways, Twilight also makes me feel like this:


Thoughts? Agree or disagree, I'd love to hear from you!

-Bea

*This refers to the (famous?) quote from the back of Twilight.
**
Including, but certainly not limited to cleolinda, Seduced by Twilight and feministing posts. More recent ones include a post at in which a girl reads.

3 comments:

  1. I just discovered your blog and I love it! So much of what you say echos my own thoughts. I feel kind of the same about twilight (although I didn't know those blogs 'til you linked to them). Like, it's delicious but evil (kind of like chocolate cheesecake). Keep on reading and writing! :)

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  2. Wow, thanks for the comment! I'm so excited someone is reading my blog! And yes, chocolate cheesecake possesses evil superpowers of some kind. Someone should alert the government about that.

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  3. I think Harry Potter was different because most people like Harry Potter. Twilight is very...contentious, so there's a lot more debating and discussing.

    I am also very thankful for Twilight even though I didn't love it. It really helped spark a focus on YA and books that probably wouldn't have been published now are published. They're also getting better covers.

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