I've been thinking about this a lot lately. A lot of fangirls (read: ALL fangirls) seem to think that if you hate something (really only if you hate Twilight, whereas they're entirely okay with hating, say, Jacob*) you should leave it be and not say anything that might be construed as vaguely logical or critical. But I disagree, especially when something this popular (how many copies have been sold again? Oh right - millions) is so absolutely terrible, and such a terrible influence on its primary demographic. I'm not going to go into a long, detailed criticism of everything bad about Twilight. I can paraphrase: Edward is abusive, Bella is, for lack of a better word, a 'ussy'*****, Jacob is a borderline rapist, the whole thing reeks of mysogyny (veritable servitude and unyielding passivity, anyone? We're having a special in honor of "I Hate Strong Women Week"), the plot is vacationing in Iceland the entire time, it eloped with logic, reasonable dialogue got so depressed it committed suicide, it's painfully obvious no care or research went into it, and the writing is less impressive than a love-starved psuedo-pubescent teenybopper's fantasy journal. But I most certainly WILL go on some kind of almost organized diatribe on how Twilight is killing brains, and we're hard up for a cure. In other words, TWILIGHT IS BRAIN CANCER.::clears throat:The primary demographic of Twilight, and the following books New Moon, Eclipse, and the soon-to-be-released Breaking Dawn, is girls, ages about twelve and up. It's no great secret that girls this age are being pumped with more and more idealisms and romanticisms - cute couples on Disney channel, awkward first kisses on Nick, coupling all over the place in movies and books and television. However, they're also just coming into a realization of their own sexuality, if you will (especially the older ages). Boys (and girls, I suppose) are no longer just naughty, dirty beings to be scoffed at, scowled at, and ignored - they're now to be desired. And this is the very reason why the "romantic" literature let into these girls' hands should be so closely monitered- and why I'm so terribly worried about the popularity of Twilight.As a pubescent girl, I feel safe saying that being a girl and coming to terms with your "sexuality" (if you will) may just be harder than coming to terms with it as a teenage boy. At least in Western culture, boys are expected (hell, they're practically encouraged) to lust and experiment and pursue, to fantasize and made crude innuendos and objectify the desired sex. They're raised in an environment that allows them full range to want, sexually speaking, and they're taught that girls, unlike them, do not want. It's a notion that permeates all parts of society: the essential idea that men will pursue and women will be pursued. But this, like most of society's notions, is almost entirely incorrect. Girls think about sex. They fantasize and they imagine and they ponder and they consider and they want. They're just not expected to, which creates a kind of unnoticed repression that often finds its only outlet in idolisation of various public figures - they could be pop stars (The Jonas Brothers are a good example), actors (Orlando Bloom, anyone?), comedians (I love Julian Barratt myself), or even fictional characters. And here come the fangirls.Fangirls are a curious social phenomena (non?). They are the recognisable face of overblown, undiluted devotion - they take a fairly common emotion, love/adoration/etc., and ramp it up to extremes. That's how Twilight got such a strong following in the first place, I think - it struck a chord with its primary demographic (teenage girls), because of a main character (Edward Cullen) that represents a perfect opportunity for idol worship.But where does sexual repression come in? Well, I'll tell you (!) You see, Edward is presented as the perfect boy. He's a gentleman, he's romantic, he's gorgeous, he's ethical, he's considerate, he's intelligent, he's hardworking - or so Bella (our faithful and witless narrator) says. Because the series is written entirely in first person (thus subjecting its audience to 1.5 thousand pages of pure, undiluted brain torture), all things are filtered through Bella's unintelligent and extremely prejudiced brain. That's how, without a careful reading (and really - most of the targeted audience of Twilight don't read things carefully unless they have something to lose. Let's be perfectly honest), Edward is the perfect man. And he's timeless - he'll be young and physically flawless for absolute eternity, and he's damn near invulnerable. Hooray! How convenient! But he's empty - I mean, with the same careless reading, there isn't anything wrong with Edward (looking back and thinking about the text reveals that he is, in fact, an abusive boyfriend, but that's another rant for another time), but he's terribly flat and absolutely static. He never changes, he never grows. He never makes a mistake, but he never learns - he's kind of stuck in this eternal limbo of flawless stagnation, thus making him the perfect vessel into which impressionable, romantically frustrated (oh yes, another thing Mr. Cullen is: everything that your typical American boy is not), pubescent girls can pour their sexual frustrations. They are suddenly dissipated as individuals and are absorbed into Bella, loyalling linking limbs with their fellow cultists-er, Twilight fans. Then we get into fangirl territory (those are murky waters), and into the deeply disturbing depths we find absolute, ridiculous fanaticism (such as girls saying that Edward is their imaginary (or even their real) boyfriend, and sooner or later he'll ditch Bella and come ravish them). And even beyond how silly it all is, it's just...deeply unsettling. I mean, these books are serving as a kind of new religion for its followers - its kind of the way they define themselves and their lives, how they gauge potential romantic interests and relationships. It's infiltrating their minds, affecting how they make decisions and what books they read and etc. And these books are TERRIBLE influence - an abusive, and absolutely unrealistic******, relationship, borderline rape, stalking, recklessness, sexism, passivity, and isolation are all completely romanticised in these books. BORDERLINE RAPE. Well, Jacob threatens to kill himself if Bella doesn't love him, and then forces his mouth on her mouth and it's all very scandalous and just bad.This is a terrible influence for millions of young teenage girls - what's worse is that it's going to cheat millions of people out of actually rewarding relationships because of these bullshit expectations formed by "omfggorgeiousperfectsparklyvampireboyfriendLOVEedwardcullen!!!!!!!!" I don't suppose anything I've been ranting about has made any sense, but I'll summarise quickly: Young girls are reading Twilight and seeing it as a kind of strange beacon of joy and love, while really they only like it because they don't have any actual, fulfilling hormonal outlet in their lives and its giving millions of impressionable pubescents the wrong idea about so many things. The messages are all wrong. The characters are BULLSHIT. The plot got so tired of being neglected that it went streaking through the vatican just to get some attention, but even then it was just playfully admonished and put back in its cabinet. Also, I realised after saying that Twilight was brain cancer that there actually was brain cancer in the world. (I was thinking something along the lines of brain crack, but cancer just sounds so much more...terrible).
*I hate Jacob too, because he's a borderline rapist. But I hate Edward also. Because he's an abusive boyfriend. But I hate Bella the most because she's the biggest idiot I've ever read three books about.**
**Oh my god, I can't believe I wasted 1,500 pages of my life reading the endless, pointless, ridiculous slop that was the Twilight trilogy.***
***And even more than that, I can't believe I still feel compelled to read Breaking Dawn.****
****Although a large part of it is that I want to know how it ends, so that I can keep up a running anti-Twilight commentary. And pwn the fangirls. Stupid fangirls.
*****Yes, I realize that this is mostly used as a derogatory statment when used against men for accusing them of being spineless, effeminate, etc. Bella is all of those things, however, so it fits. ******I've never even been in a relationship and I know it's total shit.