Wednesday, May 12, 2010

"Twilight" backlash: Sexism?

Is the backlash against ‘Twilight’ rooted in sexism?

This was the question that popped into my head recently after watching the movie “Twilight”. (Which is funny, because I watched a RiffTrax of it, and you wouldn’t think I’d be left with such a serious question after viewing THAT little slice of comedy… “LINE?!” But anyhoo, I digress…)

What first struck me was, “JESUS, that was a funny
RiffTrax.” After that, I got to thinking how extremely cool the Twilight STORY is. Seeing the movie actually made me want to read the books. Not because of the vampire romance – I can take or leave vampires. What I loved was the framework of the story – that the vampire “Dad” (who is the town doctor) actually saves people’s lives, in a way, by turning them into vampires when they’re gonna die anyway. So in the story, the Doctor’s family is comprised of these young people that he’s saved (including Edward), and a “Mom”, all of whom have been given eternal life by this vampire/doctor. Oh, and they don’t live on people-blood, these vampires, they live on animal blood, so as not to take innocent human lives. They’re like a band of vampire humanists, I guess.

So now, as the basis for a book series, I ask you… HOW FREAKIN’ GNARLY IS THAT CONCEPT?!

Okay, so then… why all the mockery, and, at times, vitriol? Remember, the anti-Twilight “movement” – if one can call it that – began as a reaction to Stephenie Meyer’s books (which I will NEVER understand, being a big fan of ALL BOOKS and anything that makes someone read). It reached a heightened pitch, certainly, after the release of the movies and the surrounding teen-heartthrob hubbub, marketing blitz, etc., but it was in full-swing before there was even TALK of a movie, before R-Pattz and K-Stew were even CAST! Grown women were forced to cover their Twilight books in their kids’ schoolbook covers in embarrassment, for cryin’ out loud!

Being a library worker, I have lots of literary-snob peeps, bless their hearts, who were among the Twilight haters. I’m not callin’ y’all sexists, so don’t get yer collective academic panty in a bunch. I’m just wondering -- MUSING, if you will -- as to whether, on some subconscious level, a deeply ingrained, societal sexism had something to do with the rather bizarre anti-Twilight backlash. I don’t believe for one minute that a book series aimed at, and appealing to, teenage boys, would have met with such a public flogging and complete dismissiveness. I think it’s full-on, socially ingrained, sexism in action. People who would never think of bashing Harry Potter, for example, bashed Twilight … in many (most?) cases, without ever having cracked even one of the books open.

Interesting, no?

I welcome your thoughts on my hastily fleshed-out theory.

Particularly if you’ve actually read the book(s), which I have not.


mrquizzical said...

Good argument, and you're not alone in this line of thinking. You might be interested in this link...

manxlass said...

I don't think I'm sexist; I just tend to avoid teen stuff in general. Could be overlooking some interesting things, I guess. But so far I'm not feeling the loss! I'm not 14 and don't like things marketed to 14-year-olds. Don't get me started on Justin Bieber/Taylor Swift crap! Don't.

Miss K said...

To tell the truth, I haven't heard a lot of commentary of the series beyond "Edward is so hot", so maybe it's marketing is unfairly branding it as nothing but teen trash.

Virginia said...

Read the books before you see the rest of the movies. I don't care what anyone says - you go in knowing that they are what they are and you LOVE THEM and can't stop reading them and then when you get to the last book and most of it is totes redonk, you don't care because it turns out awesome and omg I just turned into a 14 year old, but I don't care. This is good entertainment. Get the books from the library and do yourself the favor of reading them before the movies spoil them for you and then watch all the movies with Rifftrax. The End.

Anonymous said...

I am a woman, a feminist and a lover of vampire stories. I do not hate the series but I also do not love it. I never made it through the first book. "Beautiful, broody vampire/werewolf loves mortal girl" is not a new concept, but that's fine by me 'cause I'm a romance novel fan. A story line doesn't need to be new and innovative to satisfy me. If it isn't new though, it really should be well written. That's where it all fell apart for me.

Kathy said...

This English major and former high school teacher who loves the classics loved the Twilight books. I mean they are what they are. They'll never make the canon. But as far as readability and entertainment go, they are fabulous. I'm thankful not everything is Thomas Hardy or William Shakespeare. Sometimes I just want an easy read that hooks me immediately. These books served that purpose.