I’m going to say something bold.
I still like Twilight.
Phew. There, I said it.
I remember a time in the not so distant past when everyone said that, and they said it with their heads held high. Twilight was cool. Twilight was romantic. Now? People cover their hardback copies of the series with paper bags, so they can read them without being shamed.
I read Twilight when I was roughly fifteen-years-old. I was young, impressionable, and totally into the bad boy, dangerous vibe vampires were giving off (Team Edward, BTW). I read the entire series within the span of one week and then I started over and read them again. Me and one of my friends gushed about the swoon-worthy parts over lunch in the cafeteria. Me and another friend went to Wal-Mart the night the first DVD was released and stayed up late into the night pausing at all of the romantic parts and screaming (much to the chagrin of my parents) because we literally couldn’t even!
Then, Twilight mania was over. Without notice a friend informed me that they didn’t like Twilight anymore. The romantic parts we had talked about a few months before? They were sexist and embarrassing. To say I was confused would be an understatement. Sure, the movies turned out to be kind of a flop, mainly because of the horrendous casting, but the books were still pure in my head, untainted by Kristen Stewart’s heavy breathing and Robert Pattinson’s all-around not-Edwardness.
I can see why people have problems with the books, but I also think it’s all a little stupid. So what if Bella is a damsel-in-distress type? Does the future of all women really rest on a seventeen-year-old fictional girl? Is the reputation of all women somehow tarnished by Bella’s inability to live without Edward? If you’re being rational, then you’ll see the answer to both of these questions is ‘no’. (Plus, I believe Bella is also brave and selfless. She would give up her own life for the ones that she loves. That doesn’t sound like the worst role model to me. Plus, Edward totally loses it in Eclipse when he thinks Bella is dead and he super tries to kill himself. Does no one want to talk about that? Did everyone conveniently forget that that happened? Cause it did!)
Books are supposed to tell a story. They are (in my opinion) not required to provide the model for how to live your life. If that were the case, pray tell, what kind of role model is Holden Caulfield? Fictional characters come from all different backgrounds and while some are brave, others are shy. While some are independent, others are dependent. Just like people, fictional characters come in all shapes and sizes, and no one story deserves to be told over another.
Furthermore, the people reading Twilight are often the same people reading The Hunger Games and Harry Potter and Divergent, where many different versions of women are represented. To say that the Twilight books are dangerous to women is assuming that the Twilight series is the only book series on the planet, which, as you may know, is not the case.
Is Twilight my favorite book? Absolutely not!! But will I be reading the gender-swapped version of Twilight that was just released by Stephenie Meyer as bonus material for the ten-year-anniversary? You bet.
So, on this, the ten-year anniversary of Twilight, I urge you to uncover your Twilight books, don your Team Edward and Team Jacob sweaters, and declare your love (or modest like) for Stephenie Meyer’s saga about sparkly vampires!