I watched Lindsey Ellis’ video about Twilight entitled: “Dear Stephanie Meyer” recently. The gist of it is that she argues that while Twilight, isn’t a good book or film, the hatred for it was way over-the-top. And that it’s the anti-teenage girl attitude society has that helped drive the hatred. Essentially, we accept bad action movies, for example, as just dumb fun but something like Twilight inspires an extreme hatred and backlash.
I wanted to respond to this video because it got me thinking, and I sort of agree with her. I was a part of the Twilight-bashing crowd for the longest time. I mean, it was a fun thing to bash — sparkling vampires ha! Dumb girl ha!
But the truth was my initial reaction to reading the book wasn’t full-blown hatred. I didn’t like the book but I was just “meh” about it. But eventually I started seeing all the bashing on the internet and I joined in. I started to think: “maybe Twilight was the worst book ever.”
Now that I’ve gotten older, I’ve started to think people had some serious overreactions. I agree with Lindsey when she says: “it’s fine”
It’s not the worse thing.
When I look back at all the common criticisms of the book/film I just feel they’re beyond overblown: glorifying an abusive relationship, Bella being a bad role model, ruining vampire lore, etc.
Glorifying abusive relationships: Is Bella and Edward’s relationship healthy? No, not really. But many of relationships in media aren’t really healthy. It’s fiction and that’s what we need to understand. As I’ve grown up I basically believe people should write what they want.
The issue people have maybe that Twilight is marketed towards teenage girls who are more impressionable but I say just tell them to understand the difference between reality and fiction. I mean, society (or at least, I hope) eventually came to the conclusion that video games and rock music weren’t going to turn the youth into violent psychopaths. They can also decide that bad romance novels doesn’t mean a girl is going to end up in an abusive relationship.
Bella being a bad role model: I do not believe Bella Swan is a good character. At all. But a main character doesn’t have to be a role model. I’ve enjoyed novels told from the point of view of serial killers and generally terrible people. Having a blander, passive heroine in some books isn’t going to hurt anyone.
Ruining Vampire Lore: One thing I often seen people complain about was that Twilight helped turn vampires from horror icon into romantic figures. I mean, I’m sure it helped but I believe vampires were all ready on their way to becoming sexualized/romantic beings before Twilight was published. I’d say Anne Rice helped with that a lot more.
There’s nothing really wrong with changing the lore and adding a unique spin. However, I will agree it kind of sucks that vampires mainly appear in romance novels these days. I haven’t seen or read any good vampire-themed horror media in a while. But, again, I wouldn’t totally blame Twilight for this.
There’s still plenty of valid reasons to not like Twilight.
I am not a Twilight fan. I’m just agreeing that the bashing went a little far and people were being a bit ridiculous. Including myself. I mean the storytelling’s still pretty bad, and the overall execution of the series isn’t good. There’s plenty of reasons to criticize it’s just not the “worst thing”.
However, I will say that Twilight had somewhat of a negative effect on the YA genre. There’s so many clones of it and it’s annoying. One clone I read was Hush, Hush by Becca Fitzpatrick, and I hated it.
So, I’ll end this blog by saying YA authors stop being copycats.