I think the trouble started when mother dearest bought me the book series. She just so happened to hear that the Twilight series was phenomenal. She heard that everyone was reading it, so why not her sixteen year old daughter who happened to be an avid reader? She handed me the book series for my birthday, wrapped in shiny wrapping paper... just like the vampires inside.
I didn't have the heart to tell her the truth behind the books. I simply used it as a chance to read the books and get a better idea of what the series entailed. I questioned the sanity of my generation, if they actually liked this kind of thing. I mean, it is aimed for that age group, you would assume that is what made it popular?
Truth of the matter is, I really should have told my mother the problems I had with the book and gotten rid of them, instead of leaving it on my bookshelf. Popularity is strife from peer pressure, and I should have know that my younger sister would have been influenced by all of this. I didn't think though, parents of eleven to twelve year old girls let them read this stuff, so I wasn't concerned.
However, when I went away for the weekend for a sports training camp for my softball team, I came back to find my sister reading the books at the table, fully immersed in them. I wanted to take them from her badly. However, my mother lectured me about how this was the first time my sister had ever sat down and read something, and that this was her second time through.
When I tried bringing up the problems I saw within my series, my mother simply said that it was just a book. She commented on how my sister's friends had parents who saw no problems with the book series. She also went on about how it was getting my sister to read. She told me not to stifle this, and to simply let her be.
However, I disagreed that the books got my sister to read. Why? Because she didn't move onto other books. She never read Harry Potter, The Jungle Book or A Wrinkle in Time. She most definitely didn't move onto works like The Lord of the Rings, Of Mice and Men, Shakespeare or any of the other classics. She simply read about Bella and Edward.
People kept saying that the books were harmless. Yet, I saw changes in my little sister, changed that shouldn't have happened. Before the books, she was a bubbly child. She had this lovely blond hair, and beautiful blue eyes. I know that people shouldn't push on a persons looks, but I have a reason to bring this up.
The first immediate change in my sister, was that she started lashing out at my mother and father. She felt it was completely fine to not pay attention to or heed what a parent says. A lot of people chalked it up to her going through preteen angst. In other words, they felt it was simply a phase she was going through. I made a few comments to my mom, it was because of Bella.
Of course, mother listened to the experts on this, or at least those she felt were experts. These would happen to be the same mothers who told her that Twilight was alright to let a preteen read such garbage. As much as older people enjoy the books, for someone of that age, it is simply to influential. My mother simply let things slide off.
Her school work also began to suffer drastically. Sure, she didn't make straight As, but now she was making D's and F's. Her English teacher called mother and father in, to talk about how all my little sis would write or talk about was Twilight, and that it was starting to effect other classmates. Of course, mother and father didn't think a book could cause such trouble
They also wondered if the teacher shouldn't be teaching Twilight, since it was so popular. My mother came home, saying something along the lines of the books being like Harry Potter, how there were people upset at the idea of it being taught to their students. She took the teachers comment to mean that it was some silly nonsense.
More changes occurred in my sister. Remember when I said that she happened to have blond hair and blue eyes. Well, she came to my mother and actually asked my mother if she could dye her hair and wear contacts. What parent lets their eleven year old dye their hair... even let them wear contacts. My sister said something about how blonds weren't smart.
So, my mother went along with the idea. She of course didn't want my sister to be stereotyped unjustly. What she didn't know, was that my sister was going around school telling people she was Bella Swan. Yes, my sister pretended to be the character from the book. To me, that was disturbing. Sure, she never said anything in front of my parents. She's not that dumb.
I tried broaching the subject of her constantly pretending to be said character, to which she flat out told my mother a lie. She told our parents that she had simply been joking with me, batting her eyelashes at my mother. My mother made some comment about how my sisters grades had dropped because of the blond stereotype, so of course she had to let my sister dye her hair.
But then came the kicker for my parents. My sister didn't just pretend constantly to be Bella, she even found herself a boyfriend and called him Edward. One of her classmates, no one at this point knows who, told the teacher. The teacher did some prodding, and of course my sister tried to lie through her teeth about everything.
Things simply came crashing down on my sister. I mean, when a teacher flat out tells my mother that if her daughter was being stereotyped as stupid because she was blond, that she should have contacted the school so that other girls who had been unjustly biased against could have their confidence boosted. Not to mention that made it so they could teach against the said stereotype.
My mothers decision was to make my sister bleach her hair back to normal, and to let it grow back out to its beautiful blond locks. She also got rid of the contacts. To mothers utter dismay, my sister threw a fit about the whole thing. My mother told her that being blond had nothing to do with being stupid. Which is when it became obvious that my sister really was pretending to be Bella.
The parental action was to then get rid of anything Twilight my sister had. She threw a fit, kicking and screaming like some two year old that has had their favorite toy taken away. Posters, movies, books... everything went into a donation box and my mother personally went to the place, forcing my sister to go. It was her way of finally putting her foot down.
Now, I will admit, not all preteens are going to be effected negatively by the Twilight craze. However, I know that my sister was. I also know that it effected my family. Nothing drastic happened, like her getting pregnant, or my parents getting divorced. However, wasn't this drastic enough?
Author's note – This is a competition entry for the FanBBS, October 2010. The theme is to 'write a story that says something about the world today'. The use of Twilight in this is within rights of intellectual property, as it is is a form of criticism, satire and holds some sort of educational value.
While this piece is a work of fiction, it contains real life elements and is based off some truth. The story itself is derived from a preteen telling me of such a case of someone pretending to be Bella Swan at her school. The only thing though that is reflected on the true story is the fact that the girl did change her appearance and get a boyfriend named Edward. Other things come from various accounts of the Twihard phenomenon, and how it has effected some preteens, but not all.