Who's Afraid of Twilight?
In a world where literature seems to have expanded into all possible genres including hypertext literature and epistolary novels consisted only of instant messages, where technology has begun to do what was thought impossible ten years ago, and where claiming that you have no knowledge of how to work a computer is like claiming you don't like food, the ideals of human beings, at least that of young girls, have remained quite consistently the same. Indeed, it is occasionally difficult to understand the obsession that surrounds these girls in finding that "dream" boy—despite the cynicism of modern society and pessimistic philosophers.
The Twilight Saga, which is guaranteed to be on 90% of any teenage girl's bookshelf, has served only to strengthen this belief. In short, the saga is a vampire romance novel, and has even been claimed by one particular extremist to be the next "Harry Potter". Besides the fact that the popularity of Harry Potter is based on its ability for both adults, teens and children to relate to and Twilight's popularity hangs in its drooling vampire-obsessed fan girl base, the saga is nothing like the series of books that allowed J.K. Rowling to shoot to the top 10 of UK's richest women. Although it may be read a little (but not much) deeper, all four books of the series surrounds the now infamous love triangle between the rather pathetic and sorrowful town girl Bella Swan, the pale "glittering"—yet, despite this—perfect vampire Edward Cullen and then the strong and dark werewolf Jacob Black. "Team Edward or Team Jacob?" has become a catchphrase amongst girls and has spread around the globe faster than a computer virus. When I answered, "Neither, I don't like Twilight," to the above question the look of shock and distaste on the face of the girl who asked was clear: "Who doesn't like Twilight?!"
This saga has created for girls the image of a "perfect" boyfriend. Edward Cullen or perhaps the more dangerous Jacob Black depending on which team you were on, appeared as the benchmark suddenly set for men. The pathetic quality of the main character of Bella may also allow girls to relate to the character and believe that yes, indeed, at some point in high school career a creature from the fantasy world would enter their lives with their apparent incredible speed and literally sweep them off their feet.
Although there is nothing new in fiction setting the bar for men in real life, in the past, this has been at least understandable—in cases such as Mr. Darcy, or Disney's unending strew of handsome princes like Sleeping Beauty's Prince who wakes her with a kiss. Now in the 21st Century as globalization spreads its wings, the best picture of the perfect man that girls can come up with is a vampire who glitters in the sun. What does this say about writers and fiction? What does this say about girls? More importantly, what does this say about the societies we live in?
There have been wild stories around the fan girls of Twilight, one of the most extreme that I have heard tells of a girl going as far to ask the actor of Edward Cullen to bite her on the neck. While I have no objection to girl crushes on men—be it actors or fictional vampires—when it extends to a point that addiction replaces crush, and obsession replaces addiction, I have to question: exactly what does Twilight represent? A fantasy romance that is highly unlikely to happen in real life, or books that have inspired girls to dream beyond wild of their future husbands?
Who's afraid of Twilight? Like Edward Albee, who questioned 1960s American society on their reliance to live life based on illusions by the question of who's afraid of Virginia Woolf, I ask: Who's Afraid of Twilight? Who's afraid of living a life without the fantasy of what will never happen?
A/N: If you are a fan of Twilight, don't take offence. This is just an opinion piece. Nothing personal.
A/N2: And yes. I'm a girl.