Constance July 30th, 2008
Twilight’s got all the cooties: romance, girl and YA — no Harry Potter adulation for this series. Shoot, it’s as bad as Sex and the City, except — it haz shoes? It should haz belly dancing. Does it? Myself does not know, not being a romance fan nor generally a YA reader. (I am a fan of belly dancing, and for long time now.)
[ No wonder the media has heralded Twilight as the next Harry Potter and Meyer as the second coming of J.K. The similarities, however, are largely commercial. It’s hard to see how Twilight could ever approach Harry Potter as a cultural phenomenon for one simple reason: the series’ fan base is almost exclusively female. The gender imbalance is so pronounced that Kaleb Nation, an enterprising 19-year-old radio show host-cum-author, has launched a blog called Twilight Guy, chronicling his experiences reading the books. The project is marked by a spirit that’s equal parts self-promotion and scientific inquiry — “I am trying to find why nearly every girl in the world is obsessed with the Twilight books by Stephenie Meyer” — and its premise relies on the fact that, in even attempting this experiment, Nation has made himself an exceptional guy indeed. ]This is an interesting piece, though, because it attempts to track similarities, if there are any, and contrasts, which there certainly are many, among Buffy The Vampire Slayer, the Harry Potter series and the Twilight series, and their audiences.
[ If Harry Potter has a vampire-loving, adolescent female counterpart, it’s Buffy Summers. ]
This article and the others I’ve read concerning the Twilight books do make them sound as if they were written for someone as anti-moi as they could be. It is pointed out that the author is a Mormon. The Church of the LDS does believe that women are to be submissive, that men are the head of the family, the home and everything else, and that’s how it should be.
[ Even the most timorous teenage girl couldn’t conceive of Bella as intimidating; it’s hard to imagine a person more insecure, or a situation better set up to magnify her insecurities. Bella’s vampire and werewolf friends are all fantastically strong and fierce as well as nearly indestructible, and she spends the better part of every novel alternately cowering in their protective arms or groveling before their magnificence. “How well I knew that I wasn’t good enough for him” is a typical musing on her part. Despite Edward’s many protestations and demonstrations of his utter devotion, she persists in believing that he doesn’t mean it, and will soon tire of her. In a way, the two are ideally suited to each other: Her insipidity is the counterpart to his flawlessness. Neither of them has much personality to speak of. ]
Buffy is personality plus!
This paragraph appears to be the center of the salon piece:
[ The “underdog strange girl” who gets plucked from obscurity by “the best guy in school” is the 21st century’s version of the humble governess who captures the heart of the lord of the manor. The chief point of this story is that the couple aren’t equals, that his love rescues her from herself by elevating her to a class she could not otherwise join. Unlike Buffy, Bella is no hero. “There are so many girls out there who do not know kung fu, and if a guy jumps in the alley they’re not going to turn around with a roundhouse kick,” Meyer once told a journalist. “There’s a lot of people who are just quieter and aren’t having the Prada lifestyle and going to a special school in New York where everyone’s rich and fabulous. There’s normal people out there and I think that’s one of the reasons Bella has become so popular.” ]This is diametrically opposed to the stated objectives Whedon had for Buffy. Whether or not Whedon completely succeeded with his objective to turn the pursued teen blonde girl in the alley from victim into the victor, just the desire to do is what women need. So now we’ve turned women back into a Dickensian helpless, hapless girl, only to be acted upon, never to act for herself, and that seems really sad. Give me Hermione any time!
Has anyone read these Twilight books? Do you agree with this assessment of them?
This is x-posted on my Live Journal. The comments there were so interesting that I wanted to see what other people thought too.