Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Why I Still Love Twilight

Yes, I am actually talking about these books:

I am NOT talking about these laughable movie adaptations:

Please, I beg of you, do not confuse the two.

I'll admit, I was a teenager when I first became obsessed with Twilight. And the obsession bordered on the unhealthy. But I actually resisted the lure of this vampire romance for quite some time. I had friends and my very own parents doing their utmost to persuade me to give them a try. My own mother was feverishly reading the book at red stoplights on the way home from picking me up from school before I was finally convinced. (Admittedly, she was a very busy mother of six so this may have been one of her few chances to read at all.) Much like you are probably doing at this very moment, I rolled my eyes and inwardly scoffed at the idea of a vampire romance - no way could some twisted predator/prey relationship really be romantic. All that could ever be was abusive, demeaning, and all kinds of stupid. Right?

Well, Twilight proved me wrong and I loved every moment of it. I just recently re-read the book in preparation for this post. I am now a 21 year old mother and English major college student. And in spite of literally every English professor I have ever had disparaging and mocking them at some point, I still thoroughly enjoyed them. Those books will always occupy a very cherished place in my heart despite the popular backlash against them. 

Common Accusations Against Twilight

1. Bella is empty, weak, stupid, infatuated, vapid, spineless. She teaches girls to be the same and to give everything, even their very lives if necessary, into the hands of the first handsome guy that comes along. She promotes misogynistic, abusive relationships in the minds of impressionable young girls. 

First of all, Bella stands up for herself quite well. She turns down other boys before Edward and she does so with grace and confidence. She has a defined, intricate character that yes, many girls can relate to. And she does entrust her life to a dangerous vampire that may very well end her life or otherwise put her in danger. BUT, these critics miss the fact that Edward cares for her just as immensely and unconditionally as she does for him. He respects her, protects her, and exerts excruciating effort to resist  and prevent what some might call the inevitable - her death, by his hands or any others. He succeeds with quite a lot of sacrifice, if not more, on his part than she does. 

2. Regardless, it gives girls completely unrealistic expectations for men - that they have to be incredibly sexy, perfect, cultured, talented, rich immortals. They'll be crushed and completely unprepared for real life relationships.

First of all, Twilight is in essence a fairytale. And fairytales by their very nature promote unrealistic expectations such as frogs turning into princes, fairy godmothers magically creating ball gowns, a beast humanized by a woman's love, a princess woken by true love's kiss, just to name a few. And yet, we're fascinated and enchanted by these types of stories because they whisper to us an eternal truth that we never can forget:

Love can conquer any evil. 

And secondly, girls should absolutely be taught to find and settle for nothing less than their Prince Charming, their Edward, their Mr. Darcy, etc. There is no such thing as a perfect man - and Edward is anything but perfect. But I believe there is such a thing as a perfect match or soulmate, but that's a topic for another post.

3. It's poorly written, unbelievable, and ends anticlimactically.

I'm not going to brazenly assert that Twilight is an equal match for classics such as Jane Eyre and Pride and Prejudice. The level of writing is certainly no match for either of them. But it still ranks among them in my heart of hearts. And why? Because much like these classic romances it champions the classic truth: that we always have the choice to choose good, to choose love, no matter the impossibility of our circumstances. And for me at least, it did so just as convincingly if not nearly as eloquently, as any book I've ever read.

For those dissatisfied with the lack of a huge fight at the end, I would say that you're missing the entire point. The books were never about the blood and action. The relationships that somehow manage to survive any and every obstacle were the climax.

I'm not saying everyone can or even should love and enjoy Twilight. But I refuse to be ashamed of my unabashed esteem for it any longer. They're my favorite fairytale. So take the scoffs and scorn somewhere else please.


  1. Good post, Rachel. I agree with you on these points (and could probably chip in a few other reasons I love the books). I still remember how much I loved the books when I first read them, and I still feel that way.

    1. Thank you! I'm glad I'm not the only reasonably intelligent person who still feels this way. I think I might even write a critical research paper about it if I someday have the time. The immense amount of scorn directed at Twilight in the English department is disheartening.