Or, 1 Reason I Read It and 5 Reasons I’m Not The Only One
By Christina F.
Christina currently resides in Littleton, Colorado, where she competently handles her quarter-life crisis by reorganizing her parents entire house and talking to the family dog pretty much all day long. Her talents were acknowledged early on in life and her awards include “Good Effort,” awarded by The Fifth Grade Math Teacher and “Plays Well With Others” from The Pre School.
Reason 0.5 – Why I Opened Twilight In The First Place
Let me explain how Twilight is like our favorite gateway drug: Marijuana.
It only takes one cool girl who already has your respect (e.g., my boyfriend’s big brother’s girlfriend) to say secretly, “Just read them, you’ll like it,” like it’s better than butter. Suddenly, wallflowers everywhere (your friend’s roommate, your own roommate, your cousin…) whisper, “You should read it.” It’s like when you start smoking pot like it’s a huge secret when you realize, Holy Sh*t. Everyone Smokes Pot. E-v-e-r-y-o-n-e. Or so I’ve heard. I’m using this analogy to relate to the readers who can’t believe I would enjoy Twilight before trying drugs.
Where did this literary recipe for disaster get its start? Start with a large mixing bowl. Add Stephanie Meyers’ friends & family and a handful of Girls That Already Like Weird Vampire Books. Pour contents over the I-Don’t-Just-Read-Romance-Novels-I-Build-Libraries-Of-Them Battalion and you now have a hot pan of Twilight Is On A Best Sellers List. Spread on a thick layer of Women Who Read Best-Seller Books Just Because They’re Best Sellers, and we’re reaching the cool girls who pull out little plastic baggies of illegal Twilight at underage parties. I try it because they’re doing it and, hey, aren’t I supposed to experimenting during these years? AND THEN I ENJOYED IT. (Twilight. The weed thing is still just an analogy.)
Reason 1 – Escapism Fantasy
Twilight offers me twice the fantasy of normal fiction. With a fantasy world of vampires and werewolves pumped up on Good Intention Steroids, I get NICE monsters. That’s a fantasy within the world of fantasy. Even unicorns want stories like this. It’s major escapism for any female suffering from high school, my unrewarding jobs, singledom, my college stress, pathetic weekend plans, bodily insecurity, my heinous boss, rush-hour traffic, the mid-life-crisis, yet another dinner-for-one, offspring tantrums, sucky roommates, infuriating co-workers, sad paychecks, bikini shopping… Twilight is Twice the Fantasy for the Price of One!
Reason 2 – Sexy Fantasy
I ought to check the books again (I gave mine away. To spread the joy of Twilight. Because. Just Because. Stop asking questions.) but the Cullen vampires are basically “indescribably sexy.” Beyond the basics of “male and extremely attractive,” I get to choose the important things: hair length, face shape, shoulder size, degree of rippling muscles, amount of chest hair, cleanliness of fingernails, etc. Meyer’s leaves out any-and-all details of the sex scenes so that I am left to my own imagination.
Being sexy-times-infinity lets me enjoy these handsome characters. Notice that Meyers’ specific details get her into trouble: “HOW is a sparkly, cold dude sexy?” and boys everywhere inwardly panic, “IS glitter sexy? Because I could try that. I would do that for sex.”
If you can’t get past the Pale and Sparkly (even though you get to pick ALL the other details; god, you’re picky, no wonder you’re single) you can go with Buff and Not Sparkly Jacob. Love musicians? Edward. Jocks? Emmett. War heroes? Jasper. Doctors? Humble millionaires? Fatherly figures? Carlisle. The whole character list is like a Playboy for me. I mean for girls everywhere.
This INCLUDES the women want the virginally abstinent, overly protective Edward type. The more “practical” girls have Team Jacob’s I’m-safe-because-I’m-your-friend-But-I’m-A-Total-Pain-In-The-Ass-and-So-Completely-Manipulative-but-I-digress. (Jacob’s great. I just prefer the oddly possessive, arguably abusive, wants-to-get-married-at-17 Team Edward.)
Reason 3 – Prettiest Belle At The Ball Fantasy
Twilight’s doesn’t-feel-pretty-so-she-should-be-a-pretty-relatable-main-character, Bella, at a new high school: Classic Symbol For Insecurity. Humans across the board can relate to insecurity. Bella quickly becomes the central focus battles: Jacob vs. Edward, Werewolves vs. Vampires, Cullen Vampires vs. Human-Eating Vampires, Vampires vs. Volturi Vampires… SO, I relate to her because she’s insecure, I want to be her because everyone is arguing over her (hello, center of attention), AND I already think I’m wise and effect like her, which Bella demonstrates by subduing rivals, bringing nice monsters everywhere together, and generally getting her way.
Reason 4 – Super Power Fantasy
Once (and never again,) I tried to defend Edward’s qualities in argument against a Non-Twihard (read: Lesbian.) Her response was that Jean Grey of X-Men is way cooler. [Editor’s Note: She is.]
Twilight vampires are like super humans: they possess all of our innate abilities but one hundred times better. These vampires expertly play chess, baseball, and musical instruments; thoroughly absorb texts of literature, medicine, law; fluently speak Italian, Portuguese, and presumably every language you want to learn; and skillfully compete in hand-to-hand combat way-beyond-black-belt. That’s okay, because also see more colors than we do and would just create more belts. “Is that a pink belt?” “It is PUCE, mortal weakling. Hi-YAH. Om nom nom nom.”
The option of being “great at everything” (Bella’s go-to description of Edward) means that I could succeed at EVERYTHING I WANT if I’m a Twilight vampire. Twilight Vampires have way better sex than humans. Convinced now?
Those in-the-know may argue that Twilight vampires lack the super power most important to females: Birthing Children. But Meyer’s covers this! Bella gets to have the baby THEN turn into a super-power vampire AND (spoiler alert) the baby is immortal. Happy eternal ending! But happy endings really belong in reason number 5.
Reason 5 – Love, Marriage and Babies. Yay More Fantasies!
I don’t care if you’re a practical girl who will get married when she can pay for her own wedding and won’t have kids till she’s 35; you still, secretly, sometimes wish that you were already in love, married and caring for a miniature Gollum that poops itself. How many vampire stories offer THAT fantasy? …PLUS the four above?
Conclusion: Did the Twilight Movies Even Have the Potential to be Better than the Books? (This is a film blog, after all.)
Um… you mean, ignoring the fact that the book’s dialogue is seriously lacking when read aloud? No. Females will never be attached to the Twilight movies as they are to the books (even though hoards of crazed Twihard Moms ruining Robert Pattinson’s personal life would have you believe otherwise.)
Maybe the filmmakers knew this and threw in the sex scenes to make up for everything else.
The books are gems because they allow me to project MY vision of MY own fantasies. I can’t do that to a movie.