Time: The Harsh Bigotry of Twilight Haters, Erica Christakis Speaks Out

This is hands down one of the best statements on media attitudes towards Twilight. It’s written by a PhD and a Harvard college administrator. Here’s one of the best parts:

The negative reactions fall in two camps: The dismissive camp simply mocks Twilight’s incorporation of silly, “moony” elements like undying love and the surprisingly authentic portrayal of wedding ritual, honeymoon jitters and the shock of unintended pregnancy; the topics are apparently too boring and unrelatable for most reviewers. The deluded camp, conversely, takes Twilight far too seriously, faulting it for leading young girls to mistake fantasy for reality in dangerous, disempowering ways.

It makes you wonder if some people missed the memo that hundreds of millions of females, like their male counterparts, enjoy their fantasy life straight-up weird, sexy, and implausible.

Why is it that female fantasies are such a source of derision and fear? The male species is allowed all manner of violent, creepy, ludicrous and degrading movie tropes, and while we may not embrace them as high art, no one questions them seriously as entertainment, even when sometimes we probably should. (Violent imagery is, after all, associated with violent behavior.) You want to saw someone in half or put their head in a vice? Showcase naked strippers as a fake plot device? Pair a beautiful and successful career woman with a slovenly, unemployed man? Pretend you are Wolverine? Go right ahead. We know you can’t really be serious. But watch a tender wedding night between a virginal, undead superhero and his teenage, human bride, and the scolds come out in force. Are parents worried that their teenage daughter actually wants to be impregnated by a 100-year-old vampire who can crush a headboard with his hands (and perform an emergency C-section with his teeth)?

If you read nothing else today, read the entire thing on Time

So why in our opinion don’t more speak out? A lot of us are so used to the “But Twilight Will Turn You Into a Mindless and Submissive Drone” speech that we are immune to it. We hold successful jobs and furthermore hold our own w/our male counterparts. The proof of it not indoctrinating us is in our daily lives and we laugh at those trying so very hard to save us from ourselves. There’s something pretty hilarious about people so hell bent on trying to save us from the delusion of our thinking on escapist fantasy. We’ve got enough real-life issues to worry about rather than argue with those that just don’t get it. We’ve spoken with our book and box office dollars. We’ve heard the critics, we’ve comprehended their points, we just don’t agree…and THAT my friends drives them nuts. In short this adage sums it up, “Never try to teach a pig to sing. It wastes your time and annoys the pig.”

TY to multiple people who alerted us to this article via email and Twitter!

Comments

  1. This is what i wish i could say to everyone that gets so as she puts it so bang on “hell bent”, this is the best thing that i have ever read and it says it all i think. Thanks for posting it!

  2. Elizabeth (EverythingRemindsMeOfTwilight) says:

    Great article!! Thanks so much for posting!

  3. This is the exact conversation I had with someone the other day after I read some of the critic reviews of the movie. I mean, I consider myself a very intelligent well-educated adult woman who is aware and in touch of what’s going on in the world today. However, when I saw the movies and read the books (well after the “Eclipse” had come out on DVD and the Twilight craze had toned down a bit), I could not help but be sucked in into tne fantasy and romance of the story. It wasn’t hard to relate to this girl and her feelings for her undead love as I remember feeling the same way when I was a teenager and in love for the first ime.
    All the extra “messages” that critics seem to read “between the lines”: pro-life, pro abstinence, girl waiting for prince charming to save her, etc… seem ridiculous to me! I’m a pro-choice liberal and these were the farthest things from my mind as I read the books more than 5 times!
    To call this type of love sappy and unrealistic says a lot about the minds of the people who see it that way… too jaded… perhaps…
    I’ve felt it just as described in Meyer’s books and my teenage students (boys and girls) seem to feel it very similarly, in spite of being bombarded with shows like Jersey Shore, Rock of Love, Skins, etc., where “love so strong it physically hurts to be apart” has given way to the “sex as often s you can and with as many people” mentality.
    I think we should stop over thinking things and look at it for what it is, a love story that apparently seems to appeal to millions of people accross the world… Coincidence? Perhaps… but I would venture to say that Meyer (intentionally or unintentionally) was able to capture in her books something that already existed rather than “creating out of thin air” a mushy/fantastic version of what some critics believe love should be like.

  4. In my experience haters (not those who simply don’t happen to like Twilight, but virulent and obsessive haters) break down into three major groups:

    1) Misogynists and homophobes whose fragile macho identity is threatened by anything ‘girly’ or ‘soft’ that appeals to female sensibilities, such as handsome men who extol celibacy. (BTW I’m a straight male.) These idiots are self-discrediting. But this category is important to understand because I think it’s the real motivation of a lot of the male haters, even if they parrot the rhetoric of the ‘vampire police’ haters or the sociopolitical haters.

    2) The self-appointed ‘vampire police’ who denounce Twilight for breaking vampire ‘rules’ and for featuring kind, heroic vampires. They can be easily debunked: most of these ‘rules’ were invented by the movies or later literature as opposed to folklore or early literature; some Twi-haters’ favorite vampires likewise ‘break rules’ or are heroes who avoid preying on the innocent; vampires don’t exist so the notion of vampire ‘rules’ is spurious in the first place. (Note: Some famous authors resentful of Stephenie Meyer’s success fall into this category.)

    3) Those with a sociopolitical critique who claim that Twilight is sexist, reactionary, Mormon propaganda etc. that is dangerous to its fans and the culture at large. First, their characterization of Twilight is mistaken. For example, Bella is – contrary to haters’ claims – a very strong-willed character who drives the story. Second, fantasy by its nature often features the transgressive and taboo – and a lot of fantasy, vampire or otherwise, is far more sociopolitically troubling than Twilight. Third, to suggest that readers cannot distinguishfantasy from reality insults readers and moviegoers, including younger fans.

    I suppose there’s a fourth category of haters who claim to be primarily motivated by Twilight allegedly being badly written, or the movies allegedly being badly directed or acted, but I don’t think that even deserves a response. OK, one word: Bull.

  5. I’ll tell you what. It might just be a movie but it speaks volumes about society and their views of female driven movies. Its almost considered cheesy by some men to enjoy these movies. Twilight fans are made fun of and mocked and told we are pathetic. But in the same breath there are grown men who dress up in tights and camp out at events and dedicate their entire lives to comic books and movies. What a double standard our society has. I am proud to say I am a Twilgiht fan. Its just so sad that some people feel the need to bash and put down something that brings joy to so many.
    I cant wait for The Hunger games- another female driven movie franchise!!

  6. I say, read what you want to read. My big problem with Twilight is everyone worshipping poorly-written literature. Great, have a human fall in love with a vampire and crazy C-sections… just do the world a favor and make sure you know how to write first.

    • Sarah, that is all YOUR OPINION! Where’s your best seller list of books for everyone to critique and judge? Just because you think it’s poorly written is YOUR business, why are you even on this site if it doesn’t live up to your expectations? Go somewhere else more worthy of your time and let us spend our time, joy, emotions, and money in peace!

    • The thing is, is that even though it may be poorly written, the story distracts you from all that. I didn’t even notice the poor writing until I took and introductory course to writing fiction at my state university. And what’s funny is that it was the Twilight series that compelled me to take this class because SM was never your typical “I want to be a writer” type of person. It seems she just wanted to do it for herself as a hobby which is what got me interested. I thought, “If someone else can do it, then surely I can!” But, not until after I started taking this writing fiction course did I start to realize the flaws within the book’s writing. But in my personal opinion, the story outweighs the flaws, and regardless I am still a fan. Do I recognize these flaws? Yes. Do I worship it? No, but I highly enjoy it and am glad to be part of a great community of fans.

      You have to realize that the younger generation interested in these books have no reason to recognize poor writing. They are just reading it for the great story. And really everyone should just be glad that children/teens/adults are actually reading. I know of so many people, my husband included, who have never even read a whole, entire book all the way through. It’s sad really, and they have no interest in doing so. If Twilight can be a gateway to getting kids, or even adults to start reading, then more power to it.

    • Kelly Vermeren Madsen says:

      The thing is, Sara, there are MILLIONS of people who obviously don’t care if the writing isn’t of high literary value (in other’s opinions), they simply love the story. I, for one, am one of them. Not every book I read has to be War and Peace, or even Pride and Prejudice; both of which I also enjoyed. (I MAY have used incorrect punctuation in here, try not to judge me too harshly! ;-))

  7. Excellent article that sums it up quite nicely. I’ve always said it about Twilight:
    EITHER YOU GET IT OR YOU DON’T so don’t waste your time trying to tell me
    anything bad about it.

  8. Thanks so much for this article. I love that sentence that is in bold. She is so right on.

  9. Twilight Nymph says:

    Great article, I agree. I also agree with Halek’s comment. The haters do fall into those three categories. I have a brother who pretty much falls into the first two categories Halek mentions . The thing about Twilight haters is that they don’t realize that if they can spend their time coming up with a daily insult about it, then they’re more obsessed with it than they say we are.

  10. Twilight Nymph says:

    Great article, I agree. I also agree with Halek’s comment. The haters do fall into those three categories.

  11. Hilda: I had the same experience. I was shocked that non-fans would bother to come to a midnight showing! Don’t get tickets to the Super Bowl, then talk about how much you hate football and procede to ruin it for me by asking tons of questions!
    Thank you so much for posting this article and your own insightful comments!

  12. I am a guy and i don’t think it is gay or offensive to women. I think Bella is a better role model for girls then others like Snooki from Jersey Shore or Kim Kardahian. She doesn’t get drunk, she doesn’t get into fights over stupid reasons, she isn’t making sex vids and posting them on the internet. It seems like people are only interested in a woman if she turns herself into a train wreck now days. But some people just like to hate and criticise things people love.

  13. It has always amused me that feminists claim the best way to empower women is to assume that we are so weak and delicate and hysterical that we need to be protected from any book that isn’t bowdlerized and politically correct, because we might get wrong ideas into our pretty little heads. It further amuses me to see feminists making common cause with raving misogynist fanboys in the name of empowering women.

  14. hmmmm as a huge twilight fan having read all the books at least 4 times and watched the 1st 3 films numerous times, i am very impressed by breaking dawn part 1, i loved it and i can look past all the criticism it has received, one thing gets me though…how serious these critic are taking it, its damn well fiction for god sakes, its a product of stephanie meyers IMAGINATION, made up, not real, im sure you get the idea so why are people so eager to believe that teens or adults young and old believe otherwise.
    do they seriously think we believe in vampires and werewolves with half human/half vampire babies???? it seems so which makes me think they are the ones with the problem, not us twilight lovers, to me as a mother to 3 kids (1 being a 13 year old girl) the twilight saga is my escape from reality when im feeling a little stressed out or a bit down in the dumps, im sure this counts for quite alot of us, i also would have no problem with my 13 year old reading the books, infact when i was at the cinema on friday to see breaking dawn part 1 i had my 13 year old daughter and 9 year old son with me and they have the intelligence to comprehend that its fiction so why dont the critics who should know better and i dont just mean the ones who are writing reviews its their job its what they do but im also on about all the twi-haters out there, honestly yous are the ones that need to get a grip on reality, my 3 year old son has seen the 1st 3 movies while i have watched them at home as he will see breaking dawn when i finally get it on dvd, i very much doubt though that he will be scared as he isnt with the rest of them, why is this??? because even as a 3 year old he understood me when i told him its just pretend, ITS MADE UP just like spiderman and superman, fantastic four etc and even scooby doo and alvin and the chipmunks so please do us all a favour and get over it and leave us twi-lovers to enjoy in peace please.
    ok rant over!!! i just really needed to put my point across

  15. It’s not the greatest piece writing out there but I got the enjoyment from reading the series, I don’t see the books as serious literature, it’s just fantasy. For me it’s just fun, plain and simple. I even make fun of the series. You either like or you don’t or you feel indifferent but to hate, for the reason to hate without real purpose or to join the haters for the fun of it, has been taken to another level which is juvenile. There are other things more important to hate and Twilight is not one of them as I feel it doesn’t deserve that much animosity.

  16. Thank you for posting! As an English Teacher and Literature Major, I am surprised at the number of narrowminded people who simply find an avenue to dismiss the twilight series. I was interested to learn that in her day, Jane Austen too was put down for everything from her writing style to her structure and content, and now look she is one of our most celebrated literary authors.
    I absolutely love the Twilight Series. It was refreshing to read something new and so bold albeit using a universal framework that renders stories likes the Twilight series, Pride and Prejudice, Wuthering Heights etc so timeless as stories. I feel blessed to have lived through the first print of such an iconic series. Sure, Meyer’s expression could have been refined but the Twilight series have all the elements of a timeless, lasting story well beyond the release of all the films.
    On a personal note, I treasure this story in the depth of my heart and thank Meyer for bringing the world an age old tale…with a twist.

    • Oh, and I should note, there will always be those who don’t enjoy or like this genre or even this story. It was refreshing though to read such an intelligent dialogue as this article from Time, thanks Girls.

  17. Lynne Stringer says:

    That is a great article. I’ve often wondered at the people who say, “Edward is abusive!” when he doesn’t demand sex, or even a touch from her initially, so careful is he to do the right thing by her. What woman doesn’t want a man who puts her needs before his own? Admittedly, this can turn bad, as we saw in New Moon, but no one can doubt that Edward’s motivations then were more about Bella than himself.

  18. Jackalyn Colpitts says:

    i am not going to give the Twilight haters, the “vampire police” and so on, my time today. I am a fan, through and through. Do I think these are Oscar award winning movies? No. but do i love them just the same? Absolutely. Twilight has brought many great things to my life. It brought me up during a dark time, it recaptures a young feeling in me. I have made many great friends due to Twilight outings and conversations. People say “guilty pleasure” and I disagree. I don’t feel a damn bit guilty! For many years, I felt terrible if i enjoyed anything that was just for me. Felt like everything, all the time had to be about my kids and husband. When I read Twilight the first time, there was a spark, like a secret just for me, my own little world. I know its a little inspired to say this, but Twilight helped me find my way back to me again. Enjoying this helped me remember I am a mom, wife, ect, but I am also “me”!

    • alwaysedward says:

      Thank you!!! Frankly, I’m getting a little tired of even the fans now saying that the “even though the books are poorly written, etc, etc.” They are NOT poorly written! What does that even mean? They are books! And books are like beauty in the eye of the beholder. You like something or you don’t. I have read a lot of books, some labeled classics, some labeled trash ……. kids have to read Catcher in the Rye for school – personally, I hated the book, ….kids have to read Grapes of Wrath in school and hate it ….. I loved it when I read it in high school. I loved Jane Eyre but hated 1984, loved Hamlet but wasn’t impressed with Romeo and Juliet……that’s because there’s something in a book that we like that touches us personally that another book might not. I heard that Stephen King insulted Meyer’s writing. Funny…. when I was in eighth grade, I loved King’s books, esp Salem’s Lot and Firestarter. Now I’m 43. After I read that about King, I picked up one of his books in the grocery store and read the first chapter……. his writing was uninteresting to me now… truthfully, I’m a little tired of his foul language. So, all this to say….. we do not have to make even a qualifying statement of “even though they’re not classics” or the movies are not “oscar worthy”…… fact is, there is just something magical about the Twilight Series that reaches …… obviously……many many many women of all ages. That is NOT poorly written literature…. that is exactly what literature should do, good literature should do…… reach a person.

      • Thank YOU! I am so tired of people feeling like they have to qualify their like of Twilight with “I know it’s not very well written” (yes it is, Stephenie Meyer is a wonderful writer! If she makes a grammar mistake here and there it’s the fault of her editor for not catching and correcting it, not her as a writer!) or “The movies aren’t Oscar quality” (so what? Only a handful of movies get chosen for an Oscar nomination each year, and they’re rarely the big blockbusters.). If you love it, love it and be proud.

    • Jackalyn, I felt exactly the same way when I first read Twilight. I’m a wife and mother and work full time on top of all that, and Twilight, well, it was like “my little secret”, too…my place to escape. It stirred something within me. I know to an outsider, it sounds crazy, but it really planted something in my heart when I read those books and that will stay with me forever. Since 2008, I’ve dropped 20 pounds (been maintaing), I fix my hair, wear make-up…do all the things that make me feel good. I’m alive again. I’m in my early 30′s and am healthier and sexier than ever.

      Anyway, I just wanted to share my personal experience, too. Yours sounded so familiar and I can totally relate.

      Leah

  19. I think the bottom line is that most of the bashers and critics are men. I think that when something as big as this franchise gets so much attention its almost like it needs to be put down to try to knock us women down in our places. Want to hear something messed up? The night I saw the movie a usher thought it would be funny to tell everyone that something was wrong with the film and it would take time to fix it. Then an usher covered with film roll walked down the isle and said sorry it had to be done. Oh really? Would they try that stunt with a theater full of men waiting for the new Batman movie? I dont think so! They would get pummeled. Once again men feeling like they need to put it down or make fun of it becasue they don’t understand it!

    • Elizabeth (EverythingRemindsMeOfTwilight) says:

      I hope you complained to the manager. That is EXTREMELY unprofessional and just plain rude.

      • I would of but it looked like the manager in charge held the door open for them to do it.

        • Elizabeth (EverythingRemindsMeOfTwilight) says:

          Ugh!! I’m sorry! Maybe complain to his supervisor?

          I hope you get to see it again so you can enjoy it without the annoyances.

  20. I’ve taken to classifying the haters into Twilight teams, for my own mental health:

    The people who call Edward controlling and say that a girl should never be with someone who could pose any threat to her whatsoever are Team Jacob (although perhaps pre-transformation Jacob would make more sense).

    The people who hate the Cullens’ animal-eating ways are Team Volturi.

    The people who don’t want young women to experience any danger, even imagined, at any time, are Team Charlie.

    Let me know if you think of more!

  21. That article really just hits it.
    It’s about something that’s generally annoying… that people always have so much trouble with accepting someone else’s opinion…
    can’t people just accept that we like twilight? we’re not butting in on what they like, either, after all

  22. Excellent article. Twilight is a wonderful fantasy story which offers us and escape from reality while we read it or watch. I don’t read critics film reviews, not just for twilight but for any film because I like to make up my own mind on whether I like something or not. I like the fansite because it gives me an opportunity to share something I like with others.

  23. smitten_by_twilight says:

    DEAFENING APPLAUSE.

    I once started to have a “serious” conversation about Twilight with my niece, a fairly smart college junior or senior, who was concerned about the message it sent to girls and young women… turned out she hadn’t read the books. Not sure she saw the movies. I expressed my belief that she should go to the source before repeating others’ criticisms.

  24. Dawnika Stephenson says:

    I love Twilight and have read the article! I am from an area close to Dayton, Ohio,but saw the new movie while visiting relatives In Dallas ,Texas. It was awesome! But I don’t totally understand why some people make such a big deal about us Twilight fans liking Twilight. We’re not making fun of others for what they like. You can have your opinion,but don’t keep bugging us fans about you thinking we’re stupid for liking It, or thinking the story Itself Is stupid. I know some people think the book or movies are badly written, but who cares! If It can be made and be published, put In theaters, on DVD, and TV, It must not be too horrible. It wouldn’t have been made In the beginning If It was no good. But It was made so It Is at all good! No, maybe It’s not perfect, but a lot of movies aren’t perfect. Although there’s also good. Maybe It’s not award winning, but not every movie that isn’t award winning Is bad. As far as thinking It’s stupid because of the fake vampire and werewolves things,So! That’s not a big deal. All books and movies aren’t real. It’s entertainment. Who cares If It’s real, It’s fantasy,that’s how it’s supposed to be. It’s not like we think It’s real. We are smart enough to be aware It’s fake. It’s not educational,but we like the story for fun, not to learn something. So what If It’s not like other stories, werewolves and vampires. It’s not wrong to do different stuff with them ,because they’re not real anyway, so there’s no set In stone rule on how vampires and werewolves should be. I like It more for the romance than the vampire/werewolve thing anyway. I mean other fan franchises are just as fake! Examples: Star Trek, Star Wars,Harry Potter, etc. No One gets on them as much!

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