Like a lot of girls circa 2005-2008, I read the Twilight series. I was a few years older than the demographic of pre-teens to fifteen-year-olds the series was marketed to, but I got aboard the hype train. And eventually, the hate train.
With its sparkly vampires, do-nothing protagonist, stalker-y hero, and predictable plot lines, Twilight was and is an easy target for criticism.
But so are a lot of things. So, why did Twilight and its author Stephenie Meyer get SO. MUCH. HATE. when other, equally mindless entertainment with equally problematic role models got a pass? In short, people find it easy to hate on teen girls and things teen girls like.
This video essay exploring the topic and offering an apology to author Stephenie Meyer by YouTuber and author Lindsay Ellis (okay, I know I’ve posted frequently about Ellis but idc, great content is great content) kind of blew my mind when I first watched it, and it opened my eyes to some of my own internalized misogyny.
Not that Twilight hate is super trendy anymore, but I can safely say I have jumped off that bandwagon, and I hope this helps folks, myself included, be more aware of jumping on any similar bandwagons in the future. (I mean, I’ll still enjoy a meme now and again, I’m only human.)
Let’s let teenage girls like things, without the heaps of shame.
TL;DW: “After a while, the ‘it’s problematic’ argument starts to feel like a lazy excuse to hate on a popular thing teenage girls liked rather than good faith criticism. … Why was Stephanie Meyer so loathed? She didn’t do anything! She wrote a wish-fulfillment book. It’s not great, but it’s far from the worst of its genre.
Yes, Twilight is silly. A lot of pop culture is silly. Imagine the same level of vitriol being leveled at the equally silly Fast and the Furious franchise. Both are dumb cheese, but they are dumb cheese targeting different markets. So why is one dumb cheese the object of so much pearl-clutching over who’s a good role model, and the other [is just fine]?”
For similar content on why we should collectively ease up on teenage girls, check out my post on poet Olivia Gatwood’s piece “When I Say That We Are All Teen Girls.”