eltrotskysflyingcircus replied to your post: THANK YOU for the Twilight thing. I did my undergraduate thesis on Twilight — I used Reader-Reponse theorist/phenomenologist Wolfgang Iser and interviews with five young women who had read Twilight in their teens. Everyone always freaks out, but it’s a fairly powerful book and dismissing it isn’t being critical, it’s being… pretentious and lazy? Anyway, thanks for taking the time and post space to explain :)How is it lazy to recognize that Twilight contains themes that are harmful to young women?
No, that’s not being lazy. That’s using a critical eye. That’s what we want; a discussion.
Then you can also draw parallels to other works of CLASSIC and RESPECTED literature that also also carried similar themes that can be harmful to young women or that don’t broach/reproach the suppression of females that Meyer idealizes: Romeo and Juliet (kill yourself for love!), Pride and Prejudice (Your entire monetary future and comfortable existence rests with a man, but hopefully you can find one you love!), Tess of the D’ubervilles (sexual hypocrisy), Merchant of Venice (it’s totes okay if you trick your lover just to prove you’re smarter; NINJA EDIT: Ethnic supression! Jews and Ventians! Wolves and Vampires! IF YOU PRICK US DO WE NOT BLEED?!!).
We’re referring to people who don’t even bother to do that, and say, “It’s rubbish; don’t read that.” You can’t ignore a commercial powerhouse like Twilight and its impact on its readership.
Though I do agree that it shouldn’t be dismissed (if a huge group of young people is engaging with something encouraging harmful ideas should we really ignore it?), I do wonder if it’s fair to say that Twilight is, in a way, worse than these classics. The respected literature you draw parallels to was all written in different time periods and, unfortunately, reflect certain sociocultural norms. I would LIKE to say Twilight has no excuse — though I think we could just as easily say that this isn’t the case, looking at the way women are still objectified, etc.
So could we take that critical analysis a step further and ask ourselves if Twilight is a reflection of current norms, and tie that into other pieces of popular culture as well?