Twilight: Love to Hate or Hate to Love?

This week, much to my own amusement, I found myself in the little town of Forks, Washington.

We were en route with my husband from the lovely Victorian seaside port of Port Townsend to the hiking trails and giant spruces of the Hoh Rainforest in Olympic National Park. It's a remote area, amazingly so considering it's only a few hours drive from Seattle, the 15th largest metropolitan area in the United States, and Forks is one of the few towns along the way with a stoplight (yes, one), let alone a place to spend the night.

Those of you who don't know any teenage girls (and/or have been living in a cave the last six months) might not know that Forks, WA is the land of Twilight, Stephenie Meyer's wildly popular vampire romance novels for young adults, recently made into a film starring Robert Pattinson and Kristen Stewart.

Forks is the home of heroine Bella Swann and the Cullen family of breathtakingly beautiful, baseball playing vampires. As it turned out, my husband and I ended up staying in the Cullens' house, a 1916 farmhouse turned bed and breakfast.

This has not yet ceased to be hilarious.

Miller Tree Inn, aka The Cullen House

Photo: millertreeinn.com
Photo: millertreeinn.com

Does he dazzle you?

Photo credit: orangeokapi13
Photo credit: orangeokapi13

Why hilarious?

Well, I don't even like Twilight. Or, maybe more accurately, I love it, but I love to hate it.

It is, as you may know if you've ever chanced to pick it up, one of the most eminently mockable bestsellers in years, and I am one of a large community of anti-fans who follow news about the books and films nearly as obsessively as the real fans, for the sheer hilarity. We call ourselves the Twilight lolfans.

For example:

A heroine named "beautiful swan?" Check.

Vampires so beautiful they sparkle in the sunlight? Check.

Ooh, how about Cesarean section by fangs? Yup, check!

One lolfan actually did a statistical catalogue of the hilarity, starting with this telling little figure:

  • Number of Pages in the Book: 498
  • The First Hint of a Plot that Is Not Bella and Edward's Romance: page 328
  • When the Plot Actually Arrives: page 372

Twilight, in the words of Cleolinda, one of the most prominent lolfans, means never having to say you're kidding.

More Twilight Thoughts

As a lifelong feminist, I have a pretty serious bone to pick with the Twilight Saga's romanticization of Edward Cullen's emotionally manipulative, controlling behavior. Though I have read some interesting positive feminist perspectives on Bella's agency and the books' treatment of adolescent sexuality, the abusive behavior she accepts from Edward is really the clincher for me.

A word of advice to young Twilight fans, if your boyfriend sneaks into your house without your permission to watch you while you sleep, or dismantles your truck to prevent you from visiting your friends against his wishes, don't sigh about how romantic he is, or how caring and protective. Instead, march straight to the nearest police station and take out a restraining order on him, pronto.

But though the books are little more than Mormon propaganda wrapped up in the guise of supernatural romance, the Twilight phenomenon is arguably more subversive of the patriarchy than anything since that similarly mocked epic romance, Titanic.

Why? The Female Gaze.

Twilight!

  • Love to hate it
  • Hate to love it
  • Love it, plain and simple
  • Just plain hate it
See results without voting

Twilight Lol-fandom

Twilight lolfans congregate in greatest concentration around a few communities on LiveJournal and other fan-frequented social networks, but they can be found scattered across the internet.

Their creative outpost is prodigious, including everything from humorous recaps and parodies to comics and fanart to statistics and other numeric calculations of hilarity. Even the mainstream media is taking note.

However, the most amusing and thorough coverage of the anti-fandom is still maintained by fans. The science fiction blog io9 has an excellent short article detailing such classic lolfan attacks as the comments on an article by USA Today on whether the Twilight or Harry Potter series is better (even Yoda weighed in: "Bullshit the Twilight series is, and stupid you are").

A longer Twilight primer is maintained by Cleolinda herself at her Cleoland Wiki, complete with definitions for such all-important terms for the new Twilight lolfan as "Sparkle Motion" and "fursplode," and links to her excellent and hilarious recaps of Twilight, New Moon, Eclipse, Breaking Dawn, and Midnight Sun.

Famous Lolfans

The nice thing about being a Twilight anti-fan is that there's lots of good company. No less a literary light than Stephen King just joined our ranks, and he's not the first.

Even Pattinson and Stewart, the film's stars, seem to be along for the ride. Pattinson, who's stuck playing sex god Edward Cullen, has provided a host of especially juicy quotes, perhaps because the poor young man does not appear to have any filter whatsoever between his thoughts and his mouth.

Ironically, for someone who's openly confessed his dislike for the story, Pattinson may understand Edward better than Meyer herself does, as he demonstrates in this classic quote from an Empire Magazine article:

"When you read the book," says Pattinson, looking appropriately pallid and interesting even without makeup, "it's like, 'Edward Cullen was so beautiful I creamed myself.' I mean, every line is like that. He's the most ridiculous person who's so amazing at everything. I think a lot of actors tried to play that aspect. I just couldn't do that. And the more I read the script, the more I hated this guy, so that's how I played him, as a manic-depressive who hates himself. Plus, he's a 108-year-old virgin so he's obviously got some issues there."

Later on, in an interview with E!Online, he offered this little piece of epic:

"When I read it, it seemed like (grimaces) I was convinced that Stephenie was convinced that she was Bella [...] especially when she says that it was based on a dream, and it's like, "Oh, then I had a dream about this really sexy guy" and she just writes this book about it, and there's some things about Edward that are just so specific that it's like, I was just convinced that [...] she's in love with her own fictional creation."

Quotes such as these have not won him any friends among diehard Twilight fans, who call themselves "Twilighters," "Twihards," or in some cases "Twimoms," but if the glee of the lolfans over statements such as these could be manifested physically and converted into electricity, it would power Forks for decades.

An Lolfan in Forks

Visiting Forks, I couldn't resist taking a picture with the lifesize cut-out of Edward Cullen standing on the front parlor next to "his" piano at the Miller Tree Inn, like the good little lolfan I am.

Nor could I resist popping into the conspicuously named Dazzled by Twilight store on the main street through town. It was a quick visit - we were eager to hit the trail - but I am now the proud owner of my first copy of the original novel, complete with a sticker proclaiming that it was purchased in Forks, and an Edward/Bella bookmark. I elected NOT to become the proud owner of a pair of purple panties emblazoned with the word "dazzled" in rhinestones on the front.

My husband snapped a picture as I stepped out of the store ("blackmail material," he said) and we continued on our merry way to the Hoh. Still laughing.

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Comments 12 comments

Bruce Elkin profile image

Bruce Elkin 7 years ago from Victoria, BC Canada

Good hub, but I was disappointed, after you mentioned Forks. Being almost totally clueless about pop culture, I did not pick up from the title or first few paragraphs that "Twilight" was the teen phenomena.

I've always wanted to go to Forks. Live quite close. Go to Marrowstone Island, across from Port Towsend a lot (see http://hubpages.com/hub/An-Ecologic-Place-and-A-10... and had writing teachers that raved about Forks.

So, after reading about Twilight, and getting clued in I thought, she writes well -- ask her to write a hub about Forks. Will you?

And do you think the town will be spoiled by fame? I hope not. Best!


kerryg profile image

kerryg 7 years ago from USA Author

Bruce, I'm afraid I'm probably not qualified to write a hub on the town itself. This was my first visit there in over a decade and it was relatively brief - not even 24 hours from the time we arrived to the time we hopped in the car and started driving south to the Hoh.

The town itself is small and fairly unprepossessing, but of course the scenery nearby was gorgeous (though with a distressing amount of recent and recovering clearcuts in unprotected areas). I can say that we really enjoyed our stay at the Miller Tree and had a dinner that was both more expensive and tastier than I expected from initial impressions of the Smoke House Restaurant.

I found this site to be helpful planning our trip: http://www.forkswa.com/ , and the man staffing the Forks Visitor Center a little south of town (next to the Timber Museum) was also extremely helpful. It's a bit of a drive to Hoh and Kalaloch, but the beaches around La Push were very beautiful and only about 15 minutes away. We did Rialto to Hole in the Wall as the sun was setting over the ocean and that was the perfect end to our day, especially when followed up with a nice soak in the whirlpool tub at Miller Tree. ;) I also hear the fishing and hunting is excellent, but I don't do either, so I can't provide any recommendations there.


darkside profile image

darkside 7 years ago from Australia

After making the mistake of saying to a 40 something mother of five that Twilight the movie sucked I was informed that the books are so much better.

Being an avid reader of just about anything, I was tempted to buy a copy of the first novel and give it a go. But I think I've got the hint that it doesn't get any better.

And that link to the Stephen King article put the final nail in the coffin.


kerryg profile image

kerryg 7 years ago from USA Author

It would be a pretty fast read for you, I'm sure, but yes, I wouldn't probably bother, unless you enjoy descriptive styles based on raping poor innocent thesauri. :)

Here's one of my particular favorite quotes:

"Edward in the sunlight was shocking. I couldn't get used to it, though I'd been staring at him all afternoon. His skin, white despite the faint flush from yesterday's hunting trip, literally sparkled, like thousands of tiny diamonds were embedded in the surface. He lay perfectly still in the grass, his shirt open over his sculpted, incandescent chest, his scintillating arms bare. His glistening, pale lavender lids were shut, though of course he didn't sleep. A perfect statue, carved in some unknown stone, smooth like marble, glittering like crystal."

Apparently, otahyoni (from the "statistical catalogue of hilarity" linked above) found 165 distinct references to Edward's beauty in the course of the novel... after starting several chapters in.


darkside profile image

darkside 7 years ago from Australia

I cringe at the inane verbosity!


Claire 7 years ago

After reading this i would have to agree, but I admit that i read the books last fall and found although enticing and a quick read It almost seems that stephanie is in love maybe with herself. Its a dream therefore Edward is too perfect and yes it is sickening on her descriptions of him, but then I didn't like Bella that much either. It shows as well if the actor playing Edward thinks he's a pansy to the point its almost sickening. I almost wanted to ask him why he took the part, to play such a frustrated boy.

The main issue for me was that Mayer stated that she wrote it for a movie, therefore it was to descriptive and this shows though her writing in the host which was not designed for this purpose and also came across as a poor read.

To "Bella" It was a good movie if you are 12 years old, but to actually take what mayer writes shows its poor. Mayer created a boy of whom is to perfect, expanding a dream to her ideals of the perfect guy. It is also shown that the main actor himself dose not find Edward enticing. Maybe you will look back in years to come and see what we see today.


Rose Griffes 7 years ago

One ex-Mormon with an anti-Mormon slant should not be the measuring stick for defining the Twilight series as "Mormon propaganda."


Travis 6 years ago

I didn't think the movie was that bad, but the books are much better. The movie was like a Cliff's Notes of the book. They could have done better. I am just ashamed to be a guy that enjoyed the series. Here's what got me by

http://www.ehow.com/how_5555880_like-twilight-away...


geekchick profile image

geekchick 6 years ago

Great hub. I love how you mention there are just as many people who love to read things dissing Twilight as those who love reading Twilight.

I wasn't aware the actors felt Twilight was horrible. Kind of interesting to know that as people are mobbing Robert Pattinson and screaming they love Edward (not him, his fictional character), he's probably laughing and thinking, "What fools. Do they realize this guy isn't REAL?"


miss_jkim profile image

miss_jkim 6 years ago

Cute hub, I enjoyed it and had a few giggles.

I do love the Twilight books. Why? Because it's a refreshing love story that is not rife with profanity and sex. Sexual tension? You Bet, but it leaves it to the imagination which is always better than graphic descriptions.

The only part of Twilight that I am getting very sick of is the commercialization of every thing Twilight. I feel like I'm stuck in the 80's with the Gene Simmons, KISS phenomenon.

I'm all for the American Dream and making money, but come on! A little bit goes a LONG way and the Twilight "junk" is way past that!


rgarnett profile image

rgarnett 6 years ago from KC, MO

I personally found the books to be a quick fun read. I didn't really delve into the 'writing' persay, but the story was good. I admit, that now, I have only 1 real favorite of the book series, Breaking Dawn. Its the book where all the good stuff happens. :P However, I love the books, the movies so far have been entertaining, though not exactly profound. So I see your point. I still think its good 'ol amusing fun to watch and read for a few hours of my life. Nice hub. I enjoyed it!


Audrey 5 years ago

I'm probably late on the ball here, but I'm wondering where those Twilight lolfans hang out online... I've been looking for good forums but my google-searching skills don't seem to be enough!

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