When the trailer for new Twilight movie Eclipse played at a recent fan convention in San Francisco, the crowd erupted in boos so loud the soundtrack was drowned out. That's when I realized hating Twilight had gotten boring.
Back when hating Twilight was cool
Maybe it's my knee-jerk tendency to recoil from mob behavior, but it seems to me that when hating something has become such a cliche that people catcall it before even watching the trailer - well, that's not a taste judgment anymore. It's just neuro-twitches working their way through lemming brains. If there was ever a time when hating Twilight was cutting-edge and cool, it was when the series was just a crypto-Mormon set of books about a mopey princess and her sparkly, obsessive prince whose penis has the power to blacken her womb.
Only the discerning hated those novels. There were interesting reasons to do it, like the fact that the books taught women that men were supposed to take care of them. And that it was OK to promise your infant daughter in marriage to a creepy adult guy who is in love with you.
But hating the movies? Anybody who has ever sneered at Hot Topic can do that. Hell, you can probably buy anti-Twilight gear at Hot Topic, right next to the pro-Twilight belt buckles. My point is that people are hating on the movies so vocally not because they have actually watched them, evaluated them in the context of other paranormal romance narratives, and deemed them aesthetically inferior. They hate them because it's what everybody else is doing. Especially men.
Among commentators who are far too mature to break into enthusiastic boos when they watch a movie, there is a general consensus that these movies are "just for girls/women/mothers/daughters/sisters." I can't tell you how many men have told me informally - or written formally in various publications - things like, "My daughter is obsessed with Twilight and I don't understand," or "My wife and daughters are downstairs watching a Twilight movie. I am hiding upstairs."
I guess I'm glad that women have discovered how to unseat male power over the home entertainment system with the push of a DVD player button. But I think if you scratch the surface of comments like that, what you find underneath is a room full of men screaming "booo" because they hate pop culture aimed at women. Or because they are scared of it. Whatever.
The point is: What the hell is wrong with women or anybody enjoying stories about girls fucking sexy monsters? Seriously, is that really any dumber than men fantasizing about sex with the chick in Species, or elf girl in Lord of the Rings? Or drooling over pictures of Kirk with the blue alien? The answer is no. It's equally as dumb. And equally as awesome.
Congratulations - you've discovered your fantasies are stupid
Now that Academy Award winning director Bill Condon is on the short list to direct the final two movies in the Twilight cycle, it seems that even Hollywood is acknowledging that Twilight is more than a trashy teen phenom. It's a powerful story that that hooks people despite the sparkles and emo dialogue.
And that is yet another reason I have grown bored with the Twilight hate. When confronted with a convention full of booing dorks, I just feel like shrugging disdainfully and saying, "Congratulations, boys - you have discovered what the entire world knew all along. Your fantasies are stupid." Because really, Twilight at its heart is no different from any other fantasy franchise. It's like Star Wars - except it's set on Earth and the goal is to penetrate Bella's womb with some guy's flaming seed, rather than shooting it into the Death Star. OK, not really - but you get what I mean. We're talking about adolescent power epics, with all the glory and embarrassment they entail.
I'm not saying people will come to cherish Twilight the way they do Star Wars. I'm just sick of hearing everybody trash Twilight for the very things they love in other stories: Impossible romance, epic battles that transcend generations, silly costumes, and growing up superpowered. Hating Twilight is just so tired, and it makes us all look like assholes. Maybe it's time to start figuring out what's cool about Twilight.