The Walking Rant: Ethically sound consumption during Meme times

Stephanie Meyer is publishing Midnight Sun after 12 years of shelving it and nothing feels real anymore.

Because…

I’m going to spend my own human money on it.

The newfound popularity of the saga a decade after the books were released, dubbed the Twilight Renaissance, should by no means be confused with people actually liking the books. I see it as more of a tribute to our younger selves, who were so enchanted by… something… that we looked straight past the ageism, sexism, racism, and probably more – isms that I can’t recall right now. And that’s whether you loved or hated Twilight.

The Twilight Renaissance should be considered a parody of the Original Twilight movement.

But it all started with just acknowledging that the amount of flack this Saga got was just… really disproportionate to the actual quality of the material?

The Twilight books are an easy read, true. But they’re not horrible, stylistically. At least not as horrible as many a 9gag posts would have you believe in 2009. In hindsight the vitriol against the books, the author, the movies, the actors, the fans, etc. put next to their solid mediocrity was just as baffling as just how die hard the fans were for that same mediocrity.

What was Twilight’s crime other than being a mediocre YA romance series that fell into popularity and got movies?

Ah.

And most of us believed that too. How many times have you heard snarky internet people proclaim that Twilight was the Death of Literature. And then wen 50 Shades of Grey came out how Impossible it was that Somehow something Worse Than Twilight was written (Fifty Shades of Grey is that bad, though… You won’t catch me defending that whole situation). When in actuality… There are a whole bunch of books that are far worse than Twilight and some of them aren’t even YA romance! (sarcasm… That was sarcasm)

What greater humiliation was there as a teenage girl to be lumped in with other teenage girls? How quickly I denounced these books once I saw all the jokes and criticism. I didn’t want to be thought of as vapid, are you kidding me? I wore jeans and converse for crying out loud, I wasn’t like them!

A true hilarious contradiction that will always stay with me is that Bella was dubbed a Mary Sue and a bad role model because she was consistently condescending to her friends and acted like she was better than them; and there we were, continuously talking down to Twilight fans, acting like we were better than them. Honestly, amazing. ART.

What I’m getting at is that Twilight wasn’t hated because it was mediocre. It was hated because it was a romance and the demographic was teenage girls and… *shudder* Twilight Moms. (I shudder because of how creepy they were, not because they’re older women with interests. Also I have had a lot of bad experiences with “Moms” in fandom spaces… I don’t want to talk about it.) Look at how hated One Direction was. Their songs? Bops. But they had a core audience of teenage girls so they were dubbed trash.

Years and years of working through internalized mysoginy and noticing how everything related to women and feminity is somehow cause for contempt have left me with a kind of indignation towards the insinuation that mediocrity associated with male interests (shooty shooty bang bang movies) are considered the norm, and mediocrity assosciated with feminine interests (Romance,… Any female led narrative) has to be either morally, ethically, and technically perfect or Perish.

And it’s like… I just want to have a giggle, you know.

I am of the belief that YAPR should be looked at with the same scrutiny you would afford one of the countless (literally too many) mediocre action movies. That is, very little.

Am I saying that YA is inherently mediocre? Hell no. I’m also not saying that mediocrity is inherently funny. What I am saying is that you should recognise when a fun time can be a fun time.

And that’s what the Twilight Renaissance is. It’s recognizing that Twilight isn’t perfect, maddening, infuriating or even the Death of Literature.

It’s just really funny. It’s so much. All the time.

Even funnier is insisting that it’s a masterpiece to people who haven’t gone through the whole internal journey you’ve gone through and are still stuck in those 2009 9gag memes.

That being said, that Twilight has a newfound enterainment aspect for a number of people after a decade doesn’t magically undo the bigger problematic aspects it has. The source material itself hasn’t changed. Nor has Meyer.

She still is the person that wrote a book with so much misinformation on an IRL native community that that community have set up a website that corrects the misconceptions that Meyer spread through her books.As much as I make fun of the plot point, a literal baby will grow up with the adult man that is supposed be her soulmate right there until she chooses to be with him romantically. The grooming vibes are unreal. There is the whole anti choice narrative of Bella’s pregnancy, where she very plainly chooses to die so her baby can be born, despite the baby being what kills her and the people who are attempting to talk her out of this are portrayed as selfish and cruel.

There is a whole lot actually wrong and harmfull about the Twilight Saga. People reclaiming the source material to appreciate the memories and the impression it left on pop culture doesn’t undo what Meyer wrote. Eventhough most of the flack she got when Twilight was at its height of popularity/infamy was largely rooted in mysoginy and sexism, she herself is still a problematic author.

So that gave me pause when I proclaimed loudly on twitter that I was going to throw money at Midnight Sun general direction. Do I really want to support this person? When does the joke go too far? Is it morally sound to support this person just to have more material to drag Edward over?

Probably not.

Will that stop me from buying it?

No. I just want to have a giggle.

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