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Another One of Those Twilight Articles

It seems like everyone is criticizing the Twilight series.
And not for good reasons, either. Bad writing, bad plot, anti-feminist message, shallow, marketing inappropriate things to young girls. But let’s take a closer look at all this.
There have been arguments that Twilight gives false hope to young girls. The book, critics say, suggests to the girls that a charming young prince will come to sweep them off their feet. Isn’t this just a fantasy fairy tale? What’s wrong with that? But there are no legions of Snow White or Cinderella haters.
Face it: there are stories with weaker female protagonists. On the other hand, there will be stories with weaker male protagonists. Bridge to Terabithia. Wizard of Oz. There are plenty. Edward Cullen behaves like a stalker, granted, but I’m really surprised that people are shocked by that instead of being terrified about his clearly unhealthy diet. And let me pose a question: does all literature necessarily have a heroic, role-model-worthy narrator? Is Holden Caufield of J.D. Salinger’s Catcher in the Rye a good role model for adolescent boys? Would it be better if small children read about and idolized Hamlet from Shakespeare’s tragedy? Simply put, suggesting that small girls will want to emulate Bella is like saying young children who obsessively played Pokemon on their Gameboys will grow up to sic their pets on other animals. Clearly, they will not. Or at least, I never did.
Maybe the plot isn’t extremely complex, maybe the prose is too simplistic, maybe the ending was dreadfully anticlimactic. Sure. But in general, when educated people criticize books like Mrs. Dalloway or Jane Eyre, they shrug and say, “It just moved too slowly for me,” or “The story was much too mundane.” Rarely would you see a literary critic burst out, “I HATED THIS BOOK IT WAS SO LAME.” Consider Justin Bieber, Miley Cyrus and Twilight. I’ve heard far too many uncreative and unnecessary jibes about these three icons. “Justin Bieber is gay” is one I see coming up over and over again. Really? Is he now? I doubt it. And if that was meant in a derogatory way (which is usually is), please learn some manners. “Miley Cyrus should die” is another one. Yes, it could be funny, and maybe I’m taking it too seriously, but seriously. Death wishes are firstly, a little over the top, and secondly, awfully unoriginal. Just goes to show that teenagers can be an army of brainwashed followers too.
Sometimes, teenagers choose to ‘hate on’ certain things in pop culture just because other people love them. In a sick way, the world loves balance: with many fangirls come many haters. We take it upon ourselves to oppose the “mindless” masses when we are being played as well—our hatred is a product of pop culture too. Why hate Twilight instead of Harry Potter? Why hate Miley Cyrus instead of Lady Gaga, or Justin Bieber instead of Usher? Yes, there will be the common arguments that Twilight is a trashy romance novel while Harry Potter is an epic tale of loyalty and love; Lady Gaga is talented while Miley Cyrus is not; Justin Bieber sounds like a girl. But when you get down to it, the most noticeable difference is that a mass of preadolescent girls and boys love something, and so it seems like it’s up to us teenagers to hate that.
Thus, none of us can claim a purely literary or artistic view or opinion on the subject. Once someone or something becomes commercialized or popular, there’s no separating the object itself from the reputation and image that it has in our culture. I scoff at Twilight because I honestly believe that a perfect boy should not be as white as a geek who spends all his time playing Call of Duty, and teenage boys should not love baby girls. Also, who names their baby Renesmee? (Then again—who names their kid Albus Severus?) But I also came to my conclusion that Twilight is inferior to Harry Potter from what everyone else said. Popular opinion influences everyone, even the socially deviant teenage rebels.
It seems that Twilight-JustinBieber-MileyCyrus-Popularity hate is a symptom of being a teenager. We are a herd of rebels who paradoxically submit to mob mentality; we love a good scapegoat. We are too cool for juvenile things, we are older and experienced and we’re moving on. Thus, we have to rid ourselves of any traces of immaturity by criticizing things that are seen as ‘kid-ish.’ Namely, we abhor the idea of being a zombie fan; we have to rebel against the established social cues. The generation gap is defined, and we begin our outpouring of patronizing, condescending, snide remarks. Not that I haven’t been part of it (and it is fun), but that’s what it is. But frankly, that’s not what it should not be.
Stop hating popularity. When you were younger, I’m sure you had a silly obsession that you blush at now. Let the next generation have their fun before growing up. It’s just a phase. It too will pass.




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schlage said...
Dec. 12, 2010 at 6:13 pm:
Maybe people do this because of the huge upsession. I meant you don't see teenage girls wearing shirts with a picture of the tinman on it and screaming his name as he walks by. They're aren't suddenly millions of books about a magical shoe stealing witch. No, it's the way that people UPSESS over Twilight.
 
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