Home / Books / Twilight: Why The Hate?

Twilight: Why The Hate?

Please Share...Print this pageTweet about this on TwitterShare on Facebook0Share on Google+0Pin on Pinterest0Share on Tumblr0Share on StumbleUpon0Share on Reddit0Email this to someone

Up until a year ago, I was fairly oblivious to the cash cow that is Twilight, a young adult book series about a vampire that falls in love with a teenage girl. I had heard of the books, knew that they were about vampires, but because they were ‘young adult’ I had no interest in them. Like a lot of people, my friends kept telling me how great they were and suggesting I read them, and so I caved in and borrowed the series from the library to see what all the fuss was about. After I finished reading them I started paying attention to all of the news reports, articles and various things I saw popping up on the internet; the stories about the upcoming film adaption, the stars of the film, the fans of the series.

And over the last several months I have observed a steadily growing trend; hatred of the series and its fans, and while I can certainly understand a strong dislike of a book, or a film, or a particular musician, the absolute vehemence that some people have expressed towards the fans of Twilight perplexed me. Sure, some of the fans are extreme. For example, the woman who asked actor Taylor Lautner, who plays Jacob Black (the ‘werewolf’), if he would sign her underwear while she was wearing them, and the girls who have approached Robert Pattinson, who plays Edward Cullen (the vampire), with cuts on their necks asking him to bite them. But every large fandom has its zealots such as Star Trek fans who legally changed their names to those of the characters and/or wear Starfleet uniforms in their every day life.

As I became more aware of all the negative commentary about the series and its fans, I decided that I wanted to know why. I wanted to understand where these people were coming from and what their arguments against the series were. The media is absolutely drenched in all things Twilight, but most of the negative press comes from either film reviews, or articles expressing concern over the messages young girls might be receiving from the books. There are blog posts and Youtube videos in which people voice their hatred of the series, but a single person’s opinion is easy to ignore and chalk up to bias.

So I decided to approach the ‘haters’ as a group by presenting them with a questionnaire about why they hate Twilight and then compiling the data to see what I ended up with. I posted the questionnaire in several online groups and communities dedicated to hating Twilight. The following is what I found:

Please note the use of the word ‘haters’ is solely my own.

First, I gathered statistical data such as age, gender and level of education. This was to determine if there was a common thread amongst the haters, and to see if it differed at all from the fans. (I sent out a similar questionnaire to fans for the purposes of comparison)

From the haters I received 205 responses. 53 indicated that they had not read any of the books but rather gleaned their information from the internet. For this study I chose not to include their data. It is my personal feeling that one can more thoroughly dissect and criticize something if one is personally acquainted with it. I want those individuals to know that I do appreciate their taking the time to fill out the survey and that I felt it was important to know how many haters had never actually read the books.

The gender of the responders:

Female: 198
Male: 2
Femme: 1
CIS female: 2 (According to Urban Dictionary: A non-transgendered female.)
And one chose not to identify by gender.

The average age was in the 20-24 range with 15-19 being the runner up. The youngest was in the 10-14 range and the oldest was in the 50-54 range.

161 were college educated. One was in middle school. One was home schooled. And one received their GED.

I asked which books in the series they had read.

Twilight: 205
New Moon: 160
Eclipse: 136
Breaking Dawn: 111
Midnight Sun: 16

The reason I asked this is because a number of the fans who have had encounters with haters accuse them of having never read the books. One fan who responded to the fan questionnaire had this to say:

Those that say they hate it are narrow minded and mean, usually because they just don't understand it, haven't read it or are offended by a deep and abiding love like Bella and Edward's, often because they have never experienced any depth of emotion in their lives and are consequently miserable.

I asked both the haters and the fans how they had heard about Twilight, and the most common answers were either from the internet or from friends. A number of people said the book cover is what caught their eye, and several indicated that they were ‘forced’ to read them.

I asked if they considered themselves readers. I felt it was important to know if they had read other literary works to compare to Twilight.

185 said yes.
21 said no.
And 19 said only of fan fiction. (Fan fiction is fiction written by fans of things such as movies, films, books, etc., utilizing the characters from those works ‘for the love’ meaning without any compensation, and often published in online communities created for that purpose)

I asked if any of them were authors. The reason being that I have found authors are more critical when reading the works of others.

50 said no.
33 said they write fan fiction.
And 23 indicated they write fiction, non-fiction and poetry.

Now to get to the meat of it and what I considered the most important question; I asked them why they hate Twilight. The resounding and highest ranking answer was ‘poor’ writing. Spelling and grammar errors abound throughout the series, and as an author and editor myself, I was amazed that so many mistakes made it through the editing process. I can understand an author missing some stuff as that’s a fairly common occurrence even among seasoned authors, but once it hits the hands of the editors these errors should be caught.

The second highest ranking complaint about Twilight was Edward’s stalking behavior, which primarily took the form of him watching his human love interest Bella Swan sleeping. He did this for months without her knowledge. He spent a lot of time following her and watching her, unseen, from the woods. Their relationship was often described as abusive, with Edward being the abuser. Edward talks down to Bella a lot in the books.

Bella, it's not my fault if you are exceptionally unobservant.Twilight pg.81

Bella, you are utterly absurd.Twilight pg.82

The most damning evidence comes in the third book, Eclipse, when Edward takes apart Bella’s truck engine so that she cannot go see her friend Jacob, whom Edward believes to be dangerous.

The character of Bella was next on the list of most hated things about the books. Bella has been described as a ‘Mary Sue’ by critics, or a character who lacks any noteworthy flaws, and exists primarily as ‘wish-fulfillment’ for either the author and/or the readers. Bella’s only flaw seems to be that she is ‘clumsy’. She is immediately popular upon moving to Forks, Washington, the town where Twilight is set, and has no less than three suitors within her first few days of school. Midway through the series she ends up with not one, but two incredibly handsome, supernatural beings vying for her love.

Other reasons that listed highly were the imprinting and the sparkling vampires. Imprinting is the process by which a Quileute male (the Native American tribe that lives near Forks) falls in love with his soul mate the moment he lays eyes on her. The problem with this possibly romantic sounding concept is that it is not uncommon for the boys/men to imprint on an infant whom they thereby feel the need to protect until such time that the child comes of age so that they can pursue a more intimate relationship. This screams of real world child grooming in which an adult establishes a friendship and emotional connection with a child in order to prepare them for a sexual relationship with said adult.

In regards to the sparkling, something Meyer’s vampires do when exposed to sunlight instead of bursting into flames, the general consensus seemed to be that Stephenie Meyer in essence “castrated vampires”.

Real vampires DIE in the sunlight”, said one responder.

Despite all of the negative commentary, not all the haters were so critical of Stephenie’s merits as a writer. One had this to say when I asked if they believed Twilight had gotten people to read:

I totally agree. Stephanie Meyer isn't a bad writer, she's just uninspired. But she was also writing for a specific demographic, so her books are an easy read. They're entertaining and they do suck you in and weave an entertaining tale. You have to start someplace, right? Yeah, the Twilight series is no great American novel, but if a teenage girl picks them up and reads them and it encourages her to move on to other books, then I'm happy they exist.

Which brings me to a point that the haters seemed to be divided on; about half of them disagreed with the notion that Twilight gets people to read, while the other half were open to the concept that Twilight might broaden people’s reading horizons.

Earlier I mentioned that I also sent out a questionnaire to fans of the series. I did it to find out if any of the assumptions from either the fans or the haters actually had any merit. As already noted, most of the haters have read the books, contrary to what a lot of fans believe. But before I get into the specific comments, let’s review the numbers:

As with the hater questionnaire, I sent the fan questionnaire to various online communities and forums comprised of and run by fans of the series. I only received 32 responses. This baffled me. Did they not want to defend themselves? Did they feel they had nothing to say?

All of the responders were female and the majority of them were between the ages of 15-19. The youngest responders fell between 9-14, and the oldest fell between 55-59. Twenty-two of them had a college education. They had all read the entire series, with the exception of only 8 having read Midnight Sun. Midnight Sun is an unfinished novel written from the perspective of the vampire Edward Cullen. It was leaked onto the internet, and Stephenie Meyer posted it on her website with no promise from her to ever complete the work (despite many people saying it far surpasses the quality of the rest of the Twilight series).

Many of the haters claimed that the fans read nothing but Twilight. Because of this claim, I made it a point to ask the fans how many times they had read the books. One woman claimed to have read the series more than thirty times, and another more than twelve times. Half of the responders read the series at least twice, but from there the numbers jumped all over the place, (though mostly in single digits) depending on which book in the series they seemed to favor.

In regards to whether or not the series had inspired them to read anything else, the top answers were Twilight fan fiction, “The Vampire Diaries” series, and “The House of Night” series. They also mentioned Wuthering Heights, along with a few sentiments about seeking out vampire fiction in general. One woman even said that she sought out the classical music mentioned in the Twilight series.

I asked the fans the same question I asked the haters in regards to what, if anything, they disliked about the series. The top answer was the character of Bella Swan. A lot of them disliked her lack of independence and found her to be boring and/or selfish.

The character of Renesmee was the second top answer. And I should caution you that if you haven’t read the series yet, you are about to encounter a major spoiler.

Renesmee is the child of Edward and Bella, conceived on their honeymoon while Bella is still human. The science behind this is…iffy…at best, and it is commonly agreed that this plot twist was both a way for Stephenie to instill her family values into the series, and to also tie everything up in a neat package. Jacob, the shape-shifting lovesick wolf who has been pining after Bella throughout the series, suddenly imprints on Bella’s child solving the ‘problem’ of leaving a character even remotely unhappy by the end of the series.

The thing I hated in the book is the "imprinting" story. The thought of a grown man being obsessed with a child is not something I could wrap my head around. It reeked of pedophilia and the thought of Edward and Bella even letting him be around her made me sick. At least in the book Edward had the good sense to abhor the relationship as well.

Other reasons for disliking the books included a lack of character development or differing points of view and a general lament in regards to the lack of more mature material and themes.

I also asked both the haters and the fans if they found the books to be sexist at all. The haters felt that the fans did not find the books sexist. Out of the 205 hater responses 103 felt the books were sexist. Out of the 32 fan responses, only 3 found the series to be sexist.

Many of the haters felt the books are sexist because the men have dominant roles over the women in regards to careers and romantic relationships. For example, Charlie, Bella’s father, is the police chief of Forks while is ex-wife Renee, Bella’s mother, is described as being flighty and unable to hold a job. In addition, Bella never once shows any ambition for her own future other than wanting to spend eternity with Edward.

Another example is the imprinting issue. Did you notice earlier that I only mentioned the males of the tribe? That is because only the males can imprint. Though it is suggested that the females who are imprinted upon reciprocate this love, one has to wonder where the free will in that is.

One hater had this to say:

It seems like an entire generation just thought one day that maybe it IS good to just be a housewife and look for a man to take care of us! BULLSHIT!

However, the fans did have some counter-arguments to this.

There seems to be this concept out there that in this day and age being a wife and mother somehow makes you less of a woman.

Being a mother and having an education are not mutually exclusive of each other.

Getting back to the original focus of this article, many of the haters expressly told me that they did not hate Twilight fans, but rather hated the books.

I'm generally okay with fans of Twilight, except for people who purposefully go to sites that dislike Twilight to bash the people who don't like it.

Contrary to that statement I found many instances of members of the Twilight hate communities relaying stories of fights they got into by going to Twilight fan sites and starting arguments. One had this to say about a video on Youtube:

So I have legit proof now that only dumbass illiterate older women and their stupid daughters read Twilight So I'm on youtube and because I love getting into arguments with Twihards (because no matter what, antis are always right and there's just no way to justify Twishite)…

Another reveled in ruining a girl’s birthday cake with an image of Edward Cullen on it:

…with knife in hand and I ask "who wants cake?" Everybody cheers. I proceed to not cut up the cake…but to MURDER it. I give not a cut but a STAB at Edward's throat and cut out the first piece and give it to the father first (he deserved it). I'm about to start cutting from the neck up but some girls protested. I ignored it, the little brother laughed. Each cut is not like a surgeon but as if I were slaughtering Edward Cullen and I had fun though I didn't show it. I didn't laugh, I didn't even smile but deep down I was joyous.

Some members of the hate oriented sites had very harsh things to say about fans:

The fans are idiots. Absolutely delusional.

I hate Twilight fans because I hate stupid people.

I think they are brainless idiots.

I also discovered numerous videos on Youtube of people cutting up and burning their copies of Twilight, and posting similar images in communities dedicated to hating Twilight.

But, in defense of the haters, I will say this…there is no escape from Twilight. Many of the haters indicated how frustrating this is for them. Twilight is looming around every corner like some sort of commercial version of Edward Cullen watching your every move. I think that at this point the only way you could get away from it would be to live ‘off the grid’. If you watch television, go to the movies, browse the internet, make use of a library or bookstore, or read magazines, you WILL come across something Twilight related. It might be easy to say “just ignore it” but let’s face it, there’s really no way to do that.

In closing, I’m still not sure I understand the hate any better, at least not when it comes to hating the fans. Yes, some of the fans are extreme, but you can find extreme fans in almost any popular entertainment or even sporting culture. If I had to guess I would say that ultimately popularity is likely the culprit. Whenever something is insanely popular and has a huge, and vocal, fan base, it tends to inspire an equally vocal group of people that hate the fans. Earlier, I mentioned Star Trek as having suffered this fate. Things like Supernatural, Gossip Girl and the Jonas Brothers also receive a lot of hate towards their fans. Perhaps it is some sort of unconscious desire to be different from the norm or simply a defense mechanism in response to the feeling that something is being shoved down your throat.

In regards to the Twilight books, I technically got my answers; poor grammar and spelling, main characters with creepy habits and cardboard personalities and a message of inequality between the sexes. However, do those things warrant such volatile behavior and opinions of the fans? Is it right to judge someone’s worth as a human being based solely on whether or not they like something?

As I was working on this article I came across another article about this very subject. “I Didn’t Hate 'New Moon' And I Get Preachy About It” by Patrick Nottingham over at The Raven’s Barrow. While the piece is intended as a review of New Moon, it also spends a good amount of time addressing the hate towards Twilight.

This paragraph from his article sums things up nicely while doling out some sage advice:

In an age where humans seem to be confusing Facebook relationships with real intimacy and Internet anonymity has given us carte blanche at rudeness and a general lack of civility toward one another it would behoove us all to pause a moment and realize that art is something that evokes emotion and that art is also in the eye of the beholder. Why waste energy hating or making real people feel bad about what moves them?” –Patrick Nottingham

I agree wholeheartedly.

Powered by

About Jennifer Williams

  • AdrianaLillyan

    Really liked your article. I apologise in advance if my spelling is wrong, but I’m not from an english speaking country.I started reading Twilight when I was 13 years old, and today I’m 17. I still love the books, but not only because of the story that it tells, but because of the memories that it brings back to me. Twilight did not only introduce me to other books but to even more friends that I’m still freinds with today. Now about the twilight haters, I haven’t ever talked to any of them, and have no wish to do so either, but I would like to say that if they don’t like Twilight I respect that. Everyone has a right to express their opinion. what I don’t like is when they verbally attack the fans of the saga, or the actors of the movies. They have NO right to call any fan or any other person stupid, idiot, retarded, mentally ill etc etc. I don’t know how it is in the Usa or any other country (I mention Usa because that is where most of the fans/haters come from, at least from what I’ve read and heard, but I’m sure there are haters and fans everywhere in the world) but here in Sweden, if you harass someone on the internet or wherever you can get reported to the police and get a “ticket2/fine for what you have said or written. And I would also suggest that the extreme Twilight haters use their hate energy into something else, that is actually worth something, or at least something that is good for you, ypur friends or your community. Because honeslty, hating something so much is not good for you, you get all stressed and angry for nothing, because really, there is nothing you can do to “kill” Twilight, no matter how much you want to. So please follow my advice, and do something different adn good with all that energy you’re wasting on hating four books/movies and people that you don’t even know on the internet.

  • Dan Olwell

    My problem with the siries is two things mentioned in, sorry i can’t remember the page numbers, but two things that the author of this mentions…1.) “Twilight has catstrated vampires…real vampires don’t sparkle, they die when they go inot the sun.” This is True, and they ALSO HAVE FANGS. My second reason is what the author said about how you “can’t excape it, everywher you go its there, like an Edward Cullen waitning aroudn the corner for you and stalking you”. My only problem with the fans is that I don’t think they have read other vampire stories Like Bram Stoker’s Dracula, Anne Rice, or Stephen King. Or Payed attention to other popular vampire movies such as The Lost Boys, Blade, From Dusk Till Dawn, or 30 Days of Night. And that is where my majore pet peeve with Twilight is! I am a big fan of vampire fiction and the vampire myth; Vampires ae supposed to be undead, reanimate corpses, demonic, bloodsucking monsters! They are the embodiment of pure Evil. The most terrifying mytholigical creature in the Horror Genre. Yes, Vampires are supposed to be scary! They don’t sparkle in the sun, they have fangs, and they have no souls! And furthormore, I don’t think STEPHANIE MEYER has done any of this, explored vampire fiction and mythology I mean. A writer is supposed to do RESEARCH, and she flat out admits that she “doesn’t like to do research because she is lazy.”!!! Where the hell is she getting her vampire lore from? For godsakes I even heard that the woman has never even seen an R-rated movie and she’s what…40!!!!

    Twilight fans will criisise me for not reading the book…YEAH, THATS RIGHT I NEVER FUCKING READ IT, I saw the first movie just to see what allt the hype was about and I HATED that. And the statement that one girl made about “The Haters not being able to relate because you have never experienced a loving relationship like Edward’s and Bella’s love.” Well how the hell do you know that, you don’t know anything about our personal lives.

    Other common complaints by people are that Edward is a “wuss” or not ver “masculine”, well, i’m not homophobic so I’m not going to go there.

    The Twilight Haters have the right to voice there first ammendment right, freedom of speech, and if the Twilight fans don’t like the fact that WE don’t like they’re shitty little franchise….THAT’S just too bad!!!

    The good news is that I think that this whole Twilight craze has gotten so big that it will die down soon (just like the Lord of The Rings craze did a few days ago), and some other vampire story will come along and it will hopefully be quulity literature and about the vampires that we were familiar with before Twilight.

    • Fernando Garcia

      I didn’t know watching R-rated movies gave people some value… you really think that’s true?

    • Adam

      I don`t think there is anything wrong with Stephanie Meyer creating her own type of vampire. It`s her fantasy novel and she can do what she wants with it because it`s HERS. I honestly love the books, loved the movies, and the story was great. Yes i am a boy and I like the series, SUE ME!

  • Kitsune9Tails

    I can address a lot of this (from my own perspective, of course, but I think quite a few “haters” share this point of view).

    Let me start by thanking you for keeping your cool and trying to research this objectively. Although I have some statistical problems with your sampling (too few male responses, too small sample size, etc.) I feel you did your best and I applaud you for that. Now, on to my main concern with what Twilight does to people, many who are still in the middle of emotional and mental development.

    First, when you debate Twilight with a fan, if you indicate you do not like the books, you are likely to get (often misspelled or ungrammatical) responses of “You’re just jealous”, “You’ve never really been in love, then”, “You’re stupid”, “You can’t possibly understand because of XYZ” (where XYZ is often some personal trait the commenter couldn’t possibly know about the other). This was even present in your examples from your survey. I have heard of friendships being broken and people being ridiculed and bullied if they don’t like Twilight.

    I can speak from experience, this did not happen with Star Trek (except maybe as statistical outliers), yet these stories are ubiquitous with Twilight. Something about being a fan of this series lends itself to a blind, emotional lashing out at any who do not share the same views about what-amounts-to a fictional pop-romance for teens.

    Also, many of the “haters” are concerned about young teens, impressionable and insecure, reading these books and establishing some idea that the relationship between Edward and Bella (which is easy to show as psychologically abusive) is healthy and a model for teenage girls. There is also some concern at the portrayal of Bella, who is suicidal, depressed, gloomy, disrespectful and distrusting of her parents, stuck on one boy as a boyfriend even after being dumped, etc., as a positive, strong role model for young girls. Fortunately, your survey may suggest that many fans reject Bella as a strong role model.

    Another point I’m concerned about: the fact that reading the series provokes such emotional reaction to “haters” as it does smacks of withdrawal from an addictive drug. Addiction is never healthy and is qualified as a psychological ailment.

    And I think your research has shown: reading Twilight does NOT make young girls go on and read anything except Twilight. Actually, your research also seems to show that people who are fans of Twilight often have never read any true literature, which I think shows the opposite effect: Twilight dumbs down its readers to the point where they cannot enjoy true literature any more.

    The bad writing and poor storytelling qualities (and lack of characterization, laughable “science”, incomprehensible and often non-existent plot, faulty research, etc.) are frustrating to be sure, but a lot of pop schlock gets published in the writing world (Dan Brown, Eragon, etc.). That’s just a fact. But, such a poorly written book with such power to a) corrupt our youth’s understanding of storytelling, grammar, science, and logic, b) teach young girls that an abusive relationship is truly the model to strive for, and c) provoke such fits of anger and emotional reaction when presented with an opposing argument, it becomes a problem. And that is what I think the haters fear more than teenage girls being “emotionally moved” from some random trash romance novel.

    • Teresa

      Nice review. I totally agree in the last part: suppermassive brainwash of teenagers (or people with the maturity of a teenager).

  • SingleDreamer

    Well, first and foremost, I DO NOT like Twilight. I’m no die-hard hater either, it’s just a fictional piece that I don’t like. That’s all there is to it. I find that Edward is creepy, the books are confusing and it all passes by in a monotone. I can tell why it’s so popular- the first time you read it, the story sucks you in. But after that, it just gets boring. But I will respect it— it’s a good work of writing, technically, there are no faults. In the end, it is much the matter of personal opinion.

    (Although the movies are just disappointing. Come on— starting off in a monotone? A car drive? This is the 21st century people! About vampires! Make the beginning more interesting before I get bored to tears!)

    It’s nice that the author of this article spoke in a very neutral way. He spoke the facts very straightforwardly, not very much in personal opinion, which should usually be left in the commentaries. The topic itself is a very tricky matter— I’ve rarely seen such a fervor amongst literature or movies or music.

    More on the commentaries… I always find that after reading anything, the feedback gives an interesting insight. Someone said that Stephanie Meyer wrote Twilight for herself— that explains a lot actually. The feeling that I get from her works are very inverted— like this is the personal project written in a journal. Not something meant to be published. (Then again, my inferences always were screwed up.)

    There is so much more to say on this and it’s so hard to get it all out with words only. I guess I’ll end here. It’s been a while since I’ve come back to Twilight.

  • reader1000

    I found your article today and like that you have both points of view. You seem to have taken your time and done a good job looking at both sides of the love/hate that is Twilight. I fall into the ‘hate’ side of things, and you hit most of the points for my and many others hate of the books/movies. I wanted to share with you a few links, just in case you haven’t seen them.

    The bad messages in Twilight are influencing girls

    stoney321 livejournal, it breaks down the series very well, though it is a bit sarcastic. Funny and informative with links to back up its claims

    Bella + Edward = Abuse

  • I think people hate it because they don’t agree with the values it publicized but they can’t stand the fact that many people agreed & loved the book plus the movie.

  • Maddy

    While the writing was subpar and Breaking Dawn was horrible, I really did like the idea established in the first book. I find many of the reasons people have for hating it hilarious. Real vampires die in the sun? Really? Last time I checked, vampires weren’t real, unless there’s something you’re not telling us. That is one of the weakest points of the books to attack. As for the books being sexiwst…Sure, Bella might be a useless human, but she holds all the power, in case you didn’t notice. Who else does nothing but nag and gets her way? And people with problems with Edward’s behavior probably shouldn’t even read fantasy/supernatural novels. They obviously just want to read some tame love story about a “normal” human guy courting a lovely girl. Haven’t they read the tons of books out there? Appearing in dreams, telepatic bonds…
    I can understand not liking the book, but society these days thrives on haters. People spend all their energy spreading their hatred instead of actually doing productive. I don’t see how ruining someone’s day or destroying their cake makes them such a better person. At all. If you hate it that much, why spend so much time on it? There are starving children in this world.

  • Kim

    Awesome post! I love how haters hate stuff enough to know all about it so they can hate it harder. If Twilight’s such a nuisance to read, why not just put the book down?

    I am a ficster, and believe me, when a fic I am reading jumps the shark, I just stop reading it and never mention it again.

    Sure, I hate on Twilight. Let’s face it–it has major problems. But I admit that I’m a fan, not a hater. After all, if I weren’t a fan, what was I doing reading all 4 books? Just because I love to hate Renesmee, the lame honeymoon scene, and the most ridiculous line known to literature (in BD when Edward says “I love you Jacob, my brother, my son…”) doesn’t make me less of a fan. Srsly, do I need to choose?

  • Emm

    This is a brilliant article! You are right n that somehow the Twilight franchise appeals to people’s emotions and often haters react to it on an emotional level, feeling betrayed or disappointed. You have really made an effort to be fair to all sides with this article. Nice one.

  • What Jacky said. Our society does not need yet another element of the mass media telling girls that being ill-used by a male is OK as long as he TRULY LUVs them and they don’t have Teh Sex before they sign that legal contract.

  • Erin Wright

    There are a couple of factual errors in this article that really bother me, as a non-mindless Twilight fan.

    First, Renee is a kindergarten teacher, not “flighty and unable to hold down a job”. She was obviously quite able to manage supporting Bella and herself as a single mother for 15+ years, without any man in her life until her second husband, regardless of her personality.

    Second, nearly everything you’ve said about imprinting is demonstrably false. “Quileute males” do not imprint. The Quileute tribe is real, and composed of real people. Imprinting is part of the werewolf fiction, in which *some* (fictional!) Quileute families carry a shape-shifter gene that allows some tribe members, traditionally male, to shape-shift into giant wolves. *Some* but not all werewolves may imprint on someone, and a non-werewolf Quileute *cannot* imprint on anyone. In the second half of the series, a *female* werewolf is revealed. By the end of the fourth book she has not imprinted on anyone, but she is far more likely to than a non-werewolf Quileute. If you accurately report the story, the idea that imprinting is sexist is clearly turned on its head and proven false.

    As to the idea that Twilight is inescapable, I’d like to tell the “haters” to grow up. I hate reality TV with a passion, easily as much as anyone out there hates Twilight. I hate all the talent shows, I hate the dating shows focusing on the lives of dysfunctional people, and I think The Hills and its various spin offs have done irreparable damage to our culture. I can’t go through the grocery store check out line without being bombarded with images of Heidi Whats-her-plastic-surgery-face or the vapid Kardashians. I think people who watch reality TV are far more idiotic and pathetic than Twilight fans — who have actually picked up a book and read something, and in many cases have now tried their hand at writing as well, rather than rotting away in front of scripted “reality” melodrama.

    But I don’t feel the need to start webpages about how much I hate reality TV, or get into arguments with people who like it, or wear tshirts proclaiming how stupid it is. I hate it, but I try not to let it bother me, because it’s really, truly not worth my time. I have plenty of things I enjoy, including but not limited to Twilight, and focusing on the things that I enjoy rather than on the things that I hate makes me happier — and, dare I say it, a better person than the “haters”.

  • Claire Faren Price

    The book was never really that outstanding. Hence the many haters. But let us not discount also many who love it because of the film. The movie ofcourse highlighted all the nice parts of the love story. The love triangle plus awesome hollywood special effects attracted also many diehard fans.

  • Sara

    My main problem with Twilight is that I’m afraid Twilight fans will read–but that they’ll never seek out anything of better quality.

    I’ve read the first few books, and they’re… fine. Nothing outstanding, but pleasantly light and fluffy when your brain is overloaded. The thing is, fluffy reading is fine, but it’s like cotton candy. A steady diet is bad for you. What really worries me is that Twilight fans don’t seem to be branching out, according to your survey. There’s enough mediocre modern fantasy/horror to keep them going pretty much forever, but WHAT you read matters just as much as reading itself. Art may be in the eye of the beholder, but at a certain point quality is not.

    Moreover, there is nothing challenging in Twilight. It doesn’t make you think or question, and truly great writing does, even when you don’t particularly like it.

    That’s what makes me crazy about Twilight. It has become Serious Business, and it’s not. It’s fluff, a cozy little self-insert story where people can experience something safely that they (hopefully) would never entertain in real life. But it’s not great literature. It’s not actually literature at all.

  • very nice article.

    question, though – and i ask as one of the “haters” [not hate. but dislike] – i know i filled out the LJ response; can you link to those forms and comment pages where people answered, for raw data? at least of those who didn’t answer anonymous? that would be equally facinating!
    [yes, i am aware that my spelling sucks at 4:30 am and i should use a spellchecker 🙂 ]

  • Thank you for doing all this work! I have to admit I’m a hater because of the first movie and the descriptions I’ve read. I’m planning to let the library furnish me with the books, simply because I cannot bash without knowing.
    I find the lack of self sufficiency in the main character to be rather upsetting, as well as the idea of imprinting and therefor closing yourself to all other people.

  • Elizabeth

    I think the vehemence is a result of the generally held belief that capitalist entertainment is a sort of democracy. The theory runs something like this: Offend enough vocal constituents, and those responsible will be forced to listen or else lose power. That is, we who dislike Twilight are trying to tell the publishers that this is NOT what we want, and they will NOT make money by producing more things like it.

    Unfortunately, there is also the corollary to this theory- since Twilight and its ilk seem to please the majority, and the majority rules in a democratic system, entertainment related to it will probably continue. Hence, the “haters” get louder still to create the illusion that there are more of us, but it doesn’t work- the only “votes” that count in the democracy of capitalist entertainment are dollars spent, and “Twihards” will shell out plenty of money for the latest merchandise with Edward’s likeness thereon.

    Then we get to the next logical leap- trying to convince people to NOT buy those things and support quality entertainment instead. Again, sound in theory, but since a democratic system crumbles in the absence of free will, we cannot FORCE anyone to avoid Twilight, the monetary votes keep piling up, and it all becomes futile.

    Therefore, the final stage of “Twihate” is simply a grim realization that it will only go away when people stop paying attention to it, and ranting will only sustain its momentum, and a sense of resignation settles in around you as you retreat to the shadows, batten down the hatches, and wait for the media blitz to blow over.

  • Jacky

    Oh, and I have to add that the fact that way Edward stalks Bella REALLY pisses me off because I’ve HAD a stalker in real life and the fact that its being made to look romantic is insulting. IT’S NOT. It’s terrifying.

  • Jacky

    While I agree that the popularity adds to my “hatred” I have to say that my real dislike for the series stems from the message its sending to young girls.

    I first read it because I heard about it online. People on my LJ friendlist were gushing over it, and I was curious. So I started in and was not impressed; I abhor weak female characters. I had to stop reading New Moon part way through because it was so irritating how weak/useless/stupid Bella is.

    But beyond that, I dismissed it. I saw it as silly escapism, fantasy and nothing more. I had my own guilty pleasure books and they weren’t something I drew my morals or values from.

    …Until my younger female cousins (9-15) got in on it, and started accepting the messages within like they were good ideas. That Edward was the ideal man, that they wanted to be Bella and that their love was perfect.

    THAT’S what set me off, and got me to become a more outspoken “hater”. No one I cared about would be lead to believe that this SEXIST and ABUSIVE relationship is something to aspire for.

    So I sat my cousins down and we had a heart-to-heart about it; why the behavior in the books aren’t something you should aspire for in your life. And then I loaned them BETTER books.

    Maybe it has inspired discussion between us and that’s a HEALTHY thing. But unless parents and teachers stop parading this around as the BEST EXAMPLE EVAR FOR GIRLS just because they don’t BONE, and not actually read it and talk about it with their daughters (and sons) then I really feel that this message will in some way damage a whole generation of impressionable girls.

    The one positive that Meyer’s has in the books is that Bella mentions this phantom interest in the classics, name-dropping them to seem more intelligent. I can now use that to inspire the girls to read GOOD literature. I can only hope that my cousins garner a better influence from these books than Bella ever did.

    • Teresa

      Talking to your cousins was the best present you could’ve given them. Well done!

  • I do want to correct you; I’m fairly sure that Edward only watched Bella for a few weeks, not a few months.

    Anyway. Some of the haters are unnecessarily rude, that’s for sure, but it seems to me like a lot of the fans of Twilight are… insane. You get extreme fans, yes, but then you get fans who literally attack people because they dislike Twilight (or even simply don’t think it’s the BEST THING EVAR). A lot of people don’t like having Twilight shoved in their faces, but some of the fans insist on it.

    I don’t really understand the insane amount of hate OR fandom; I see the series as fun diversion, or as someone I know once said, “literary junk food”. It’s not necessarily “good” by any means, but it’s not absolutely terrible.

  • Leah

    Very well written article. I do have to say that I’ve only read the first few pages of Twilight before I became irritated with Bella’s constant whining about all the relatively good things happening to her life.

    I do have to say that even though I didn’t like the first book, that hater stabbing that poor girl’s cake was going too far. It’s one thing when you sit down with somebody and have a pleasant debate over why you like or dislike something, but it’s an entirely different subject when you intentionally destroy somebody’s property so you can make them sad.

  • Roxana

    Very well done article, I wasn’t aware you had asked the fans to fill out the questionnare as well, and I appreciate that very much. Of course this means I have to comment on some things:
    “Those that say they hate it are narrow minded and mean, usually because they just don’t understand it, haven’t read it or are offended by a deep and abiding love like Bella and Edward’s, often because they have never experienced any depth of emotion in their lives and are consequently miserable.”

    Their so-called love and my relationship with my husband is actually the main reason I began to dislike the series. Simply put, I looked at how well my husband and I treated each other, with respect and with devotion, and then I looked at how Bella and Edward treated each other, and I was disgusted with the way Meyer made it seem as though they were the ultimate lovers.

    Another fan says, “But she was also writing for a specific demographic, so her books are an easy read.” and I feel the need to point over to Meyer’s own blog. She says she never wrote for anyone but herself, not to a target audience or anything like that. It really just comes down to this being the outcome of her personal fantasy and her belief that it was good enough to get published.

    Also, one thing I’d like to note is that the more serious Antis (or haters, what have you) don’t like to troll around the fansites to attack fans. You get bashed for that if you go onto an Anti site gloating over having been unnecessarily rude to a fan. Those Antis aren’t really the kind most like to associate with, myself included.

    As far as the last paragraphs go, you could very well say I hate the series because of it’s popularity, but I’m really not here to just be a hater of something big. I’m a huge fan of the Harry Potter series, for example, and that’s bigger than Twilight. What I specifically hate is that something I think glorifies abuse and sexism is popular, and it’s disheartening, at the very least, to see that so many girls are enamored with something that sends out such horrible messages. I don’t think it’s wrong to hate on something just because other people love it. If someone loved a book that taught you how to brutally murder innocent people, would it then be wrong of me to hate it simply because they love it? No, of course not, and while Twilight doesn’t get as extreme as that, I still think it’s highly damaging so I’ll continue to hate it regardless of how many love it.

  • My problem with Twilight, outside of the writing and editing, is the fact that I cannot escape it. My friends are all obsessed and so is my eldest daughter. I found them to be diverting enough, but the sometimes religious like fervor of fans scares me. Then my friends remind me of the month long ” Save Chuck” campaign I was involved in during the spring, and I remember- we all have our obsessions.
    My take is this- Twilight is old fashioned and flaky. There are worse things in the world. To under estimate the impact of it’s themes might cause long term damage to a generation of girls. To over estimate the impact of the books might cause long term damage to us now. But until I see a rash of girls named Reneesme, I’m not going to categorize this as fanaticism on par with Goethe’s Young Werther. It’s a phase.
    Thankfully, my daughter has the wisdom to realize that the books are poorly written and movies are even worse, and that Harry Potter is infinitely better literature.

  • Kara

    Fantastic! Thank you for delving into this, as I don’t fit into the general demographic of this series. I’m 34, female, in grad school to become a teacher, a rabid reader of all genres and mediums, divorced, single and definitely NOT a “Twi-hard” my any means. I’m a fairly critical and highly analytical person and can critique anything to death, but when it comes to the Twilight saga I simply enjoyed them (for the most part-I HATE Jacob. Worst character in the book). I don’t understand the vitriol of the haters, I really don’t. IF it’s because they simply like knocking something off its pedestal, which is an ugly human trait not isolated to Twilight, than that’s their problem. I’m not going to let someone tell me I’m simple-minded or an idiot because I love these stories, grammatical errors and all. If I want to read something challenging and intellectually stimulating I’ll re-read my bio-psychology text books. The last paragraph says it all.