Beware: Females Like This!
I saw some of the bloggers from The Twilight Lexicon speak at Summer School in Forks and San Diego’s Comic-Con. Although our analysis of the series differs, I appreciate their very thorough coverage of all things Twilight. Today, I came across their recent post “Enough With the Twilight Bashing Already!” that posed this intriguing food for thought:
“Obviously Twilight does not appeal to everyone, but do we see the same type of critique applied to mostly male driven items? Are conventioners in Star Trek, Star Wars, Lord of the Rings, or other events constantly questioned as to how they choose to spend their money?”
Being as the Star Trek convention was held in Vegas earlier this month, this got me thinking: I have never heard the kind of fan-bashing that goes along with the Twilight series levelelled at Trekkies.
I readily admit that I am a critical reader of the series and not a ‘Twi-hard’ (that term itself speaks to the derogatory way fans are framed), yet, I see no parallel vitriol directed at other fandoms. Many are associated with nerdiness, to be sure, but they are not ridiculed and maligned to the same extent as the supposedly tasteless, naïve, empty-headed, abstinent-but-phallic-worshiping Twilight fans… Could it be that the ire towards Twilighters is fueled by their majority XX population? Hmmm, methinks it could.
One need only think of the popular designations “Chick flick” (meaning only ‘girls’ will like it, it’ll be ‘soppy’ and ‘boring’) or “Chick lit” (meaning not real Literature, only interesting to those ‘emotional’ and ‘silly’ XX people). Or, one can consider how girls and female teens are so often depicted in films, television shows, and other media as mindless, screaming hyenas who will do ANYTHING to get near a celebrity or to get their hands on a coveted consumer item. In popular culture, ‘screaming’ is only associated with females – guys don’t scream, they shout, or cheer, or holler. The words themselves bespeak of the misogyny that still pollutes our society. Yes, female voices are usually higher, but why is higher worse? I have been screamed/yelled at by both those of the XX and XY persuasion, and neither sound is all that pleasant.
As for the abhorrence directed at Twilight fans, it seems to me to echo similar aversion to readers of romance, to stuffed-animal collectors, to Hello Kitty afficianodos, to Jonus Brother followers. You see, when a female likes something, there must be something WRONG with it – after all, as Aristotle pointed out so long ago, we are the defective sex. (Oh the irony – the Y chromosome is actually the one that has lost its leg…)
As a female who is no less defective than any other human, I applaud Twilight Lexicon’s call for a moratorium on Twilight fan-bashing – not that this means we can’t be critical of the series or the fandom, but that bashing is not conducive to any sort of useful analysis. As Amanda Bell puts it so well in the post The Lexicon links to,
Twilight fans are not stupid. They are not a definite sub-class or counterculture. They are a diverse group of people, including highly intellectual men and women, who prefer the series for one reason or another – albeit at times, yes, the beauty of the actors and actresses is a part of it. They don’t need to be tormented by the vicious tongues of writers who disagree with their opinions, and they certainly do not need to be categorized as infantile, insatiable, and unreasonable.
I learned a great deal at Summer School in Forks, Comic-Con, and Twi-Con about this diverse group of people – and one thing they are not is uniform. They may have more XX chromosomes among them, but this is no reason to slap a “BEWARE” label upon them.