About the Blog
This blog is devoted to explorations of the seductive allure of the Twilight saga.
Among the specific question this blog will address are:
Why are vampires so compelling at this particular historical juncture?
- Why is the romance narrative at the series core so compelling for readers?
- What does the particular representation of romance (as all consuming, as dangerous, as supernatural) say about our cultural notions of love, romance, sexuality and desire, particularly in relation to our abstinence only culture?
- What messages do the textual representation of gender, race, class, sexuality and belief send to readers? How are these messages a reflection of cultural trends and ideologies?
- What characterizes the Twilight fandom?
- How can we account for the popularity of the series across generations, genders, and belief systems?
- What insights can be gleaned from the massive (and massively successful) commodification of the series?
- How does this ‘franchising of Twilight’ link to contemporary consumer culture and, in particular, to framing girls, teens, as tweens as ‘key markets’?
The cultural phenomenon surrounding Stephenie Meyer’s Twilight saga now boasts thousands of websites, blogs, vlogs, and products as well as a growing cadre of devoted fans of all ages.
It has spawned such a huge following, I believe, because it taps into our cultural love affair with romance, our attraction to the unknown, our desire to connect with other humans, our fascination with the supernatural and the metaphysical, and our fondness for narrative suspense. It also taps into deeply political and ideological trends and norms to do with femininity and masculinity, love and romance, parenting and partnership, friendship and betrayal.
The series draws us in not only because it relies so heavily on archetypal character types, suspense, and age-old explorations of the human condition, but also because it reflects and grapples with various cultural shifts. Twilight, coming out during an era of extreme cultural anxiety, speaks to our fears of the unknown and uncontrollable while simultaneously allowing an escape into a world that is very different, yet in many ways, also very much the same as the one in which we live. Coming out of the age of abstinence only culture, the rise of girl culture, consumer capitalism on overdrive, and the explosion of internet culture, Twilight is both a product of and a reaction to these trends.
As many of these shifts impede human contact and physical interaction, as we spend more time at keyboards, on Facebook, and on ebay, as we are encouraged to avoid physical contact via purity balls, abstinence only education, and pandemic fear-mongering, as we are encouraged to shop our way out of both “terrorist attacks” and economic downturns, as we chatter into cell phones, text, and twitter, we are profoundly distanced from human to human physical contact. One of the reasons we are thus so seduced by the saga is that the series speaks to our desire for contact, both in the contact it depicts between the characters and in the contact it promotes within fandom communities.