The Internet Has Given ‘Twilight’ New Life & It's Honestly Pretty Great
So... Twilight is back. It's 2018 and Twilight is back. Remember Twilight? That book series, with the vampires and the werewolves? The wildly popular franchise that most fans gave up for dead after years of constant mockery, shame, and intense, public derision? Well somehow, like one of Stephanie Meyer's own beautiful Mormon vampires, Twilight has risen from the dead and returned to Tumblr by way of a fresh, new wave of memes. It has been dubbed the "Twilight Renaissance." And it is beautiful.
Now, before I get too far into this brave new world of Twi-hard acceptance, let's be clear: There are still plenty of problems with Twilight. It glorifies unhealthy relationships, horribly misrepresents the Quileute people, and suggests that Renesmee is a reasonable name for a small child. But in 2018, many readers are willing to salvage the scraps of good from the tonally confused trash-fire that was Twilight. Readers are also ready to finally, finally admit just how much of the Twilight hate was less about the actual problems with the book, and more about misogyny.
So where you were a fanpire or a hater back in the day, here are some of the weird and beautiful moments from the current resurgence of Twilight love:
1. Everyone simultaneously realizing that 'Twilight' hate was pretty sexist
Look, there are plenty of legitimate reasons to criticize Twilight. Like so much of media, it romanticizes obsessive and controlling relationships and completely disrespects Native beliefs. If I remember correctly, however, most of the criticism back in the 2000's was less about Twilight as a vehicle for the white hetero-patriarchy, and more along the lines of "girls who like vampires are so stupid LOL." Many fans went from enjoying the series as 12 and 13 year old girls to viciously mocking it because they didn't want to seem vapid or (god forbid) girly. But now, Twilight fans are finally old enough and secure enough to point out that all that Twilight shame was gross and sexist and genuinely damaging.
2. Fans rewriting the story so every single character in 'Twilight' is queer
I feel like Kirsten Stewart definitely helped with this one. Either way... I guess all the characters in Twilight are queer now? That seems to be Tumblr's consensus. Some fans have pointed out various moments in the books where Bella is pretty clearly attracted to women, whereas others have just decided to reinterpret the series as a life-affirming tale of women-loving-women/men-loving-men solidarity. Is that what Stephenie Meyer wanted? Almost certainly not. But, as J.K. Rowling has learned the hard way, stories belong to the readers and readers are very good at finding the beauty and meaning behind all the baseball-playing vampire nonsense.
3. “The wasting of finite resources is everyone’s business”
Readers and writers have spent so long focusing on Edward as a bad boyfriend and terrible role model that they've almost forgotten what a sexy, pretentious, environmentally conscious softboy he is. Like in the scene where he tries to convince Bella to carpool with him. She claims that her truck's gas mileage is none of his business, but as Edward reminds her, “The wasting of finite resources is everyone’s business.”
4. Bella's khaki skirt
5. People trying to comprehend the vampire rules in Stephenie Meyer’s universe
Look, I get that Stephenie wanted to do her own thing with the classic vampire rules. That's fine. Folklore isn't set down in stone. The sparkling stuff is all totally sexy and fine. I'm just... still struggling to figure out some of the particular laws of her universe. Like... how exactly did Bella get pregnant if Edward's been dead for a hundred years? Or like... what on Earth is happening with werewolf imprinting and Nessie aging so fast and all those X-Man vampires with cool powers who only appear briefly in the books? I mean, don't get me wrong, I'm into it. There's just a lot happening.
6. Everyone imagining poor Renesmee growing up
This poor kid. The internet (by which I mean Tumblr) is very concerned about whether or not she'll get a real childhood before becoming Jacob's mega-hot adult child bride. And if she does go to normal school, is she going to get teased for her name? Is she going to attend high school with her eternally teenaged parents? We're rooting for you, Nessie.
7. The 'Harry Potter'/'Twilight' fan solidarity
Two very different fandoms for two very different books. And yet, Potterheads and Twi-Hards are coming together in these dark times, to provide nuanced critiques of the source material they love and then add a bunch of head-canons that the original authors would hate. I mean, sometimes loving a story is all about tearing it down and then rebuilding it from the ashes, but with better representation.
8. The withering critiques of how the Cullens treated Jacob and co.
Look, I'm no member of team Jacob. He lost me the moment he kissed Bella against her will and then mocked her attempt to defend herself (and then she breaks her hand punching him and her dad thinks it's fine and it's NOT FINE). HOWEVER. Along with all the Twi-love, people are pointing out how deeply uncool it is that the hot, rich, white vampires spend a significant amount of time hating on the Native werewolves for being animalistic. Um. Yikes?
9. The fact that Edward is into snails now?
10. Everyone realizing that Rosalie deserved better
Alice was everyone's favorite vampire sibling back in the day (no one knows anything about Emmett or Jasper and no one ever will). But in this new age of Twilight art, people are starting to realize that Rosalie was incredibly undervalued and underwritten. A reluctant vampire who knows she's hot and murdered the men who assaulted her and tortured her ex-fiance to death while wearing a wedding dress? What's not to like?
11. The potential for retelling the story from a new perspective
Meyer did deliver an official gender-swapped version of Twilight, but fans are still coming up with new ways to tell and retell Bella and Edward's story. What if it was a true crime drama? (I mean, the Cullens are basically a cult that abducts a teenage girl.) What if Bella and Edward were just platonic friends who solved crime? What if Leah and Rosalie ended up together, as God intended? Once you remove the shame and add a healthy dose of memes and snails, Twilight becomes a beautiful opportunity for weird storytelling (and remembering that part of ourselves that loved it wholeheartedly in the first place).