Is Twilight really a work of fiction - or a voyeuristic fantasy?
by Rachel Phipps, editor of Lipstick Royalty Magazine
It's easy to hit back at the idea that the Twilight books are misogynist. Now online communities are taken by storm that it's Stephenie Meyers' very own carnal fantasy... And it's not what's being said, but who's said it...
When I read my friend Amy's Twilight article on Mookychick last month, where she hit back at the idea that the Twilight books by Stephenie Meyer were misogynist, I was one hundred percent behind her: In my eyes, the idea that the story of Bella an Edward was a piece of "propaganda against pre-marital coitus written by a mormon who believes women were born to serve, to do as they were told, and to completely give in to their boyfriends" was completely ludicrous.
Another idea about how one could read the Twilight books has now taken the online communities by storm, not because of what was said... But because of who said it. In an interview with E! Online Robert Pattinson (who plays the vampire Edward Cullen in the Twilight film) speaks out about his take on the saga after reading the books.
"When I was reading them I didn't know how to read it from a teenage girl - or really any kind of woman's - perspective, I guess. I don't know why they like it. What I thought was weird about it was when I read it, it seemed like... I was convinced that Stephenie was convinced that she was Bella, and that it was like a book that wasn't supposed to be published.
And you're reading, like, her sort of carnal fantasy... Especially when she says it was based on a dream and it's like 'Oh, I've met this...vI've this dream about this sexy guy!' and she just writes this book about it. And some things about Edward are so specific, I was just convinced... 'This woman is mad. She's completely mad and she's in love with her own fictional creation...' And sometimes you feel uncomfortable reading this...
And I think a lot of people feel the same way... It's kind of voyeuristic and it creates this kind of sick pleasure."
I'm a die-hard Twilighter myself, but when I had finished reading the article I couldn't help it but stop and think... And agree with him.
It's really easy to argue the point that Stephenie Meyer sees herself as Bella. On her website, Stephenie Meyer describes what Bella really looks like: "very fair-skinned, with long, straight, dark brown hair and chocolate brown eyes. Her face is heart-shaped - a wide forehead with a widow's peak, large, wide-spaced eyes, prominent cheekbones, and then a thin nose and a narrow jaw with a pointed chin. Her lips are a little out of proportion, a bit too full for her jaw line." Isn't that just a description of a younger Stephenie?
Something Robert touches on in his interview is how Stephenie Meyer came to write the saga in the first place. According to Meyer's website, she had a dream about a boy and a girl (Edward and Bella) laying in a meadow talking about how they were falling in love and how they would find it hard to be together due to his overwhelming urge to drink her blood.
She based the whole series on this dream as she couldn't bear to leave the story untold. Also, according to what she herself has written on her website... "the vampire was just so darned good-looking, that I didn't want to lose the mental image." Aren't dreams about incredibly hot guys (and in the books Edward is supposed to be one of the most gorgeous boys alive) normally considered sexual fantasies? So isn't Edward Cullen Stephenie Meyers' fantasy?
I think Pattinson is right. Thousands of girls who have read the books dream about Edward when they have their own fantasies about the perfect guy. They are therefore living out Meyers' fantasy, since by reading Bella's innermost thoughts about Edward you're reading Meyers' thoughts about him?
Extremely voyeuristic, non?
As for Robert Pattinson calling Stephenie 'mad', what writer isn't? But Twilight is an unusual case where someone plays out their own private fantasies on paper for the world's teens to read.
At the very bottom of the FAQs on Meyer's website she has posted her favourite question from a fan, which she states that she has only been asked once.
"Is Twilight autobiographical?"
"No. Twilight is a work of fiction."
Of course, a world where glittery vampires roam among us is completely fictional; but how fictional is it to its creator?