The first time I saw it was at an all-media screening full of women and the lucky teenage girls who knew them – daughters, nieces, friends' daughters, you get the idea.
(Pet peeve: They took away every. Single. Person's. Cellphone. And made us check them like coats at the most insanely tween club ever. I wanted to die. I understand the need to stop rude movie-goers from texting or Twittering during a movie, especially teen girls typing, "OMG RPattz sparkles!" But still, it only encourages me to hide my iPhone in an orifice next time I go to an all-media. Hopefully, it won't come down to full body searches, though.)
And even though a few girls did scream when Robert Pattinson's name came onscreen, and when he appeared onscreen, and when he took his shirt off onscreen, there was some giggling too. They knew it was silly, but the overwhelming crushed-out feeling took over – you know it from when you plastered posters on your wall, and yes, for the most part, those people were just as silly. (Except me, 'cause I had a Death poster from the Sandman comics. That's just how I rolled.)
It was like I could hear – no, feel – them blossoming into womanhood when he appeared onscreen. Creepy.
After dinner, a fellow feminist journalist and I discussed the movie – she "liked it because it appealed to the teen girl desire to just make out endlessly, that so few movies etc ever consider." I hated it because I thought it was stupid and boring, the acting was terrible, and the dialogue worse. I couldn't get through the first novel because the writing was so terrible it almost didn't make sense, and I'm pretty sure I wrote tween stroke material better when I was, well, a tween. And I found many aspects of the plot problematic, from the religious undertones, to the equation of sex and death, and how Edward basically stalks her.
But recently I watched it a second time as a favor, and as I mentioned above, I kind of liked it. I can't pinpoint why – it's still worthy of a cruel dissection by Laura Mulvey, and you could create an entire semester's worth of discussions and lectures and term papers around it for a feminist theory class – but there it was. Part of me got it. The twelve-year-old in me squeaked past the 32-year-old who cynically wondered what shade of lipstick Rpattz was wearing and why they didn't blend his foundation at the jawline, and I felt just a bit giggly and crushed-out like I was in seventh grade again.
So for different reasons, I agree with Erik's and Jessica's respective takes on Twilight fandom. Do I wish that girls were more obsessed with Weetzie Bat than Bella? Of course. Do I understand obsessive fandom? Hell, yes! So while I might not be apologizing for Twi-hards any time soon, I get it. That's why you see grown women reading Stephenie Meyer and Sookie Stackhouse and bodice-rippers on the subway. Because dumb crushes and escaping reality feel good sometimes. And hey, at least they're reading, right?
As an aside, aren't many romantic gestures in the movies stalkerish? I mean, I've seen an actual tattoo of Lloyd Dobbler holding up the boombox in Say Anything, but if that happened in real life, wouldn't any sane person be alarmed?
So, as per Monika's recent post, I gave Twilight a second chance for a variety of reasons, and surprised myself with a slightly different reaction than before.