Monday, March 2, 2009

a few thoughts on Twilight, and also princesses

There is a store in the mall where I work that sells a bunch of Twilight-themed shirts that say things like "Sorry, I only date vampires" and "Forget princess, I want to be a vampire." Every time I walk by I have a sort of crisis of feminist conscience. As a librarian, I'm not really allowed to be a snob about popular fiction, but on my own personal blog I am allowed to say things like, "Twilight is almost insultingly insipid" and hopefully there won't be any repercussions. It makes me so sad that the book that has apparently captured the heart and heaving bosoms of a nation has such a weak-minded, vapid, empty-vessel heroine at its centre. And yet! There is nothing we can do! Twilight fever will engulf us all. Drink our blood, Edward! Just do it! No worries! We had no long-term plans for our own lives!

[And the "Forget Princess, I want to be a vampire" shirt is the most troubling of all. "Princess" items drive me absolutely up the wall, and every time an adorable little girl comes to my desk looking for princess books, a little part of me dies (and, depending on her age, recommends something by Shannon Hale). So Princess is a pretty low starting point, as far as I'm concerned. Aside from wearing those pointy hats with swirly fabric attached, which I will admit are extremely cool, what do princesses DO? And is vampire even better? The first time I saw the shirt, I was like, "Well, at least vampires have some agency," like in the sense that they can bite people and turn them into more vampires. But still, what an aspiration. I want to be neither a vampire nor a princess. I want to be an empress, a pirate, a cowgirl, an astronaut, a goddamned librarian, but no one is making shirts for me.]

Further Twilight fever: I was at the Coles near my house last week (buying John Green's Looking for Alaska, but that's a women-in-fiction blog entry for another day) and they had stickers next to the till that said "Team Edward." I asked the cashier, "What if I don't want to be on Team Edward?" which I meant in a kind of ontological way, sort of as if I had asked, "Can you tell me how to opt out of capitalism?" but he took it very literally and replied, hesitantly, "Well... we used to have Team Jacob ones. But I guess we don't anymore." Indeed. We are all on Team Edward, whether we want to be or not.

The best solution to my problems with popular culture might actually already exist in button format, as so many solutions do: From Etsy seller Geekdetails: And then Buffy staked Edward. The end. I'm going to keep living in that world, even if (a) the show was canceled years ago and (b) I live there alone.

1 comment:

Amanda said...

Your rant made me laugh. I managed to read the Twilight books because I made myself to do, but they were definately not on par with what i normally read.