Stephenie Meyer, author of The Twilight Saga, said something controversial during her interview with Variety while promoting the movie Austenland (which she is producing). She said that she is “over” Twilight. The fangirls around the world recoiled in an almost explosive way, arguing that she can never be “over” Twilight without being horrendously ungrateful. It’s what gave her all her success, after all. It’s what allows her to produce films like Austenland! However, I don’t think people are truly putting themselves in her shoes. If you did, I think you’d understand why being over her own hugely successful empire and having it not be a “happy place” for her right now is entirely warranted.
“I get further away every day,” Stephenie Meyer told Variety. “I am so over it. For me, it’s not a happy place to be.”
First, let me explain from my perspective. I was a huge Twilight fan as a teenager. Huge. I ran a website for the franchise called HisGoldenEyes (which no longer exists) and provided up-to-the-minute news about the books and films for over five years. Yup, five years. I started it in 2007 and lived and breathed it for a very long time. It was my creative outlet, and I loved the romance. I didn’t mind the cheese – I was sixteen years old! Twilight was basically my job for much of my high school years, and it gave me so much. I learned to be confident and became comfortable with public speaking, I went to my first big entertainment events, I found my love for online media, marketing, and PR, and out of HisGoldenEyes grew Mockingjay.net and Page to Premiere. It’s given me my passion, and without it…I probably wouldn’t be nearly as sure about what I want to do with my life right now. It helped me discover the world of adaptation and entertainment reporting. Now, am I still a huge die-hard Twilight fangirl? No. In fact, all that work with the franchise entirely burnt me out. I spent a lot of those years being what felt like the lone cheerleader for the series, while the world swallowed it in hate. After a while, I found myself understanding the criticisms, and I just sort of…grew out of it. I understand today, as an adult, that women and teenagers wanting a relationship like Bella and Edward’s is actually quite toxic for themselves and society. Realizing that fueled the fading of my passion for the series.
I also found that in today’s world, admitting you enjoy or even enjoyed Twilight is like admitting you have sub-par intelligence. I know I’m not stupid, I feel like I have good taste in books, generally. Twilight has become the poster-series for “bad literature.” Now you can’t look on any funny YouTube video or strange article on The Huffington Post without a comment saying…still a better love story than Twilight. It’s become the cool thing to do to ridicule Kristen Stewart’s awkward twitches, and chat with your friends about how much the series absolutely sucks. Saying you “couldn’t get through it” apparently makes you the queen of good taste in reading. I can honestly say at this point, that I’m “over” Twilight. Still, I still love it for what it’s taught me, and the memories I’ve had because of it are absolutely wonderful.
Now, let’s look at it from Stephenie Meyer’s perspective. You pour your heart into your book, and it becomes successful. You meet thousands of fans worldwide at signings, talk to them about how your book touched them. Then, it get’s optioned for a film. Things are looking great for you, the film is successful! It’s reached “phenomenon” status. Then…there’s a turn. You notice that newspapers, online forums, and pretty much all of pop culture is slowly turning against you. “I’m sorry!” she probably wanted to say. “I wasn’t trying to offend you, I just wrote a book.” However, no. People online start getting extremely personal with how much they think you suck. They decide you’re the pinnacle of awful writing. That you’re a talentless hack, and that they way you framed your characters was to make Bella seem entirely back-bone-less and that she needed a boyfriend to survive. Have you ever thought that maybe she just wrote it, that she didn’t mean to offend you? That it’s just the story that came out of her mind? She probably thought, “But, all those fans love my writing. Shouldn’t that count for something?” Nope, apparently not. I don’t think you can compare the hate that Twilight has gotten to any other series out there. If you say Harry Potter, people think “childhood adventures” “successful franchise.” It does have some backlash from people who don’t want their children reading witchcraft, but that’s a different thing entirely. It doesn’t have the negative widespread stigma. Now, if you mention “Twilight” – the fact that it is widely hated by so many is probably the first thing that comes to mind.
Nobody thinks they are the most talented at what they do, they just try to do something they enjoy. Stephenie Meyer was inspired to write about a girl falling in love with a vampire and went for it. Back when I first grabbed it off the shelf, I enjoyed it. I didn’t think it was the pinnacle of good literature, but I enjoyed it! That’s all that matters. It’s just entertainment, not politics, or rocket science. There are surely plenty of books out there that are leagues worse than Twilight, but they didn’t have nearly the success that Stephenie did, so they don’t – excuse my french – get shit on nearly as often. I don’t think Stephenie Meyer is the most brilliant writer ever by a long shot – but is she the scum of the world? Does she deserve to recieve personal threats on a daily basis? I’m sorry, but regardless of how much something has given you, if it causes you that much pain you might have a bit of trouble enjoying it. I thoroughly expect that Stephenie Meyer had a lot of personal troubles involving the wide-panning of her franchise. For a long time she locked herself up, didn’t show herself to the world, or do any press. If she walked down the street someone might point at her and giggle, saying “that’s the lady who wrote those crappy vampire romance novels.” Her series has a league of hate I don’t think any other series has ever had. It must be extremely hard on her mental health, honestly. I’ve met Stephenie and think she’s a lovely person, and I know for a fact she wasn’t meaning to offend you by writing her stories.
I’m not saying it’s a well written book. I’m not saying it is a good story. I’m not even saying Bella is a good role model for young girls (she probably isn’t). However, it’s just a book. Reading it didn’t destroy my woman-hood – I don’t find all my worth in men. It captured me when I was fifteen years old and prompted me to make a website about it. It’s intoxicated millions worldwide. It’s a book that Stephenie Meyer wrote when she was a single mother just looking for a creative outlet, it is a teen romance novel. It was never claiming to be amazing literature. She and her series are just a form of entertainment, not the spawn of the devil!
If whenever you thought of your creation you thought about how many people hate you for it, it probably wouldn’t be your “happy place.” She’s allowed to be “over” her series when she wants to be. It does not mean she is over the fans and all the people who have supported her. I think that if anyone was in her shoes and saw the rise and complete fall of their reputation due to something that they created – they’d be “over” it too.
Stephenie wrote her own blog post on this statement – click here to read it!
“So please, never think I don’t appreciate the people who read, watch, and love Twilight. I am grateful for your existence every single day. Thanks for the most amazing decade!” – Stephenie Meyer