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Why Stephenie Meyer is allowed to be “over” Twilight

August 20, 2013

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

Kimmy is a 22 year old nerdfighter and artist who is the founder and editor-in-chief of Page to Premiere. When she's not writing about books and movies here or on her Hunger Games site called Mockingjay.net, she loves creating original content at her magazine and production company JØLVIE, manically Tumblr-ing, eating sushi, drinking Thai iced tea, and being lazy with her cat Rue! She hopes to be a published author one day. You can follow her on Twitter at @kimmymary.

  • bel calei

    that’s why I asked, may I assume that’s a yes ?

  • Cécilia Lpn

    You know, I think that with all the best intentions in the world, if you end up causing harm, the intensity of that harm won’t be lessened just because you didn’t want it to. I am pretty sure Meyer never intended to portray the Quileutes in a bad light but the fact is her fiction really only emphasized existing stereotypes (examined in the link I gave you about truths versus Twilight). Now, your question is interesting because it puts forward the issue of cultural theft and legitimacy. If we, white people want to write about a culture, from a minority, which we know squat about, I think we have the right to (heck, I plan to, which is why I’ve been doing research) but we need to know exactly why, why we want to do it, and we have to know our subject. For real. Now, creating a fake tribe is much less risky and probably a better solution if you intend to write a new culture, with a new social order, etc. It avoids cultural theft. But it can still be harmful if you use the same stereotypes which are harmful to every Native American since these apply to the whole ethnic community, regardless of the tribe they belong to. So creating a fake tribe doesn’t shield the author from falling into the trap. Thus, research should still be done when creating a fake tribe. In the movie “Reel Injun”, if you’re interested, several Native Americans speak of many movies and why they don’t like the portrayal of Native Americans in it. You can find it on Youtube!

  • JanaOnWheels


    “You know, I think that with all the best intentions in the world, if you end up causing harm, the intensity of that harm won’t be lessened just because you didn’t want it to.”

    This is very true. And sort of reiterates the point I was making about the original article this discussion veered from. Stephenie may not have meant to offend people by stating that she is over Twilight, but that doesn’t lessen the hurt feelings she caused.

    “But it can still be harmful if you use the same stereotypes which are harmful to every Native American since these apply to the whole ethnic community, regardless of the tribe they belong to.”

    Also true, and something I considered when posing the question. Even if she had created a unique, fictional tribe, if she categorized them as Native Americans and then adhered to the stereotypes, the resulting ‘harm’ would have been at least similar, if not the same.

    Then again, as I said before, fiction does often take literary liberties. If Twilight had been a non-fiction novel, or even a fiction novel, maybe, about Native American culture specifically, I could see a need for her to research more, to avoid the trap of stereotyping. But that wasn’t her goal. Twilight stemmed from a dream she had about Edward and Bella in a meadow. It was always meant to be about them. She added other elements to make the story more compelling.

    Of course, that doesn’t give anyone the right to use fiction as an excuse to villain-ize a culture, but that’s not what she did. She simply wrote a story that included the Quileute. The depiction might not have been wholly accurate, but it was, overall, positive.

    And like the Quileute Counsel stated in the article I found: “This is our opportunity to educate people on Quileute history.”

    If nothing else, it has opened a dialog about Native American culture, and stereotyping in books and film.

    Thank you for joining me in this peaceful and intelligent debate! :)



  • Cécilia Lpn

    I am a firm believer that fiction is a very good tool for teaching, also. So that must be why it is so important to me, as a writer, to know what you write about, and the reason why we write about something specifically (especially when you do YA). Despite everything, I agree it’s a good a thing if, in the end, it rekindled people’s interest in Native Americans and they are actually trying to know about them. Hopefully, maybe one of these people will want to write about them, heh!

    Thank you very much also, it was a pleasure ! :)

  • Allie isepic

    How can you compare a representation of fictional beings like vampires to the representation of an actual ethnic group? Just because her Native american characters are just fiction doesn’t mean that her poor representation of them is not important. It is very important due to the fact that the ethnic group that those characters belong to is real, and all to often that group is represented poorly by the media.

  • Emma Chalott

    I whoheartedly agree with your response, Maddie, and your opinion, Kimmy. Twilight happened to many of us, and changed us all in different ways. I too met so many amazing people and got into so many things that have ultimately led me to the passions I want to pursue in life. Thank you for this wonderful little article. It goes to show that people who used to get so much crap for being Twilighters don’t sit around all day watching the movies. We’ve moved on. And we’re not afraid to say that yes, at some point, we really loved Twilight. But that is who we were, and this is who we are now.

  • Nicole

    It’s still fiction. Should not matter if it’s a poor representation or not – from what I remember it wasn’t a poor representation, you can’t please everyone but I didn’t see a problem. They were just people, living in a community, which to my knowledge is pretty ordinary for most Native America’s. The tribe right outside Vegas will shoot anyone on there land without permission and it’s legal – they have a sign posted that says exactly that. But that’s besides the point. I was Bella’s age when the book came out and I’m not calling foul on poor representation of brunette’s or white girls. Oh but we’re not talking about my ethnicity. How many books bash caucasians – countless. If you want to point out whatever problems you perceived. I honestly don’t even notice race or ethnicity anymore. People are people – you can sit there trying to pick apart fiction, but sorry – I think you’re just wasting your time. The more people that point out things like that, the more it distracts from the REAL problems. And I’m not talking about in entertainment, those aren’t real problems. I’m referring to people genuinely being discriminated against. Last time I checked it’s illegal to discriminate biased on gender, race, age, ect ect. If Twilight did any of that or intentionally put people down then there’d be a problem. But, it doesn’t.

  • http://www.temas-wordpress.com/ Yaira

    I totally feel you I was a HUGE Twilight fan (spend hundreds in merchandise even had Edwards bed sheets) but by the time I turned 21 (when Breaking Dawn was about to come out) I wasn’t feeling it. After having read so many other series in between I’d come to realized what a bad story Twilight was, and the silliness of it all. I don’t regret being an ex-fan but as I matured I did realize I could have spend all that time and money on other stuff. I ended giving everything away including the books.

  • Glaciusx

    While I am NOT a Twilight fan, your article was very insightful and made me think. So I thank you for that!

  • Kimmy West

    Thank YOU! :)

  • Kris Kailey

    Love the article and read through a few comments and I’m kinda bummed. I would love more Twilight stories! There’s so many Twilight fans out there that feel the same way I’m sure! I’m still waiting for her to finish Midnight Sun… I loved it… guess I won’t be seeing that anytime soon if ever ; )