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|Written by Kevin Johns|
|Tuesday, 17 November 2009 00:00|
If you're like me, you probably have friends who, to this day, still proudly declare that they have never seen James Cameron's Titanic. They say this as though avoiding one of the most popular films of all time is some sort of badge of honour, a defiant act to be respected and admired. The implication is clearly that it is cooler to have not seen Titanic than it is to have seen it.
In a similar vein, publicly admitting you are a fan of director Catherine Hardwicke's Twilight, or, heaven forbid, the Stephenie Meyer book on which the film is based, is to commit an act of social suicide. Despite being an international phenomenon generating millions dollars in sales and being devoured by ravenous fans everywhere, like Titanic a decade ago, Twilight is decidedly not cool.
Some argue that Twilight's poor social standing is a result of the fact that the book and the film are both examples of low art, yet some of the people making these arguments are the same folks who proudly read their copy of Dan Brown's The Da Vinci Code on the bus ride to work a few years ago and were the first in line to buy tickets to Ron Howard's film.
There was nothing about reading The Da Vinci Code or seeing the film that was considered shameful by mass culture at large. After all, everyone should be allowed to enjoy a good beach blanket read or a popcorn flick once in a while, right?Women's issues have long been considered secondary to male concerns, if not dismissed as completely trivial all together.
But if that is the case, why is Twilight so disdained?
The reason, of course, is that Twilight is looked down up for the same reason Barbara Streisand, Titanic, Dawson's Creek, Mamma Mia! and any other number of hugely popular cultural properties are mocked, disdained, and labelled uncool: they are targeted at a female audience.
The Da Vinci Code and Twilight exist on the exact same plane of low-brow, mass-consumed art, and yet one (targeted largely at men) is shrugged off as a fun page-turner, while the other (targeted largely at young women) is considered pure and utter drivel for no better reason than that the arbiters of cultural capital are sexist.
Earlier this year, a writer ceased contributing to (Cult)ure, and one of the reasons he listed for quitting the magazine was that we were writing too many articles about Twilight. Would he have quit if it had been The Da Vinci Code, or Star Wars, or Transformers we had been writing about instead?
Women's issues have long been considered secondary to male concerns, if not dismissed as completely trivial all together. Whether or not Bella should commit to her vampire lover is a silly second-class concern when placed next to 'important' male questions like whether Shia Labeouf and the Autobots will be able to defeat the Decepticons.
On rare occasions, women's interests have been able to seep through into the realm of cultural credibility. Madonna's music and tours have played an active part in defining pop culture cool for over twenty years, and Sex and the City has been accepted, for the most part, as a worthy part of the North American cultural milieu.
I suspect, however, one will still have a difficult time finding a straight man who freely admits to enjoying Sex and the City, let alone Mamma Mia! or Twilight. As always, admitting you like that silly women's stuff is just not cool.
Kevin Johns is a senior editor of (Cult)ure. He can be contacted at
And this is why I hate some women, and I am one! Twilight has so many things wrong with it and articles like this make it no better. Putting its films and books on par with works like Titanic and The Da Vinci Code is why some people despise Twilight and its fans. It's because they constantly compare their precious series to other works that are much better and more thought out. Titanic and Da Vinci Code were books/films for adults and Twilight is a film targeting teenage and little girls. Can't the author of this article pick a better female targeted movie to focus on for their article than the awful series that is Twilight?
"Women's concerns" and "Men's concerns?" Why, it almost sounds as if the author is stereotyping. Yes, romantic love in fiction is almost always targeted at women, but men are also capable of worrying about their romantic lives, and romance is as much a "man's concern" as it is a "woman's concern." Concepts are intangible and do not have genders. Though fiction may be aimed at a specific gender through its construction, the universal themes portrayed have no such bias and can appeal equally to both sexes. A woman is as capable of enjoying a romance as she is capable of enjoying an action movie.
This was also emailed to me when the commenting wasn't working
Good article with some excellent points. I just wrote an article on Twilight's gender gap and compared its female/male split with other films that might be considered female-oriented fare.
Thank you for this article
I really appreciated what the author brought forth in ths article. The Da Vinci Code was long, boring and convoluted. So was Titanic, I hated every second of it while my ex-boyfriend sat next to me and wept. Badge of honour? Yeah, maybe.
Nothing Compared to Titanic
Wtf? I'm a woman and I hate Twilight. Dudes don't pretend to hate Twilight, they just do. How can you like a book about a creepy and abusive stalker? Then there's the pathetic girl who can't think of anything but him. She is weak and spineless, an insult to my gender. Every single thought of hers involves how "hot" the sparkly [redacted] looks. And every single chapter, Edward has to jump to the rescue and save her life. What a piece of garbage. She fell in love just because he's hot and he loves her back just because she reminds him of a tasty steak. lol
I agree with many of the commentors here in that there are a number of reasons to dislike the Twilight series besides its "girly" nature. For one, it isn't very well written. I spotted a number of errors in mechanics in the first book, and Meyer overuses adjectives and adverbs. More importantly, the series is rather sexist. It's not just Bella who seems to be vapid and unconcerned with anything other than her love life, all of her female (human) friends seem this way, as well. Bella's mother also doesn't represent a strong female character, as Bella implies that her poor, scatterbrained mother needs to be taken care of by her new husband (or boyfriend, sorry, I can't remember at the moment).
Have you ever read Twilight? Because if you have, you'd know that the reason why so many people hate it is not because it's aimed at women, but because it's sexist, shallow, badly written, and the main characters are 2-dimentional and boring. Not to mention the pedophilia in the fourth book. And honestly, you actually compare Twilight to Titanic? You seriously need to come up with some better reasons for your statements here.
This isn't about the merits of the book or movie
Those of you who have read the books have every right to weigh in with your opinion. Twilight may very well be crap, but that's not the point. There are a lot of people (mostly men) who have an almost instinctive negative reaction to media that are perceived to be "female oriented," without ever actually reading the book or seeing the movie. What is it about Titanic, Mamma Mia!, or Twilight that causes that kneejerk reaction in some quarters? Is it the romance? The female lead character? Is it "gay?" I don't know the answer, but I'm glad the article raised the question.
It's not sexism, it's discerning crap from mega-crap.
Everyone has a right to their opinion. I believe that the people who bash Twilight are just to embarrassed to admit they really like it. I am not saying it is the best book or movie out there but it sure the hell is not the worst, for it to be bashed.
I'd like to think that books targetted at girls don't have to be sophmoric, poorly written, and filled with situations where the woman gets swept off her feet by a stereotypical white male whose main value to her is that he can protect her from all the things she isn't strong enough to protect herself from.
I'm a straight male and I enjoy not only Titanic,
but Sex and the City as well. Mamma Mia is pushing it, but I generally enjoyed it even if I will never watch it again.
How can anyone hate Titanic yet love Twilight? Titanic is a romantic movie that will go down as a classic. It ranks up there with romance films of the Golden Age of Hollywood. Titanic won 13 awards, it got placed on various AFI film lists. Twilight has yet to have any of that honor and never will. Its a fantasy film that is just pop culture. Nothing memorable.
I agree that Twilight isn't that "great" but neither is let's say Transformers which is equally as sexist and stupid yet isn't as bashed and hated. I am Number Four is the worst movie I've ever seen yet there isn't an entire army of people against that movie. Yes, Twilight isn't good but it gets attacked more just because it's geared towards women.
To Get_a_Life and others who think that because Twilight is fiction that no one takes it seriously:
"Women's issues have long been considered secondary to male concerns, if not dismissed as completely trivial all together. Whether or not Bella should commit to her vampire lover is a silly second-class concern when placed next to 'important' male questions like whether Shia Labeouf and the Autobots will be able to defeat the Decepticons."