Can you bring a Twilight fan back to reality?

January 26, 2010 — by Christine Bancroft

Stephanie Meyer's 2005 novel, "Twilight," has created a phenomenon among female readers all over the world. It has grown into a multi-million dollar franchise including film adaptations and has launched the author and the actors portraying her characters into super-stardom.

The fans, or "Twihards," obsess over the series with something similar to a cult following. Critics of the series and the fans call the Twihards "deluded and rabid," in the words of one blogger.

After observing the outbursts of many of these "Twilight" lovers, I, a vehement critic of the series, was assigned to see if I could get a fan to back down from her stance. I compiled a list of arguments from different bloggers and critics, and set out to find myself a Twihard.

After finding three possible interviewees, to no avail, I found junior Erika Lowdermilk. When asked why she likes "Twilgiht," she said she has always enjoyed vampire stories.

"But," Lowdermilk said, "for 'Twilight', I'm not a vampire person. It goes against the original concept. But, I don't know, I kind of like it."

Many Twilight haters consider "Twilight" to be a bastardization of the Victorian-era vampire. Traditional vampires killed humans, burst into flames in sunlight and drank blood, but "Twilight" vampires sparkle in sunlight and only kill animals.

Sophomore Nicole Fetsch said many girls like "Twilight" because of the "perfect" relationship between Bella and Edward.

"Bella doesn't really have a character," said Fetsch. "So I think that makes it easier for girls to put themselves in Bella's shoes and have this perfect relationship and this perfect guy."

However, one valid criticism of the series is that the focal relationship between Bella and Edward is abusive and unhealthy, a negative portrayal of the dream couple. For example, Edward breaks into Bella's room and watches her sleep. Another instance is that he slashes her car tires and ruins the engine.

Bella even isolates herself from her family and friends once she meets Edward. The books and movies are targeted at young girls and teenagers, a particularly impressionable audience, who are already questioning what an ideal relationship is supposed to be like.

In stark contrast to most die-hard fans that I've seen rant on the Internet, Lowdermilk was open and welcoming to opposition and my arguments. She called Edward's character "controlling and over-protective." She also calls Bella a "wimp and lacks self-confidence..a terrible role model. The relationship is hilarious, though." She says girls shouldn't look to "Twilight" as a relationship guide and, as a Washington native herself, tells fans not to move to Forks, the book's setting. "There's nothing there. Just old houses, old people, and a little tiny town."

After speaking with Lowdermilk, I feel that I can say that my mission was a success. You can bring a relatively sane "Twilight" fan, such as Lowdermilk, back to reality. However, for the more devout Twihards in the country, I'm afraid that there is nothing I can do fix their fascination with the franchise and their worship of Meyer's creation.

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