October 5th marks the 16th publishing anniversary of Stephenie Meyer’s teen vampire romance, Twilight. What is often perceived to be a tween and teen obsession, the Twilight fandom wouldn’t have catapulted to the fame that it did without the help of the adults who also fell in love with the series. But the question is; what attracted adult women to the hysteria that was vampire boyfriends and werewolf love triangles?
While the book series is considered young adult fiction, the Twilight Saga amassed a staggering number of fans from all walks of life. Although the books are still not praised for their writing to this day, they are celebrated for their fun (albeit, cheesy) content that takes place in a real-life town with mythical creatures. But oddly enough, this is also precisely why older women and moms love the Twilight franchise. For many, Bella’s feelings of first love and infatuation were reminiscent of high school sweethearts and relationships long gone. Especially for women who were in long-term partnerships, the ups and downs of Bella and Edward’s relationship—not to mention, Jacob’s third-wheel interruptions—was the drama they could read about without experiencing the stress of it first-hand. Many women also bonded with their children over their shared love for the series, bringing parents and children together in book clubs and theaters all over the world.
In addition, older women who enjoy the Twilight series appreciate Meyer’s old-school traits that she provides to her main characters. For example, Bella is clearly responsible and caring, seeing as she cooks Charlie’s dinner and can fill her days with activities without parental supervision. As Edward grew up in the early 1900s, he has the kind of politeness and chivalry that often is not found in characters who live in the 2000s.
While the joke still goes that Twilight and its successors could have been written by a twelve-year-old, perhaps that is also another reason why women love the books. Women who work and are mothers—or perhaps are single and bored—enjoy that readers don’t need to take these books seriously. They’re just fun. Forks, Washington, may be real, but vampires certainly aren’t. But who cares?! If Meyer could create this book from a dream, why can’t the women who are her age dream along with her?
Unfortunately, the classist and high-brow idea that all literature needs to be taken seriously is still around. However, women and teens have continued to break the mold by showing that they are in charge of making or breaking literature that becomes a worldwide phenomenon. And as someone who read Twilight as a thirteen-year-old, I would just like to say thank you to the moms and women who helped grow this fun and silly fandom into what is it today. Who knew we would get a Twilight renaissance in 2021?!
If you would like to join us in reminiscing on Twilight, you can read about why fans love to hate on Twilight here. Or perhaps you would like to read about the impact of Midnight Sun here. Any way you put it, we have plenty of Twilight-related articles to satisfy your long-forgotten need for vampires.
FEATURED IMAGE VIA NEW YORK MAGAZINE