I have read a lot of articles recently about the E.L. James/Fifty Shades social media controversy. Shannon A. Thompson had a really good one this morning. As usual she inspired me to take action. I feel compelled to defend Twilight. I hate that it’s mixed up in all of this. Twilight didn’t create Fifty Shades of Grey. E.L. James created Fifty Shades of Grey. I’m a feminist so I don’t agree with the author’s subject material. But, I also fiercely believe in freedom of speech. That means that I don’t agree with what she writes but I think she has the right to write it. Freedom of speech is often a double edged sword, much like social media.
The person that I feel bad for is Stephanie Meyer. She gave the world something that was unique at the time. Something lovely for all of us to enjoy, and sadly, Twilight has been reduced to “that book that inspired Fifty Shades of Grey”. That’s what isn’t fair about this situation. I worry about the long term effects on the legacy of Twilight. I want Twilight to survive this. I want other people to be able to read the book in twenty years and see what I saw. Not one persons view of things but experience it for themselves.
I got to the Twilight party late. Eclipse had been out for a while and Breaking Dawn was on it’s way when I first read Twilight. Jessica reminded me that I suggested Twilight to her. If I really think about it, that was the start of this blog. Jessica and I began talking about books all the time after that. I will always have a soft spot for Twilight. It kinda feels like family.
I didn’t love every aspect of the book. I mentioned in my review of The Hollow that Bella didn’t have any interests outside of Edward. That still drives me crazy. I guess that she develops an interest in family though. I don’t think that I’ve ever given Bella the credit she’s due. Remember that I’m a feminist, so at the time I thought it was a good story but that Bella was a weak character. I was reading it so I was judging her by my own standards because that’s what we do when we read. That’s what good books let us do. They provide more than just a gut reaction. They provide food for thought.
If you look on the series as a whole you can see the character development. She grows but she doesn’t give up her need to protect those closest her. Even when they can protect themselves. She feels responsible for everyone she loves. She performs the selfless act that begins the story. She protects her mother from unhappiness by going to live with her father. She protects her father by running away so James won’t kill him. She protects Edward, her mother, and the rest of the Cullens by running off to sacrifice herself. Those are the actions of a brave girl not a weak one. She fights for Edward in New Moon and learns about the importance of family in Eclipse. She spends Breaking Dawn becoming the person she’s always wanted to be. And finally, when she has everything she’s ever wanted, she’s forced to risk it all to save it all. That, my friends, is just good writing.
And again I say that’s the nature of books. Everyone sees something different and protectiveness is what I saw in Bella. I even saw it in Edward. He loved her so much that he wanted her to be safe. It appears to me that most people have forgotten that Edward is a vampire and he has to exercise impulse control so that he doesn’t kill her.
I understand the frustrations of some people. I have frustrations of my own. I would, personally, hate to see this great series over shadowed forever by Fifty Shades of Grey. I think it would be a shame to have The Twilight Saga discredited in such a way when it brought so much to so many. The series brought people together to talk about the book and other books. For a lot of people it was their first experience with the Young Adult genera. How many bloggers got their start by being devoted to The Twilight Saga? How many people were inspired by Stephanie Meyer? She showed us what a devoted author is to her fan base.
Everyone has an opinion. Everyone has a point of view. Social media is like the rest of the world. There are a lot of people that have a platform to be heard and not all of those people are nice. Just as in the physical world. We’ve developed social media and it’s up to us to use it responsibly and with respect for others and ourselves. I would like to think that if we treat each other with kindness and respect it will bleed into all other aspects of life. I hope that’s true for social media. I know for a fact that this blog has amazing followers all across social media platforms and they have only treated us with kindness and respect. I hope we have done the same.
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